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Anime 'Visual Novel' Game DVDs Debut In West

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the teatime-of-the-soul dept.

Anime 68

Thanks to Insert Credit for pointing to a Namako Team story revealing new Japanese 'visual novel' DVDs coming to the West via publisher Hirameki. Insert Credit explains: "Hirameki has been slowly releasing English-language ports of Japanese dating sims in the US. They play basically the same on a PC, DVD player, PS2 or Xbox [using Dragon's Lair style branching narrative], which is the appeal of the format." The new "Summer 2004"-due DVD releases include the wonderfully named Tea Society Of A Witch, as well as Hourglass Summer, apparently "A summer vacation that crosses the boundaries of space and time."

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Interesting (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640752)

I'd seen the dating-sim discs at my local store a couple months ago and was astonished-- I never thought any publisher would have the guts to try bringing these over. Of course, now we just need someone to bring over the good ones.

On the other hand, "Hourglass of Summer" seems to be a really interesting premise. I just wonder how these DVD games handle mid-session interruptions.

Re:Interesting (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640982)

A few problems...
The "good ones" usually:
1. Very popular in Japan and so licensing costs are very high, meaning no US company will risk it.
2. Include some objectional material such as underage sex.
3. Many of the "good ones" are those that actually have interesting stories and it's known that in most cases, western customers prefer a straight to the point experience and don't care to get involved with the story.
4. The games are usually pricy, as other games are.

Anyways, I hope it'll work out for them and I really hope they keep the games in the original dub and just sub it for westerners.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641137)

3. Many of the "good ones" are those that actually have interesting stories and it's known that in most cases, western customers prefer a straight to the point experience and don't care to get involved with the story.
Yeah, because Shakespeare was Japanese....please
I love Japan, spent 6 months over there doing R&D and cannot wait to go back, but statements like this just aggrivate me. Have you ever been to Japan? Have you seen the massive amounts of really bizzare dating-sim esque porn?
Seems to me that the Japanese are just as likely to indulge in some story-less fun as people in the west.
I hate this "Anime is the highest form of human art attainable" attitude. Yes, anime is great, but so is the Simpsons, so is Fight Club, so is The Illiad, so is Saving Private Ryan
Have you ever actually watched Japanese TV? It is, for the most part, more inane than American television....

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641237)

While you may hate the "Anime is the highest form of art attainable" attitude, there are many who can't stand people such as yourself, who seem to have the singular purpose of bringing up the fact that there is just as much inane BS on Japanese TV as there is on American TV. Here's a news flash, asshole: Those of us who are aware of the fact that there is a lot more out there as far as Anime is concerned aside from what's on CN are aware of this fact.

Getting back to the original point here, the parent poster never said that there isn't a ton of really bizarre hentai dating sims out there; I'm sure he's aware of that fact all on his own. He simply stated that those he considers to be 'really good' have more than just some bizaare nii-san running around trying to get one of a bevy of girls into bed with him.

Re:Interesting (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641691)

Maybe if you, oh I dunno, read the post instead of narrowing in on one sentence you would realize that the parent was trying to say that Westerners do not appreciate a good story. I was pointing out that there is a lot of great work in western society too, and that the whole "Westerners don't appreciate a good story" is a bunch of bs. Just as there are a lot of great stories in Japan, but there is also a lot of bs too. It's the same across all socities.
Please actually respond to the idea of the post instead of taking one sentence out of context next time, ok?

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642027)

When I was young, my parents taught me a great many things. One of the ones that I've always taken to heart goes a little bit like this:

Those who live in a glass house should not throw stones.

On a similar note, this one always comes to mind as well:

The pot should not call the kettle black.

Your parents taught you those too, right?

Re:Interesting (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642363)

My parents taught me not to call people assholes because they have an idea that disagrees with yours. Maybe you should go look up basic manners before you start lecturing me.
My parents also told me that when you assume something, you make an ass out of you and me(just like you assumed that the only anime I watched was on cartoon network)
My parents also instilled pride in who I am and where I come from, and while I should be respectful of other cultures, I should not deny who I am and pretend to be someone else.
My parents also taught me to speak in one language at a time, instead of adding in random Japanese terms when speaking English.

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646904)

My parents taught me all that as well, and it seems to me that while you can repeat their lessons back, you took away no understanding of them. You tore down the parent poster for his opinion, and you have proceded to tear me down for mine. As for my 'adding in random Japanese terms when speaking English', onii-san is not at all random when I used it in that context; There simply isn't an English term equivalent of the meaning. Find someone who translates for a living; Ask them what they do in a translation when they come across a term that can't be adequately related in the language that you are translating too.

On the subject of "denying who I am and pretending to be someone else", as you so eloquently put it, consider this, for a moment. I am an American. My country is a melting pot of every nation that has ever had it's people immigrate here. We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other. That's what happens when you create a nation that chooses to honor the ideals of all other nations, and intigrate them into a single culture; any ideal you could possibly hold generally ceases to be looked down on outside of people like you and some of the others who have replied here.

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9647613)

We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other.

You're kidding, right?

Just because our nation is an amalgamation of various cultures doesn't mean that we don't have a national identity. We celebrated that national identity a few days ago, remember?

Besides, the whole cultural denial that many anime fans put up is defined not only by love for Japan, but hate for America. It's not just "honoring the ideals of other nations," but hating (and feeling superior to) the culture of your own. That's why a lot of anime fans like to talk about how much better anime is than American animation, among other American artforms.

