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Population dropping, they're gonna need to deal with that, yadda yadda yadda.
I find it rather funny that every major terrible aspect of Japanese culture is coming to bite them in the ass more and more, even though it may take a while for them to learn from it.
Also loved the term "gaijin smash".
As for the discussion on author's rights over their work pages ago, it's complicated. Copyright used to be more focused on publishers and have a more economic, pragmatic view. The notion of the author as the central piece of the system (in theory) only came much later, outside of English-speaking countries. So you have this apparent difference between systems, once again in theory...
... because, in practice, the distances between systems have been diminished more and more, what with everyone signing the same treaties, judges' precedents evolving, multinational companies imposing their same contractual standards everywhere. So now it mostly comes to work culture and how much the licensing contract screws the author over.
I remember, about a month back, a bunch of shoujo magazines allowed people to read all their volumes online for free. It wasn't translated so I only explore like a volume or two, but I remember being wowed by two things:
1. Its amazing how many shoujo manga that exist and just never get translated.
2. Almost all the manga in it were school life romance. There was less variety than the average shounen magazine- no sports, battle or more psychological stories. Not even much romance fantasy.
Its pretty interesting seeing the stark difference in demographics. I'm kind of curious on what to make of it since a lot of shounen series tend to have large female fanbases anyway so the lack of variety in female targeted work feels odd (though the attempts I've seen in advertising female works to a male audience particularly for otome games is kind of... infuriating)
Infuriating how, exactly?
The whole point of otome games is being romance games for women. Some can focus more on the plot, but in the end of there's no romance it's not much of an otome.
Some otome localisation companies, but I'm primarily referring to Askys, try to make otome come off as more desirable to guys by purposefully avoiding calling them otome (calling them interactive novels or something like that), primarily localising games that are more plot heavy which hurts otomes with more focus on romance and just tend to try and skate around the "issue" that is "hey, you play these games to make out with cute anime boys".
Barely anyone translates otomes so I guess I can't be too picky, but it still grinds my gears a bit. Though I guess it can't be worse than Spike Chuunisoft and what they did (or more accurately didn't do) with Kenka banchou
Someone in the marketing department should get fired.
...oh wait, it's Aksys, let me rephrase that:
They should really set up a marketing department.
Haha probably. There's a game that recently got released where the focus is the main character trying to find a husband and have children. It's gotten a good reception from what I've seen so if they translate it I'll know that they're getting better about the whole thing at least but I won't hold my breath.
As far as the marketing thing goes, the video game industry still suffers from the same circular logic problem that plagued (and still sorta does) the comic book industry: they don't make stuff aimed at women because women don't buy the products they're selling.
I'm sure the problem there is self-evident.
So they bring over otome games and try to pass them out as something aimed at men, or at least with broader appeal than it actually has, even though that's like trying to sell sausage rolls in a vegan restaurant by telling that the pig wasn't slaughtered, it just died of natural causes.
And with roughly the same effect, I imagine, because one look at the artstyle immediately tips one off.
Not that there aren't men that enjoy those games, of course, but there's also plenty of women that enjoy God of War and it still wouldn't exactly be what I would first think to give to my sister on her birthday.
Its certainly a "chicken or egg" situation. Though I'd say it's ironically gotten worse over time since there was a bit of a shoujo boom in the early 2000s until it just kind of petered out. Not like shoujo property doesn't still get released (with fruits basket getting a well deserved reboot) but otome anime are still awful and it's certainly not anywhere close to what it was in the past.
That's because Visual Novels in general aren't adapted into anime anymore, the market for those really petered in the 2010's.
I mean, I'm fairly certain there has been bigger Visual Novels and Visual Novel-hybrid released that are English-original than made in Japan these days, like Pyre, which I would decry as utter lunacy a few years back.
The big money makers are Light Novel adaptations, which are generally a boy's club, and of cosiderably shittier quality because the greater difficulties of making a Visual Novel used to scare away the vermin.
Things point to Webtoons to be the new golden goose, and demographics are more even on those pastures, so who knows.
