It’s amazing to see how Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms are enabling games such as visual novels to go directly to their audience for funding! The latest in exciting Kickstarters is the boys’ love (BL) visual novel Witch Boy Magical Piece from Sekai Project, which is looking to fund the game’s localization through crowdfunding. With only 10 days left on the clock and still a ways to go to reach its $57,000 goal, I’m going to tell you why this game is awesome and deserves more support!
The trial edition can be downloaded from the MangaGamer website (the product listing page is very NSFW, so beware before you click) or this blog post if you have trouble creating an account on their site. While the game is for PCs, the game’s translator Haro has posted a tutorial on how to run the game on a Mac (which I myself have done). The demo covers the game’s opening scenario as well as one sex scene for each of the main characters, and will probably take about an hour or so to complete depending on how fast you click through it.
In No, Thank You!!!, you play as the amnesiac protagonist Haru, who takes up a job at an upper-class bar after saving the bar’s owner from being hit by a car (which, subsequently, is how he lost his memories). During his first night on the job, you’re introduced to the five main characters and get a glimpse of the game’s overarching narrative before the game offers you the choice to of whose butt you wish to grab, which then leads into a sex scene with that character taken from later in the game.
The main reason I wanted to check out this demo was to see how the localization fared, and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed! Haru’s internal monologues are often quite humorous and all of the text flowed really well.
Another pleasant surprise was the fact that text you’ve already read appears in blue – a simple addition, but one that’s really helpful in visual novels when completing multiple character paths. I’m surprised not all companies do this!
Of course, one of No, Thank You!!!‘s big claims to fame is the option to toggle the men’s hair on and off at any time in the game. I’ve never seen a BL game do this before, but it’s great that they’re able to cater to different tastes! I hope more games follow suit in the future.
|This doesn’t really sound like sexy fun times to me…|
In the interest of being honest, I think it’s important that I also mention a few issues I have with the game so far. Haru is an extremely outgoing protagonist that takes control in all of the sexual encounters in the demo, making him a traditional seme, and nearly all of the sex scenes have some element that makes them not completely consensual. This continues the trend seen in the bar scenes where Haru constantly invades the other characters’ personal space. He often proclaims that he’s engaging in “sexual harassment,” which is a term often used jokingly in Japanese media (and is similarly used for humorous effect here), but personally, I don’t really find a character that is constantly “harassing” everyone to be all that appealing.
Similarly, I would much prefer to see sex scenes where both parties are really enjoying the encounter, rather than the one-sided slant all but Hiroyuki’s takes in the demo. I’m sure the full game sees Haru’s relationship with each character develop to the point where everyone is clearly having fun when they do have sex, but I didn’t really like the way pleasure was depicted as repressed/resentful in the scenes in the demo.
Regardless, I very much want to support the release of more BL games in English, so I will happily pay $39.95 for the game when it does come out. If my impressions have you on the fence, I highly recommend you check out the demo yourself! I would love to hear everyone else’s thoughts.
While the rest of the world struggles to grasp how to market niche media to woman (and whether it’s a viable market in the first place), Japan continues to be leagues ahead in catering towards fans who want something a little different than the usual mainstream anime/video game fare. New otome games are released nearly every week, and the success of anime like Free! shows that there is definitely a large market outside the straight male demographic that is more than willing to spend oodles of money on series that make the effort to appeal to them.
As such, it’s no surprise to see events like the Animate Girls Festival, a two day celebration of everything from otome games to BL manga. Taking place on November 8th and 9th in Ikebukuro Sunshine City, the festival is now five years old, and is even hosting a special “Real Otome Game” for attendees to celebrate the occasion!
While there are a variety of events held on the main stage, such as voice actor appearances from series such as Photograph Journey and World Trigger, a Sailor Moon Crystal special event, and even a fashion show from the anime/manga-inspired label Super Groupies, the main draw of AGF is undoubtedly the company booths and wide variety of exclusive merchandise they bring. There’s no way I could possibly cover everything in one post, but here are a few (personal) highlights:
Perhaps one of the biggest figure-related announcements will be the Makoto figma, which Hobbystock plans to unveil at AGF. Fans are hoping to see the preliminary sculpt for Rin’s Altair figure as well, but since there’s been no word on it so far, we’re unlikely to see it at this event. [UPDATE: Turns out Rin was unveiled after all!]
Mink may not be the most popular DRAMAtical Murder character, but his new drama CD will be debuting at the event. You’ve got to admit, the cover art is nice! Nitro+Chiral has a number of other merchandise from their BL games that they’ll be bringing to the event, as well:
There are also these AGF-exclusive merchandise sets that feature the characters of DRAMAtical Murder dressed up as their AllMate familiars. Be sure to head over to Nitro+Chiral’s AGF 2014 site to see the full adorable series!