Rob

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649782)

No, a few days ago we celebrated our birth as a nation, not our national identity. Get your facts straight before you try that angle. This nation is a melting pot of other cultures, not even three centuries old. Compared to just about any other nation on earth, we're still a child of a nation.

Insofar as me "hating america", that's just you talking out of you fucking ass. 2 years ago, I made a decision to serve this nation, and I would gladly lay my life down in it's defense. Can you say that too?

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9661993)

As a "Melting Pot", our national identity is "perfection". It's sort of like those crazy robots on Star Trek that would take over other species and keep the good parts of each one.

Re:Interesting (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649684)

I am an American. My country is a melting pot of every nation that has ever had it's people immigrate here. We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other.

I am also an American. And you are clearly insane if you believe what you just wrote.

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649834)

As I told the other moron who replied, I do believe it, whole heartedly. So tell me, do you have anything better to say than the load of bullshit he shoveled my way?

Re:Interesting (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9650054)

Dunno how you define "better". But I have made other comments in the thread, so look around for them.

And, on reflection, your quote ("We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other.") may be true, within America. But it's true within any country. National identity may be decided by the average of the country, or by the view seen from the outside. Seen from outside America, America has a very very strong national identity. The same is probably true of every other country, and, just like America, it's probably hard to determine whether this perceived "national identity" is representative of the majority or just the sum average.

So, I take back my invective. Living in America, it may be true to say there is no "national identity" that applies to most individuals. However, living outside America, it is clear that there is a "national identity" that applies to America as a whole.

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9661967)

That was possibly the most original and cunning post EVER.

Re:Interesting (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649727)

Foidulus:

I agree with what you're saying (I'm an American, been living in Japan almost a decade, and while there are a few good Japanese anime and Japanese movies out there, I don't fool myself into thinking that Japanese value story any more or less than Americans).

Besides which, I think people are losing track of shifting objects of discussion. The average Japanese dating sim player is probably more interested in the story than the average American porn watcher. But we're comparing apples and oranges. When we compare apples and apples, we find that the average Japanese porn watcher has no more interest in story than the average American porn watcher.

Basically, we haven't, in America, historically had a market of "dating sims". Which means we're dealing with an extremely small sample set from which to draw our conclusions. However, if we expand the sample to include all ero stuff, you'll find that there are similar amounts of hardcore and softcore in both countries, and the emphasis on story (or lack thereof) is the same for both countries.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9643517)

Those of us who are aware of the fact that there is a lot more out there as far as Anime is concerned aside from what's on CN are aware of this fact.

Whoa, sorry to interject here, but doesn't the Cartoon Network actually do a fairly decent job bringing over some outstanding anime? I mean, stuff like Cowboy Bebop, Ruroni Kenshin, Trigun--these series aren't exactly insignificant.

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646736)

Whoa, sorry to interject here, but doesn't the Cartoon Network actually do a fairly decent job bringing over some outstanding anime? I mean, stuff like Cowboy Bebop, Ruroni Kenshin, Trigun--these series aren't exactly insignificant.
While good, they're also not particularly deep. If I were making an argument for an anime with a good story, I probably wouldn't pick any one of those. They're good action shows, however, and exactly the sort of show American TV Execs think the American public wants.

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9661957)

CN would be better off showing more hilarious Romantic comedies where there is one guy and like 500 zillion girls all trying to force themselves into his pants yet he still NEVER GETS LAID EVER because he's too much of a retarded GOON.

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9663914)

CN would be better off showing more hilarious Romantic comedies where there is one guy and like 500 zillion girls all trying to force themselves into his pants yet he still NEVER GETS LAID EVER because he's too much of a retarded GOON.
Yes, of course, because in your little world, that's the only other type of anime show there is.

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9665131)

There really are only like 5 different types of anime with a considerable amount of overlap between them. Most of it has the basic flaw of being excessively pretentious.

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645421)

While you may hate the "Anime is the highest form of art attainable" attitude, there are many who can't stand people such as yourself, who seem to have the singular purpose of bringing up the fact that there is just as much inane BS on Japanese TV as there is on American TV. Here's a news flash, asshole: Those of us who are aware of the fact that there is a lot more out there as far as Anime is concerned aside from what's on CN are aware of this fact.

You sure about that? From my experience, it's usually the opposite; the more a Westerner gets immersed in the Japanese culture, the more he thinks that Western cultures are inferior. Which is why "assholes" like us have to point out that anime isn't the end-all and be-all of storytelling. In fact, anime is currently inferior to literature and cinema for a number of reasons.

Generally the reason why people like you can't stand people like him is that people like you can't stand the truth.

Rob

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646848)

I think no less of western culture now than I did 15 years ago, when I was first introduced to Anime. While I do think that a good deal of what's on TV nowadays is crap, That doesn't preclude me from enjoying things of TV that I do like. I watched The Simpsons, when it was still new and funny, back before everything started to seem uninspired and rehashed. I've watched The Family Guy, and enjoyed the hell out of it up to the point when it was canned, and rejoiced at it being brought back by Cartoon Network.

I'm not saying that anime is the "be all, end all", as you both have put it. What I'm saying is that maybe you shouldn't be a complete fucking asshole and force someone to agree with your point of view.

As for you point to how it's inferior to literature and cinema, how can you possibly back that up? All art and story-telling is different, and simply because it doesn't fit your ideal mode of delivery, doesn't make it inferior by any shape or means. This has nothing to do with what you perceive as being 'The Truth'. This has everything to do with you forcing your perception of it on anyone who disagrees with it.