Edited by HailMuffins on May 21st 2020 at 3:19:02 PM
That would certainly be a nice change of pace. Female targeted light novels suffer the same problems that shoujo manga do (except there it's villainess related works in a middle ages type setting) but webtoon adaptations could even the issue, especially if they also go for English ones
I think it's also because the sexist thinking that deems female-targeted works to be worse than male-targeted works even if they are equal in its horribleness.
The easiest example is just to see how many crap given to Bella from Twilight and Rey from Star Wars. (I think Rey is just bland and not horrible like Bella, but fanboys gotta fanboys as usual.) It is not hard to find a male protagonist as bad or even worse than them, but those crappy male protagonists receive less crap and that is even if they receive one.
Heck, if a male protagonist receive crap, it's usually because they are perceived as feminine regardless of their crappiness. I mean I consider the generic white bread protagonist from James Cameron's Avatar to be a crappy piece of shit, but somehow he received less crap from Shinji from Evangelion who I do not consider crappy at all. Heck, Shinji hatedom is still alive the last time I check.
The thinking that led people to think like that is still alive, too. Just look at the current trend. Just like most male-targeted light novels are all about isekai harem adventures with slave harem, demon kings, and OP protagonists. Most Female-targeted light novels are all about villainess. (Most of the times, the so-called villainess are in name only, though, so I call false advertising on that.)
And frankly, in really broad stroke... it's much more similar than what you would think from the escaping from crappy reality to happy happy fantasy land, crappy and uninteresting one-dimensional antagonist, low-stake conflicts, and many more. Heck, the design of those so-called villainess look more heroine-esque than the so-called heroine who almost always become the antagonist...
Seriously, it's kinda mind-boggling that anime isn't already drowning in all those villainess stories the same way that it's drowning in crappy isekai harem adventures. I call bullshit on that.
I recently learned what Isekai was. I had first come across it on Reddit Fantasy. There's an annoyingly frequent number of requests asking for overpowered (male naturally) protagonists, and Isekai has come up as a description as has "Lit RPG", which I think is pretty close to the same thing.
Incidentally, I'm not sure why, but that genre also gets referred to as Wuxia, which puzzles me because I understand that to mean Chinese historical fiction with bandits, political intrigue, etc.
I also read this interesting Twitter discussion distinguishing Isekai from Portal Fantasy, including why A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court isn't to blame for the genre of Isekai, and with comparisons of WarGames and Ready Player One to Isekai.
Basically, in portal fantasies, a lot of times the people transported have useful skills that help them thrive in the fantasy world. Or I'd say at the very least, they're reasonably intelligent and competent people, to begin with (thinking of something like Narnia, Magic Kingdom of Landover, or Digimon here).
In contrast, in Isekai (and in the comparable American examples), the protagonist is a loser otaku, but somehow they end up in a context where their loser otaku-ness is super-useful and makes them the coolest person around.
So what's interesting is that although all of the works involve some element of wish-fulfillment, there's a distinct way in which Isekai goes about this which sets it apart.
Edited by Hodor2 on May 21st 2020 at 2:18:01 PM
The "Wuxia" part is because a lot of Wuxia stories have become Chinese version of isekai stories now. Even the non-Isekai ones tend to have power fantasy tropes that are common in the isekai ones. Seriously, it is fucking hard to find a serious Wuxia stories. I personally only found and followed two. Yup, two.
As for the rest, I have nothing to add. I pretty much agree with you there. Even if the protagonist isn't a loser otaku and is already awesome from the original world, he is awesome in a way that is so ridiculous, he really should be a parody, but somehow he is written as a sincerely, serious character. So, those characters are ridiculous, but not funny. And that is a crime.
So the commonly perceived wish fulfillment for guys is a fantasy where they're the hero and fawned over by hot women but for girls it's the fantasy where they're protected and fawned over by handsome men.
Can't say it's incorrect but it certainly hurts the variety
It's like the Hero's Journey in blockbuster movies: sticking to the tried-and-true methods because they're the reliable audience-grabbers.
