Hooray for new anime! In this episode, Sarah tackles snow in Tokyo and shares her Odin Sphere Leiftfhrasir impressions, while I predictably have many thoughts on otome games and Otomate’s Osomatsu-san game announcement. We then reveal our next Manga Book Club Pick, Otaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii, and share our first impressions of our 2016 anime picks!
00:02:41 – Odin Sphere Leiftfhrasir impressions
00:10:53 – Osomatsu-san otome game?!
00:16:08 – Uta no Prince-sama Repeat Vita port announced
00:17:33 – ZAM otome article
00:21:36 – Manga Book Club
00:29:24 – Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju episodes 1-2
00:45:04 – Ajin episode 1 (swapping for Erased)
00:52:14 – Prince of Stride Alternative episodes 1-2
01:04:18 – Nippon Neighborhood Watch
Opening ♫ – “Watashi Igai Watashi ja nai no” by Gesu no Kiwami Otome Closing ♫ – “Be My Steady” by Galaxy Standard
I can’t believe how many amazing visual novel Kickstarters have been popping up lately! And let me tell you, I’m particularlyexcited for Hustle Cat, a romance visual novel taking place in a magical cat café. What more is there to love?!
Despite starting a YouTube channel over a year ago, I still feel very green when it comes to world of video-based media. Because of this, I’m always looking at new channels for inspiration and to see what kinds of videos are popular with viewers. That’s why for this week’s Sunday Spotlight, I’d like to highlight a YouTuber whose content I find particularly impressive: VerdelishJP of Let’s English!.
Vedelish sets herself apart from other YouTubers by doing Let’s Plays of games only available in Japanese, with a special touch: she subtitles all of the game in English, so viewers can understand and follow along! Since subtitling entire games is very time-intensive, she only has two main series at the moment, one for above otome game Beyond the Future: Fix the Time Arrows, and her popular “Yandere Hell” series featuring Harem Tengoku da to Omottara Yandare Jigoku datta. I’m sure you can tell that my personal preference is Beyond the Future, but both series are definitely worth checking out!
You can follow VedelishJP on YouTube and Twitter. Her channel updates weekly.
Happy Sunday, and welcome to the first of what I imagine will be many Sunday Spotlights featuring awesome artists! There are a ton of artists drawing amazing video game fan art, to be sure, but how many of them are drawing iconic otome game characters using selfie sticks?
I’m pretty sure the only person who can claim that brilliant title is Romy of Strawberry Core. What I love about Romy’s art blog is that it features all kinds of fun otome game fan art, including art of characters from mobile games such as NTT Solmare’sShall We Date?series. I also spy some Yowamushi Pedaland 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, which tells me we pretty much have exactly the same tastes in nerdy Japanese media. If you’re in the same boat, definitely give Romy’s blog a follow, or check them out on Twitter!
A new month means a new Community Game-Along theme, and this year, May is all about visual novels! We’ve had a ton of great otome game visual novel announcements recently, and while romance definitely is a central theme to many visual novels, for the month of May, any and all visual novels are game!
If you’re new to the visual novel genre, now’s as good a time as any to start! While visual novels generally forgo traditional gameplay to focus on text-based narration, voiced dialogue, and the occasional decision to change the course of the story, many other genres also incorporate visual novel elements. In the interest of getting as many people involved as possible, any games with significant visual novel portions, such as Danganronpa and Zero Escape, are going to be included in the “visual novel” umbrella.
Since we didn’t get a lot of buzz for last month’s theme (poor Yuji Naka!), I’d like to remind everyone to utilize the hashtag #VNMay on social media. All you need to do is pick a game that fits the theme and talk about your experiences to participate in the Game-Along. Don’t forget to share any lengthier thoughts you may have in blog posts, podcasts, or your favorite medium of choice! If you’re stumped as to what to play, here are a few games to get you started.
Idea Factory International is scheduled to have their first ever press event sometime next month, and I’m crossing everything that can be crossed in hopes that they announce an otome game localization for the PS Vita. It’s been a little over a year since they first commenced operations on September 30th, 2013, and despite a wealth of otome games in the Otomate line at their disposal, they have yet to release, let alone announce, a single title.