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9647496)

I'm not saying that anime is the "be all, end all", as you both have put it. What I'm saying is that maybe you shouldn't be a complete fucking asshole and force someone to agree with your point of view.

Please feel free to point out where either of us was trying to force anyone to agree with our point of view.

As for you point to how it's inferior to literature and cinema, how can you possibly back that up?

Easily.

1. Age of the medium. Animation simply hasn't been around as long as literature or cinema. This is a pretty big disadvantage, as anime has had less time to mature. Not even cinema has been around nearly long enough to produce people like Homer or Shakespeare.

2. The view that animation is "kiddie." This concept of being for kids tends to keep people from taking it seriously, which in turn tends to keep writers from doing serious work in it. Animation is starting to overcome this view, but it'll probably be a while before it is generally accepted as a legitimate adult artform.

3. The fans. For every fan who wants to see animation grow into its potential, you have ten who just want to see pantyshots and explosions, and ten others who want to see pretentiousness disguised as depth. There's a reason why those things are known as "fanservice" in anime circles. And as long as the vast majority of fans don't care to see anything serious in animation, you're not going to see much seriousness in animation.

Those are the big reasons. It's not entirely a coincidence that video gaming has the exact same problems.

This has nothing to do with what you perceive as being 'The Truth'. This has everything to do with you forcing your perception of it on anyone who disagrees with it.

You might live a happier life if you stop assuming that everyone who disagrees with you is out to convert you.

Rob

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648636)

Hate to interject, here (okay, no I don't, but I was being polite ;-)
Please feel free to point out where either of us was trying to force anyone to agree with our point of view.
Okay, I'll bite. How about:
Which is why "assholes" like us have to point out that anime isn't the end-all and be-all of storytelling. In fact, anime is currently inferior to literature and cinema for a number of reasons.

Generally the reason why people like you can't stand people like him is that people like you can't stand the truth.

Well, I guess you're not "forcing" us to agree with you, but you are making statements that basically say that "What I say is fact, you're wrong, end of story."
1. Age of the medium. Animation simply hasn't been around as long as literature or cinema. This is a pretty big disadvantage, as anime has had less time to mature. Not even cinema has been around nearly long enough to produce people like Homer or Shakespeare.
Animation has been around nearly as long as cinema. Ever hear of Steamboat Willy? The first ones were silent. Atom boy didn't start 'till the early 50's, but 50 years to develop a medium is quite a long time. Animation, Movies, and Books are neither inherently superior nor inferior to each other. All three are based on fundamental writing styles and rules honed through centuries of different authors.
2. The view that animation is "kiddie." This concept of being for kids tends to keep people from taking it seriously, which in turn tends to keep writers from doing serious work in it. Animation is starting to overcome this view, but it'll probably be a while before it is generally accepted as a legitimate adult artform.
So, I guess if Americans viewed books as "kiddie," Homer would somehow become less of a work. Japanese Animation isn't viewed by Japanese in quite the same way as by Americans. True, it's not taken quite as seriously as some Anime fans would like to believe, but that doesn't mean that it keeps serious writers out of the Animation business. Actually, many Anime series are adapted from Manga (or even books), a medium taken far more seriously than Anime with a breadth of topics that is simply amazing.
3. The fans. For every fan who wants to see animation grow into its potential, you have ten who just want to see pantyshots and explosions, and ten others who want to see pretentiousness disguised as depth. There's a reason why those things are known as "fanservice" in anime circles. And as long as the vast majority of fans don't care to see anything serious in animation, you're not going to see much seriousness in animation.
For every person who wants to see some serious or deep writing in American TV, there are a 1000 others who just want to watch something like Survivor or Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. How may blockbuster "Blow Shit Up," movies have there been again?
You might live a happier life if you stop assuming that everyone who disagrees with you is out to convert you.
For me, I just hate seeing an uninformed opinion being passed off as fact. Somebody hearing your opinions may think that all anime/manga are the same crap and there isn't anything, nor will there ever be anything redeeming about it.

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649067)

Well, I guess you're not "forcing" us to agree with you, but you are making statements that basically say that "What I say is fact, you're wrong, end of story."

I said what I did because he said that he agreed with the fact that Japanese TV is no better than American TV, but then called him an asshole because of it. Why would you call someone an asshole for simply saying something that you agree with? The only reason I can come up with is that even though you agree with it, you can't bring yourself to accept it. Thus I said that he couldn't stand the truth.

Animation, Movies, and Books are neither inherently superior nor inferior to each other.

That's why I was careful not to use the word "inherently." In fact, I used the word "currently."

So, I guess if Americans viewed books as "kiddie," Homer would somehow become less of a work.

Where did I say that Americans viewed animation as being for kids? I said that the majority of all groups believe that. Yes, including the Japanese. The fact that they think that their children are capable of handling more mature subject matter than Americans believe their children can handle is irrelevant.

BTW, even if everyone somehow suddenly decided to think that books were just for kids, that wouldn't make Homer less of an author. Read what I said again.

Actually, many Anime series are adapted from Manga (or even books), a medium taken far more seriously than Anime with a breadth of topics that is simply amazing.

You could say a similar thing about American comic books, yet a majority of people consider both them and manga fit only for geeks (only one step up from children in the mainstream view).

For every person who wants to see some serious or deep writing in American TV, there are a 1000 others who just want to watch something like Survivor or Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. How may blockbuster "Blow Shit Up," movies have there been again?