Broccoli will be touting a new line of themed Uta no Prince-sama merchandise called Shining Circus, which seems to be catering especially to fans who like vests. I’m certainly not complaining! They’ll be selling everything from clear file folders to phone straps and pouches that will likely go for insane prices on the aftermarket following the event. If UtaPri is your thing, you can drool over all the exclusive items on their website.
In addition to more merchandise than you can throw your wallet at, Animate Girls Festival will be holding a “Real Otome Game” in honor of their 5th anniversary! What is a Real Otome Game, exactly? According to their site, attendees can participate in the game, titled Koi suru AGF (Love AGF), by purchasing a game book for 550 yen at the event. By reading through the book and going to different locations depending on how you want the story to progress, you’ll be able to “fall in love” with one of the three characters pictured above, each with two different endings!
While I can’t imagine how busy it will be if there are actual actors playing the men in the game, this sounds like a really fun idea in the vein of the otome game scenario reenactments that were at Tokyo Game Show this year. Hopefully attendees will be able to take photos so us poor souls outside of Japan can see what it’s like! I know I’ll be scouring the AGF2014 hashtag on Twitter throughout the weekend so I can live vicariously through everyone there…
I have been monumentally busy lately. Terribly, soul-crushingly busy to the point that I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to fit in everything I want/need to do. On top of that, my monthly Community Game-Alongs keep me acutely aware of exactly how much time I have left in the year… And it’s not a lot.
So, how can one ever hope to manage one’s time?! With a handy list, of course!
There are tons of games I want to play over the next few months, but I had to narrow things down for the sake of this post, and my sanity. Since I’m on a major otome game/visual novel kick lately, I figured that was as good a place to start as any, and I also wanted to use it as an excuse to cover some games that may not be talked about very often. And thus, I present to you: four visual novels I have to play before 2015!
Clover Toshokan no Juunin-tachi (release date: September 26)
This is one otome game that I absolutely did not have on my radar until I happened to see it pop up for preorder on Ami Ami (that site is going to be the death of me). My interest was piqued for purely superficial reasons – the game has the word “library” in the title, and the art was appealing, albeit a little generic. But this game isn’t just an otome game that features a library! The male suitors are literally books. That’s right, the books in the library have come to life, from the cutesy picture book to the wild-looking travel book. Even though this game is for PC and I generally prefer to play games on consoles, I will readily admit that the prospect of dating books completely sold me on the title.
Nekketsu Inou Bukatsu: Trigger Kiss (release date: October 2)
I don’t always feel the need to do news posts here on Chic Pixel, but with announcements as big and exciting as these, I just couldn’t pass them up! Manga Gamer, the bishojo game publisher, revealed their new game lineup at Anime Expo today, which included not one, but two titles aimed squarely at the otome and fujoshi demographic (aka me), OZMAFIA!! and No, Thank You!!!. I like to imagine those excessive exclamation marks were included in the titles because the developers knew how happy fans would be to have them localized…
The fact that OZMAFIA!! will be coming out in English isn’t exactly new, as the developer, Poni-Patchet, announced as much at the game’s one year anniversary event a week ago, but this is the first world we’ve gotten of who’s actually helping them bring over the PC-only title. According to Manga Gamer’s Anime Expo panel, they will be looking to bring the title to Steam, as well.
OZMAFIA!! is pretty much exactly what you’d imagine it to be from the title: it’s an otome game (romance visual novel for girls) that features a mafia… based on Wizard of Oz characters. While some of the romantic interests are loosely styled around memorable characters such as the Scarecrow and Tin Man, other rival mafias get their inspiration from Grimm fairy tales, among other classics. For those familiar with otome games, the artist behind all of the illustrations is none other than the woman who worked on Diabolik Lovers, one of the most popular otome game series in Japan at the moment.
No, Thank You!!!, on the other, hand, came completely out of left field. Otome games have been typically hard sell for western publishers, but BL games have been even harder (Is that a pun? Don’t ask). Well, Manga Gamer is ready to take on the challenge with what will be the first English release of a BL game since Enzai: Falsely Accused came out way back in 2006! No, Thank You!!! is, in my opinion, extra special as it really starts to blur the lines of bara (a general term referring to pornographic material aimed at gay men) and BL (generally for a female audience). Not only do the men have much more varied character designs than the usual BL fare, but they’re a wide range of ages, and players even have the option to toggle their body hair on and off at any time during the game! Now that’s something!