You can have variety in those things because they are very broad, but that requires imagination and making it work requires effort.
Clearly the best isekai then is Isekai Ojisan
Pretty much. And the wish fulfillment part also pretty much ruins the villainess stories as much as it ruins the isekai ones.
I mean I hear villainess and I thought that I'm going to read a story of ambitious, cold-hearted girl/woman, but all I got is another generic romance stories with a villainess in name only character. Heck, you can see the wish fulfillment part with the design of said villainess who look more like a heroine than the "real" heroine.
Even the otome part is a fucking lie because those stories feel nothing like any otome that I have played. Heck, even the premise of the villainess is false because those villainess in otome stories as far as I know are never engaged to the male love interest and usually just his over-zealous fangirl, a rival I think is a more proper term I think. And that is if said otome game have a "villainess" in the first place.
Just like those LN about MMORPG, I wish the writer of these LN about otome games have played one of them at the very least. These otome-based LN feel less based on otome games and more on crappy and cliched shojo stories.
Yup, I would even go as far as saying that writing a tv trope pages for those crappy stories feel like you giving more effort to the plot and its characters than the author. If you don't believe it, just give it try. You could try to do it with that Hachinan isekai anime.
Oh, you read that one, too! That one is surprisingly enjoyable and can even make fun of the usual isekai tropes. Although, I am pretty sure the harem one is going to be played straight in the end. I do hope it still make fun of it, though.
Edited by SteamKnight on May 21st 2020 at 3:13:55 PM
Now that's a unfair comparison: the LN about MMOs are boring, predictable and feel like a chore.
They capture the feeling of playing MMO perfectly.
Ojisan is just perfect cringe humor
I find the isekais I like the most tend to be farcical and parodies
Even if I'm not able to play a lot of otome (i was never able to get a PS Vita before they went out of style and I'm just broke in general), I am still an otome fan so that definitely hinders my enjoyment of villainess isekai a lot lol.
Otome isn't exactly fine art but I think it has so much variety and tells so many stories that its a pity every otome isekai is constrained to "medieval-modern magic school" setting. Reincarnated as the concubine of a sengoku warlord in an otome, hell there are a shitton of Alice in wonderland themed otome games that are basically isekai like heart no Kuni alice. It's just kind of disappointing, though some of the isekai that dared to be more creative didn't sell well so I guess it can't be helped...
I think one shoujo work that needs to be experienced by everyone is Honey and Clover
I vaguely remember it, it's the one with the short girl and one scene has a friend of hers kiss her on impulse, freak out about it, wrap his scarf around her hurriedly, then just run away?
It’s very coming off age in college
Like, it really hits close to home
I can’t remember that scene. But it really nails the college life humor
@ Steam Knight - Appreciate the reply.
That makes sense regarding Wuxia. It gets confusing because there's a "trend" in science fiction and fantasy for American and British authors of East Asian ancestry to write books inspired by Wuxia and the closely related "Asian historical drama". So it's weird when I see people asking about Wuxia, and they are talking about Isekai, not that.
@Mami: Of course, isekai stories (including the isekai'ed as a villainess stories) that try to be creative don't sell well because its fans don't read them looking for innovation. For a genre that is all about traveling to another world, isekai manages to be one of the most stale genre ever. In fact, I think it's more insidious than simply being stale because isekai stories tend to carry the message that "You are already awesome. You don't need to change or improve or even do anything because you are already awesome. Heck, the world is the one that needs to change or bend itself for you. And anyone who disagree with that is wrong and also a villain."
Yeah, is it any wonder isekai stories and its fans have bad reputation? Reading comments in isekai stories in an online manga site is as bad as reading youtube comments.
Just like how portal fantasy or old isekai stories in Japan are all devoured by the modern isekai stories. Old wuxia stories are starting to get devoured by modern power fantasy-flavored (isekai or not) wuxia stories. It should not be surprising, considering the popularity of isekai stories in China. It is just a matter of time until the Chinese also decide to jump on the isekai bandwagon. Heck, the Koreans did it before the Chinese.
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