I used the word "just" there for a reason. A lot of the people I know that went to Fahrenheit 9/11 also watch action movies sometimes; they just realize that action movies aren't the most intellectual form of cinema, and they can enjoy both. Not sure something similar could be said of anime fans, seeing as how much of even supposedly serious anime has plenty of fanservice in it (Neon Genesis Evangelion being the most obvious example).

Somebody hearing your opinions may think that all anime/manga are the same crap and there isn't anything, nor will there ever be anything redeeming about it.

I hope not, because I haven't said that at all. Cowboy Bebop, for example, is good because it makes fun of itself. It realizes that it's filled with cliche and fanservice and makes that part of the joke. It doesn't take itself seriously at all, unlike most of the anime I could name. Then you have Hayao Miyazaki, who has made several works that are worth watching. (Incidentally, he also once said, "I think there is a chance that the spread of Japanese animation overseas might only lead to embarrassment.")

But there are always exceptions to the rule, and right now the rule is that storytelling in anime isn't up to snuff. Before you think me biased, I would say the exact same thing about video gaming, and I'm the biggest gamer I know. And I should also point out that it's quite possible to enjoy stories even if they aren't that good. The problem most anime fans have is that they don't realize that the stories in most of their favorite animes are no better than those in the American shows they love to denounce.

Rob

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649534)

The only reason I can come up with is that even though you agree with it, you can't bring yourself to accept it. Thus I said that he couldn't stand the truth.
My apologies, I misunderstood your meaning.
That's why I was careful not to use the word "inherently." In fact, I used the word "currently."
Hmmm... interesting segue there. My point was that writing is writing despite the final medium. Your point seemed to be that because Anime was somehow new that it would be inferior to other forms of entertainment.
Yes, including the Japanese. The fact that they think that their children are capable of handling more mature subject matter than Americans believe their children can handle is irrelevant.
You forgot Otaku :-) Serously, Some, perhaps even a lot of, Japanese view anime as for kids, but I think the percentage is far larger in the US (though that has been changing with Cartoon Network's influence). However, the *REAL* point was that Anime gets many of it's stories from Manga. Manga is *NOT* viewed the same way as Anime and therefore attracts a large number of Manka-ka (Manga Artist/Writers), many of which are quite talented. How often do you know who *wrote* a TV show or even a movie? Who gets top billing? The writer? Hell no, the stars and director do. At least in Anime, the artist/writer is recognized. They even get to make a decent amount of money out of the deal.
Not sure something similar could be said of anime fans, seeing as how much of even supposedly serious anime has plenty of fanservice in it (Neon Genesis Evangelion being the most obvious example).
Sigh... Evangelion. The Gainax Cash Cow. Well, you can't say it didn't have an effect on the Japanese, though... How many anime shows do you know that generate 300 page 8.5 x 11 product catalogs? You could buy everything from Rei pillows to Laptop Computers with the Nerve logo on them. Quite silly, if you ask me. If you're looking for a more serious show, however, try "Hikaru no Go" or "Haibane Renmei." If you want to get away from the T&A, look no further than the prolific shoujou (young girl) anime genre. Sex and explosions sell in the US, so it's no surprise that those are the type of Anime shows being pushed on American audiences. Considering that barely even a fraction of Anime broadcast in Japan makes it over here, it's hardly fair to judge the entire genre on it. I still occasionally run into people who honestly believe Anime = tentacle rape.
But there are always exceptions to the rule, and right now the rule is that storytelling in anime isn't up to snuff. Before you think me biased, I would say the exact same thing about video gaming, and I'm the biggest gamer I know.
American TV is filled with shallow syndicated shows that wrap up a story every 30 minutes to an hour. Japanese TV still has the "Mini Series" both in Anime and regular TV. I really like the 13 and 26 episode format that doesn't have a damn reset switch at the end of each show. If Americans could learn to *END* their stories instead of dragging them out season after uninspired season, milking the show for all it's worth, I'd probably watch TV a lot more. Does that mean I hate every syndicated show? No, but it is frustrating when the only thing on American TV seems to be reality TV and sitcoms.
The problem most anime fans have is that they don't realize that the stories in most of their favorite animes are no better than those in the American shows they love to denounce.
The difference is as I stated above. Syndicated show VS 13 to 26 episode story that ends. It's hard to like a TV show that just keeps going and going and going... well, at least it is for me, anyway. So, yes, I do believe that the average story found in Japanese anime is far better than the average story found in American TV.

Re:Interesting (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649750)

Syndicated show VS 13 to 26 episode story that ends. It's hard to like a TV show that just keeps going and going and going... well, at least it is for me, anyway. So, yes, I do believe that the average story found in Japanese anime is far better than the average story found in American TV.

As much as it kinda sorta pains me to do so, I agree. Anime does not generally have better stories than movies/books, but it does have better than TV, precisely because it (generally) has a fricking ending!

Still, we're basically comparing skunk poo to cow poo. Sure, the skunk poo may smell worse, but they both smell bad. It's only on the rare occassion, for either country, that the cow (or skunk) shits out a 24K gold brick instead.

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654913)

American TV is filled with shallow syndicated shows that wrap up a story every 30 minutes to an hour. Japanese TV still has the "Mini Series" both in Anime and regular TV.

Of course, it helps to ignore that sort of mentality run amok, as with the interminably-long Dragon Ball Z. People who laud the superiority of serialized shows over episodic shows always seem to forget that that particular work (among others) exists. Then you have Cowboy Bebop, which manages to have a better story than most anime despite only devoting a small portion of its time to the "main" storyarc. IOW, being serialized or not has nothing to do with the story being good. It just means that the story will be longer.