I’ve previously expressed my disappointment with western publishers passing over games aimed at a female audience in favor of more of the same, so it’s time to make some noise and really celebrate this news! While OZMAFIA!! probably wouldn’t have been a game I’d have specifically sought out myself, No, Thank you!!! has been on my radar since before it was released in Japan (in fact, I’ve written about it twice). If you’re at all interested in more varied games getting localized, please let Manga Gamer know how thrilled you are that they’re releasing these titles, and consider picking them up on release!
Here it is, the first weekend of my new “bits and bobs” series, Catch-up Corner! Since I often find there are a lot of things I want to talk about but don’t have enough to say to quite fill up a regular post, these weekly posts will be a place for me to touch on some little tidbits I’ve found interesting or keep you updated with what I’m up to. I hope you enjoy it!
The biggest news of my week has got to be the announcement that Max Factory will be re-releasing their scaled figure of Aoba Seragaki from the BL visual novel DRAMAtical Murder! They’ve been teasing this one for a long time, and since he was released before I got into figure collecting and is currently fetching prices of $300+, there was simply no way I would have been able to purchase him before. Granted, even his first release retailed at ¥14,095 (about $140), so the likelihood that I will break down and buy the re-release is probably nearly as low, but I like to dream that I might be able to get my hands on him someday. Maybe I should set my sights on something a little more affordable, like the Free! or Uta no Prince-sama boys…
Next, an embarrassing admission: it’s already June 1st here in Australia and I haven’t done an official announcement for June’s Community Game-Along theme! For those of you who like to get started right away, here it is: puzzles! Be sure #PuzzleMonth to share your experiences and chat with other participants on your favorite social medial of choice. If you’re at a loss to what game you should play, a post will be going up tomorrow with a handful of suggestions along with the usual Game-Along guidelines. And if you want to plan even further ahead, mark your calendar for #JRPGJuly!
I’d also like to let everyone know that Chic Pixel is going through a little bit of a move at the moment, and as a result there may be some hiccups over the next week. If you find any broken links, have troubles with the podcast, or have any other issues you notice, please let me know by leaving a comment here or messaging me on Twitter! If all goes well, you shouldn’t even notice anything. Fingers crossed!
I don’t know why, but I haven’t seen a single piece in English on the upcoming BL game No, Thank You!!! since I first wrote about it back in February. Now, I’ll readily admit that its title makes it rather difficult to search for information that actually pertains to the game, but I’m inclined to think that this game may be going under the radar of BL fans in general.
As I wrote in my last post, the game is a PC-only 18+ BL (boys’ love) visual novel that has an interesting twist – it appears to be attempting to tap into the bara, or gay male, audience, as well. My thesis research is actually centered around BL manga that shake up traditional notions of what constitues “BL,” so naturally the idea of mixing BL and bara piqued my interest. When I heard the March 2013 issue of Cool-B, a Japanese magazine for BL games, would feature some new information and illustrations from No, Thank You!!!, I jumped on the chance to learn more!
Please forgive the separate images! The above pictures are of a two-page spread, but I couldn’t bring myself to tear apart the magazine so I could get scans that matched up to make one seamless image. The first half at least looks pretty okay on its own, though, don’t you think?
The second page features some text that describes a little narrative surrounding this Valentine’s Day-inspired scene.
Next is a two-page spread later on in the magazine that details the game further, including a message from developer parade asking fans to be patient and that the game will come out sometime in 2013 (they’ve been advertising No, Thank You!!! since 2011 at least, which is quite a long time for a BL game, I think).
My favorite part of this page has to be the new CG in the bottom-right corner. Seems like there’s quite a food theme going in this game! I can definitely get behind that.
This issue also features the opening scenario of the game, which is that big wall of text you see above. If anyone desperately wants it (or any other pages I have scanned) translated, do let me know! I’d be happy to do so, but I’d much rather know that people want to read it than go to all the trouble to translate it only to find out that no one really cares!
Anyway, the basic premise of the game is that 22-year-old Haru saves a man from being hit by a car, but wakes up with no memories of who he is or what happened. The man, Kouichi Inui (the dark brown-haired older man pictured with Haru in the aforementioned CG), takes Haru back to the bar he owns and offers him a job. Of course, romance ensues! Well, that’s what I imagine, but Haru’s defining feature is that he wants to have sex with any man or woman he finds attractive… I guess amnesia doesn’t effect one’s libido?
|No, Thank You!!!’s cheeky amnesiac protagonist Haru|
Finally, the magazine also comes with DVD featuring a number of exclusive items such as wallpapers and videos, including some for No, Thank You!!!. I double-checked the No, Thank You!!! website and they haven’t released these wallpapers yet, so I thought I’d share them with everyone. Follow this link for wallpapers of each main character, available in three sizes each. Hope you like them!