Rob

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660900)

Of course, it helps to ignore that sort of mentality run amok, as with the interminably-long Dragon Ball Z. People who laud the superiority of serialized shows over episodic shows always seem to forget that that particular work (among others) exists.
Never said they didn't exist... I just said that American TV was *filled* with them almost to the exclusion of all else. To be honest, I'm not really all that fond of the DragonBall (/Z/GT) series on TV. In fact, shows like Naruto, InuYahsa and a few others seem to follow the same mentality: draw out the damn story and milk it for all its worth. Gee, I wonder why those are the ones that get picked for broadcast in America...?
Then you have Cowboy Bebop, which manages to have a better story than most anime despite only devoting a small portion of its time to the "main" storyarc.
Cowboy Bebop, while an okay story, is still just an action show with quite a bit of style. I don't expect much more from a show aimed at teenage boys. I did enjoy it, but I don't view it as anything more than what it is.

... IOW, being serialized or not has nothing to do with the story being good. It just means that the story will be longer
Let's take Harry Potter 3, for example. If, instead of around 2 hours to tell the story in that fricking massive book, what if the studio were able to successfully market a 13 episode series at the same quality as the movie? That's at least 5 hours or so to tell the story, more if you allow for 40-45 minute segments instead of 18-20. IOW, having more time to explore a story can be better than being forced to editorialize one.

If you want examples of shows that *are* good in anime, stop talking about the lowest common denominator stuff that happens to make it to Cartoon Network because its so similar to American TV. If you're looking for a good story, start with Plantes, Twin Spica (Futari no Spica), Ayatsuri Sakon, Kokoro Library, Hikaru no Go, Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo, Monster, and the Touch movies, to name a few. There's even more that are a little lighter on story, but still quite good without pampering to the shounen audience.

[rant]
I'll also throw in one more little tidbit for you. The stuff that gets dubbed is often written by 2-bit writers at the sub companies. They take translations that are usually pretty rough around the edges, then write their own dialog to kind of match. Unfortunately, about half the time it turns out pretty piss poor. Even the subtitles on the commercial discs are often wrong, even from companies like Disney (Laputa, probably my favorite Miyaziki flick, was horribly butchered in the subtitles). Even Cowboy Bebop. In the original, Ed's gender is left pretty ambiguous for most of the show. In the dub, they get Faye screaming, "Ed's a Girl!?" right at the end of the episode in which Ed appears.
[/rant]

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9662130)

I'll also throw in one more little tidbit for you. The stuff that gets dubbed is often written by 2-bit writers at the sub companies. They take translations that are usually pretty rough around the edges, then write their own dialog to kind of match. Unfortunately, about half the time it turns out pretty piss poor.

OH GOD THEY DIDN'T PHRASE THE SENTENCE EXACTLY AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY!!! ALSO THEY CIT OUT ALL SORTS OF CULTUREAL REFERENCES THAT WOULD MAKE NO SENSE TO ANYONE OUTSIDE OF JAPAN! THEY SHOULD ALL DIE FOR THIER CRIME OF BUTCHERING A SUPERIOR SHOW!!!!!

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9663905)

Pfft... Give me a break. I'm not talking about the piddly crap... I can live with that. I'm talking about stuff that changes the entire meaning of whole scenes. I'm talking about hand-holding crap like Faye screaming Ed's a girl. What's the point of that? The show was a lot more fun when you weren't sure. How seriously could you take the Harry Potter movie if they changed the word "wand" to "wood," eh? Means close to the same thing, right?

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9665139)

Sort of like how they changed Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone and no one really gave a flying fuck except the excessively anal.

Also a better comparison would if they called them "staffs" or some shit instead of "wands".

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9673935)

If that's all they did, I wouldn't really care. Actually, the Slayer's translations haven't been half bad. Ditto for Mononoke Hime and quite a few others. The problem comes in when they change much, much more than that. Silent Mobious Movie changed the thing that unlocked Katsumi's power from a spell in the form of a song to "The power of my Mother's Love!" Yay! Sure, that's not going to make much of a difference. The story was struggling enough as it was, it didn't need that crap added into the mix to make it even worse. Really, only about half of what makes it over here has a decent translation and even fewer shows than that get the treatment of a real writer that can make the difference between completely lame dialog and something that's worth listening to.

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9662107)

The difference is as I stated above. Syndicated show VS 13 to 26 episode story that ends. It's hard to like a TV show that just keeps going and going and going... well, at least it is for me, anyway. So, yes, I do believe that the average story found in Japanese anime is far better than the average story found in American TV.

Yeah it's great when they take 20 episodes to do a plot that any other show could have done in 1 or 2 episodes. Hours of filler certainly is EXCITING!

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9662057)

BTW, even if everyone somehow suddenly decided to think that books were just for kids, that wouldn't make Homer less of an author. Read what I said again.

The problem with the ideas presented here RE books and kids and Homer is that Homer himself is part of the reason books aren't viewed as being "kiddie". Maybe if more of the first animation had been serious epic tales or something similar we would today have a different perception of it. The basic agument behind this is FLAWED.

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9662035)

Japanese Animation isn't viewed by Japanese in quite the same way as by Americans.

You're right. Japan KNOWS the shit is for kids while America is full of people trying to pretend it's not.

Re:Interesting (1)

YomikoReadman (678084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649814)

1. Age of the medium. Animation simply hasn't been around as long as literature or cinema. This is a pretty big disadvantage, as anime has had less time to mature. Not even cinema has been around nearly long enough to produce people like Homer or Shakespeare.

Since when does 'Age of the medium' have anything to do with anything? Just because The Iliad or the works of Shakespeare have existed for 500 years or more doesn't make them automatically superior. Also, just because that form of media has existed doesn't mean that anything good will come of it. Shakespeare and Homer could have easily been perceived as hacks.

2. The view that animation is "kiddie." This concept of being for kids tends to keep people from taking it seriously, which in turn tends to keep writers from doing serious work in it. Animation is starting to overcome this view, but it'll probably be a while before it is generally accepted as a legitimate adult artform.

I'll be honest, I really can't argue this one. I'll blame marketing for it, as animation has always been pushed out as something for children, regardless of culture. However, even so, most asian cultures realize that simply because the medium is directed towards a certain demographic, that does not preclude it from being directed towards others at the same time. Not all anime is for kids; Porn is still adults only, regardless of culture.

3. The fans. For every fan who wants to see animation grow into its potential, you have ten who just want to see pantyshots and explosions, and ten others who want to see pretentiousness disguised as depth. There's a reason why those things are known as "fanservice" in anime circles. And as long as the vast majority of fans don't care to see anything serious in animation, you're not going to see much seriousness in animation.

Can't argue this either. As for it being known as fanservice only in circles, that's not true. Fanservice is an industry terminology, and if you follow anime even loosely, you can see that it's not just american fans interested in seeing it. It's targeted at japanese viewers, for their wants and desires; everyone else is just an incidental market.

As for everyone who disagrees with me trying to convert me, I've found that in 24 years of life, that sadly holds true. People are generally unaccepting of anything they don't agree with, or like. I find that it's simply not in human nature to be understanding or accepting of things they don't understand. If you don't believe me, then look at how children with neurological disorders are treated by parents or relatives that are unable to cope with their condition.

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9662015)

100 episodes of "plot devolopment" where nothing changes and we don't learn anything signifigant about the characters that then ends unclimactically with some BS gibberish desguised as a "message" is what makes it "inferior to literature and cinima".

Re:Interesting (1)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646925)

While there certainly is some truth to what you said, I don't think you're entirely right.

I, personally, like a show with a decent amount of story in it. Movies are okay, but it's hard to fit a good story in a short, two hour flick. Sometimes, I like to watch something a bit longer.

American TV doesn't really have this anymore. We used to have the "mini-series," but I haven't seen that in a long time. These days it's all about syndication. This means every "story" gets wrapped up in half to 1 hour increments with the occasional two parter during sweeps. Not to mention the reset switch at the end of each ep to make sure you can show the episodes in any order.

The great thing about Japanese TV (and I'm not talking just Anime either), is the half-season (11-13 episode) series. That's around 6 to 12 hours to tell a good story. Of course, there's a still a lot of crap, too, but you'll get that anywhere.

I'd watch a lot more American TV (and read more American comics) if they just knew how to *END* the damn things.

In fact, anime is currently inferior to literature and cinema for a number of reasons.
That's not a very good comparison... There are Anime shows in the Cinema (both in Japan and in the US) and there is also literature in Japan, some of which is tightly tied to Anime. And no, I'm not referring to Manga, but to honest-to-goodness novels.

Anyway, the myopia seems to be cutting both ways, here...

Re:Interesting (1)

Vorahk (795229) | more than 10 years ago | (#9661947)

Boy you sure are fucking retarded. I like the part where you assume the only reason he is bashing anime is because the only shows he's seen were on Cartoon Network. CLEARLY HE IS SIMPLY NOT GETTING THE CORRECT EXPERIENCE HERE!!!1!!

Re:Interesting (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9644464)

Is that some sort of counter point to what I said?

What is I said is "in most cases". Have I ever said that Japanese people aren't like that aswell?
Take a look on the world, almost everyone is shallow. The minority, which isn't too small and which me and you and most slashdot readers are a part of, do know what's good art, be it Japanese, American or I_don't_care_where art.
I for example like Anime cuz it's different, in many ways than western TV, making it interesting. Ofcourse I know that a lot of anime really sucks, but these shows don't get to be subbed, so people don't see it. Just think about the amount of BAD TV there is in the world, then take only the GOOD shows. Even if this number is 10% of the shows, you still get a fair amount of material to watch.

This type of games is a new thing for westerners, that I hope u can agree with, so it's reasonable that the first imports will be stuff that sells well, regardless if it's "good" or not. It is known that sex sells => at least at start games that are based mostly around sex will sell more.
Sure, if the fanbase for these type of games, and for the better, story-driven-not-only-sex games fanbase gets big enough, so an importer can find it cost efficient, it might become as popular as it is in Japan.

Ofcourse I know the "massive amounts of really bizzare dating-sim esque porn". It sells. I like those games aswell, but I can't really consider them very art-full. A small percent of the games really ARE good, regardless of the sex scenes.

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645548)

I'm not sure that he denied that Western audiences are at least as intellectual as Japanese ones. I think he may have been trying to imply that it wouldn't be worth the cost and time of translation, exporting, and so forth to give us those games when the market for them (even the potential market, really) is so small. Putting those games out in a Japanese market is less of a risk for several reasons.

Of course, I take issue with the idea that any dating sim has an "interesting story," but that's another debate.

Rob

Re:Interesting (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9647314)

Of course, I take issue with the idea that any dating sim has an "interesting story," but that's another debate.

Even if you limited the discussion to dating sims (which technically describes a much smaller set of games into which none of the Hirameki titles falls), I'm not sure how you can write off an entire genre as never going to have an interesting story.

But the Hirameki games are what the Japanese call adventures and visual novels (the latter term is the one Western fans prefer, since "adventure game" suggests something along the lines of Monkey Island). And if you can, with a straight face, dispute that any visual novel has an interesting story, then I can only conclude that you don't know the first thing about the subject.

Consider Fate/stay night, for example, which is based around a group of mythical heroes being summoned from the past to take part in a ritual battle for the Holy Grail - and features a plot so intricate that the entire game has to break off at one point while a particularly clever contrivance is explained with diagrams. How uninteresting - it's obviously just a shallow cover for underage sex, right?

Or Key's famous AIR, which is so lacking in plot that it's currently being made into a movie and a TV series simultaneously. Oh, sure, along with its predecessor Kanon it spawned an entire industry of merchandising and doujinshi, but hey, just 'cos its story has reduced hardened critics to tears doesn't mean it's interesting, right?

Or Kid's Infinity series - who could ever be interested in games that rely on quantum physics to drive plots based around time loops and people exchanging bodies? Oh, how dull and derivative these games are...

Re:Interesting (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9647554)

I based that comment on the fact that people often hold up Kana Little Sister as an example of an "interesting story," which suggests that most of these games are at least as boring. If there are much better examples to give, though, great.

Rob

Re:Interesting (1)

shadow_slicer (607649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648754)

"2. Include some objectional material such as underage sex."

Does anyone else here find it particularly funny that despite the amount of "objectionable material" in their media, the actual culture is *significantly* more traditional.

I mean I get the impression that if any of these things actually happened (for example: *gasp* an unwed couple living together), those involved would be run out of town faster than a Southern Babtist preacher can say "Praise the Lord".

Admittedly, my analysis of Japanese culture *may be* rather flawed (seeing as how I've never actually *been* to Japan), and my *entire* analysis is based on the anime I have watched. But I still think I'm right about this. The traditionalism and fear of society present in the realistic animes, and the flaunted violation of societal norms in other animes paint an almost perfect portrait of a repressive society.

Re:Interesting (2, Insightful)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649783)

I mean I get the impression that if any of these things actually happened (for example: *gasp* an unwed couple living together), those involved would be run out of town faster than a Southern Babtist preacher can say "Praise the Lord".

Admittedly, my analysis of Japanese culture *may be* rather flawed (seeing as how I've never actually *been* to Japan), and my *entire* analysis is based on the anime I have watched.


Sorry, but you're right, your analysis seems pretty darn flawed. Nothing at all wrong with unmarried couples. Definitely less of a fixation on remaining a virgin until marriage than in America (not that anyone in America is a virgin at marriage, but at least the expectation exists). Cheating on your mate is also far less stigmatised than in America. There are parts of Japan that are more straightlaced than America (office politics, relations with in-laws, etc.), but there are other parts that make up for it with a lot more freedom than there is in America. So it's a draw overall.

I wonder... (4, Funny)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640960)

Is there any dating sim in which you can be eaten by a grue? Or, *shudder* date a grue?

Re:I wonder... (1)

Soul-Burn666 (574119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641025)

Grues probably not, but vampire girls, robot-maids, alien girls, catgirls, explicitly underage girls, certainly yes.

Re:I wonder... (1)

cluke (30394) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642531)

Knowing the Japanese proclivities in such matters, there is probably a dating sim in which a grue eats you *out*.

(sorry..)

This isn't the first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9641086)

You do know hentai/bishoujo games have been being (slowly and often poorly) translated and released in English for many many years? These aren't even the first DVDs. These aren't even the first DVDs *by that company*. Amusement Park and Day of Love are Hirameki games and have been out for a while.

Games yet again parroting like art. (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641096)

The day games become art nobody will tell us it has happened, we will just know it.

Re:Games yet again parroting like art. (1)

Lynxara (775657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9642583)

I don't think datesims about trying to turn games into art, because they're not really games. Yes, I know, you play them on consoles and PCs, and they're interactive so they're technically games, but....

The audience datesims cater to isn't really one that's focused on video games, but one that's focused on anime and manga. One of the yardsticks for measuring success in this genre is if the game gets turned into some kind of (porn-free, even if the game wasn't) anime production like Comic Party, To Heart, or Tsukihime. You will never hear issues that occupy the average /. games reader, like depth of gameplay, open-ended interactivity, or player freedom brought up when people talk about datesims; instead, they'll talk about it in basically the same way they'd discuss anime of a similar genre, which girls they liked best and which plotlines moved them.

In datesims, the game media is just a vehicle for telling an anime-like story in a format that is much cheaper to produce. The game can be used as a basis for other merchandise, and to build fanbases for the characters. Distribution is simpler, cheaper, and the production team will require fewer people.

Personally, I'm glad these games are coming to the US, since there's definitely an audience that will enjoy them in translation. However, that audience is going to be comprised of anime fans, not peopel who are gamers first and foremost. I'd go so far as to say that these games might be more properly shelved with anime in stores like Software Etc., than with other console games.

The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (4, Interesting)

pocopoco (624442) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641479)

Sure this company brings them across, but they kill the erotic content if present when they do (I've confirmed this was done to Tea Society, others no doubt as well). The sex scenes and being able to go all the way with exotic/interesting/friendly cuties is pretty much the driving force of this genre. For an example, here's the 18+ only gallery page [frontwing.jp] for the japanese version of the Tea Society game mentioned in the article (they are young for my taste here, but obviously different games for different folks ^^). Other companies/more modern games will also have voice samples you can check out as well.

So any game Hirameki brings across is going to get any of the sex edited out and the only option for fans who want to play in English is to put up with the neutered version. Yes there are games without this part that do well in Japan, and games that have clean versions that are successful, but there's no denying the core of the industry. Without the sex you're back to the Myst type games and the flood of "interactive multimedia CD-ROMs" that followed them that people once thought were going to be such a big hit, but flopped terribly.

Anyway, for people who want the full experience, better to stick with the more faithfully brought across games like those available at g-collections [g-collections.com] . Some are all sex and little story (like Do You Like Horny Bunnies, which does the sex very well and animated, btw ^^), but others are quite funny and entertaining like Heart de Roomate and others have touching stories like Kana ~Little Sister~. And none of those three has had the erotic scenes edited out so you can go all the way and experience the full game if you so desire.

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9643230)

Look, computers and the internet exist in kind of a moral vaccuum--human beings are seperated from the shame dispensing institutions that normally holds us to aesthetic, moral, or ethical standards by the omnipresent, warm, accepting glow of our CRTs replacing the harsh, judgmental glare of our peers.

This can be a beautiful thing--allowing people to explore things about themselves that our near theocratic society would never tolerate.

But, although normally I'm not such a prude about internet eroticism, I do think there is a danger that that a world without moral bounds and aesthetic judgments becomes a world of pure noise and meaninglessness. Our sense of dignity, shame, and/or innocence have managed to survive centuries of a world determined to make sure we go to our graves with none of these still in tact. I say this as an atheist: the fact that Virtue has survived so long suggests that it imparts significant survival advantages.

So, it is on that basis that I now say the sort of thing I would ordinarily never say. Watching interactive animated DVDs for erotic reasons is totally weird!!! It depresses me deeply that this is ever done! This is the path to loneliness and despair! I think I can actually hear the entropy of the Universe accelerating because you are doing this! Stop it, everyone! Y'all do whatever you like, but you'll have to do so in the face of this anonymous coward shaking his finger accusingly at you!!!!!

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645745)

Watching interactive animated DVDs for erotic reasons is totally weird!!!

Maybe a little bit weirder than watching non-interactive live-action DVDs for erotic reasons (and maybe not that weird, depending on what kind of sexual acts you're watching). Yet how many people do that? Society hasn't collapsed yet.

The only thing I'd find weird is if people watched animated porn exclusively. Most people don't. I know I don't.

Rob

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9645777)

Look, I'm telling you, HEAT DEATH OF THE UNIVERSE ANY MINUTE NOW thanks to choose-your-own-misadventure anime porn using up all the energy!

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645828)

I think furries are more likely to cause that. Those suits are really hot.

Rob (In a thermal sense, of course)

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9643849)

I just finished Kana - Little Sister, that game was so depressing I couldn't even get off during the sex scenes. I warn against people playing this game for the sex, but if you want to have a good cry then this is for you.

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645685)

I warn against people playing that game for the sex because of how boring it is. It'll take you forever to get to the few sex scenes in the game, and the story would only interest an anime fan anyway.

If you want an accurate review of it, read this SA article [somethingawful.com] on Private Nurse, which is basically the same game with the roles reversed. Oh, and this one actually has more sex scenes.

Rob

Re:The diehard fans actually dislike Hirameki... (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645775)

Sure this company brings them across, but they kill the erotic content if present when they do (I've confirmed this was done to Tea Society, others no doubt as well).

I dunno who made Eve Burst Error (haven't gotten around to playing it), but that game had the sexual content removed. I hear it was allowed back in in the sequel.

Rob

Thank god.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9641962)

now when I decide to jerk the junk to this stuff I'll be able to get to the good stuff the first time thru insted of having to try every single opition to see what happens.

Anime Premise Tags (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643744)

"A summer vacation that crosses the boundaries of space and time."

The premise tag is sure to make an anime/manga fan's mind reel with possibilities, and any non-fan think to himself, "How contrived." From TokyoPop's Adult Swim manga commercials with the breathless announcer:

"The school of the afterlife is about to get its first living exchange student!"

"In DNAngel," I swear that's the title, "a phantom (pause) will steal your heart! But can you love someone you can't see?"

"Princess Ai. An angel doomed... to love!"

Bleah. Wake me when its Bebop.

Re:Anime Premise Tags (1)

bugbread (599172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9649790)

Here (in Japan), we understandably don't get Adult Swim, but those were fucking hilarious. Any others?

J-List and JastUSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9643902)

J-List and JastUSA have been selling these games for years.

Authoring? (1)

dayeight (21335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9644084)

Has anyone found a dvd authoring program that let's you make Dragon Lair style DVDs? Other than 10k$+ solutions like Scenarist?

Re:Authoring? (1)

dave1212 (652688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648902)

DVD Studio Pro [apple.com] will, it has a bunch of examples and tutorials with it for working with timelines and stuff. You can set the action buttons to whatever you want on a computer or remote controller.

Re:Authoring? (1)

dayeight (21335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9654306)

Hmm... I've used DVDSP2 and could see doing taht via menus, but not seamless branching in the actual movie. you can have scripts that run at chapter breaks (which cause idle time) but no way to do autoaction (not needint to press enter) buttons. But you say "will" so is this in dvdsp3 or mentioned in upcoming 3.5 or something?
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