But why haven’t they? Comments from publishers in the past have alluded to the immense amount of money and work that goes into localizing the book’s worth of text in the usual otome game, but dialogue-heavy RPGs such as Idea Factory International’s Hyperdimension Neptunia must be a similarly text-heavy affairs. Of course, there’s also the argument that series such as Hyperdimension Neptunia already have an established audience in English, whereas many otome games do not, but Idea Factory International has already had relatively good success with a number of games in their Hakuouki otome game series on various platforms (most recently smartphones).Idea Factory International has already published a number of games from one of its subsidiaries, Compile Heart, so it’s not a stretch to assume that it could just as conceivably work with its otome game subsidiary, Otomate, to bring one or more PS Vita games to an English-speaking audience.
I contacted Idea Factory International regarding the inclusion of certain Japanese games on the site, but was told by Marketing Coordinator David Alonzo that it did not indicate an intent to localize said games. If nothing else, however, it shows that Idea Factory International has some interest in informing English-speaking fans about their otome games, though they haven’t kept their site up to date with every single release.Looking at the game section of Idea Factory International’s website, it’s interesting to note that there are two listings for Japan-only PS Vita otome games, Hakuouki SSL ~sweet school life~ and AMNESIA World, both spinoff titles for their respective series. With new games coming out from Otomate nearly every other month, it’s noteworthy that these are the only two Japan-only PS Vita otome games listed on their site.
It’s also worth mentioning that a new company called Otomate World recently launched a website, Facebook, and Twitter account. So far, it has only been used to promote iOS and Android versions of Hakuouki, which currently only appear to be available in Asian markets (when I attempted to view Hakuouki in iTunes, for example, it asked me to switch to the Vietnamese store). These smartphone versions of Hakuouki do not appear on Idea Factory International’s website.
But is it necessary to appeal to a broad audience for an otome game to be successful in English? While smartphone games are certainly easier to get into people’s hands due to nearly everyone owning a device that can play them, the fact that the Shall We Date?series and others have seen so many installments suggests that there is definitely a market for otome games in English. Unfortunately, most console otome games over the past few years have been released for the PSP, and it’s not a stretch to say putting the effort to localize and release a PSP otome game in English in 2015 would be financial suicide. However, the PS Vita is seeing more and more otome games, particularly from Otomate, and while the install base is but a fraction of the smartphone market, have Hakuouki and Sweet Fuse not proved that there is room for otome games on underdog handhelds?In response to my request for a comment regarding the potential of Idea Factory International localizing an otome game, David replied, “I will say that we’ve heard a lot of requests from people to bring over certain otome titles, and I think it’d be awesome to do so! Hopefully we can do so in the future, but for now we don’t have any news about that.”Notably, the company has a section in its forums for localization requests that features an otome game thread that was created in November 2013 and remains relatively active. Otome game fans seem particularly interested in AMNESIA, which was also one of the top requests in Aksys Games’ forums (which are currently down, so unfortunately I can’t provide a link to that thread). AMNESIA, Diabolik Lovers, and Hakuouki are undoubtedly Otomate’s most popular series in Japan currently, but the fact that Hakuoki is the one to have received an English release suggests that AMNESIA and Diabolik Lovers might not have as wide-reaching appeal (as someone who has played both, I can attest to that).
I was originally going to make this article a list of otome games I would like to see announced at Idea Factory International’s press event, but in all honesty, I don’t care. There are so many Otomate titles to choose from on the PS Vita now, from AMNESIA and Diabolik Lovers to Code: Realize ~Sousei no himegimi~, Binary Star, RE: VICE[D], Kokuchou no Psychedelica, upcoming Shinobi, Koi Utsutsu, and more, that I would be happy to support whatever it thinks will be most successful. But if Idea Factory International announces the rest of its lineup for 2015 and chooses not to include an otome game, I feel it will be making a clear statement that handheld otome games are not an avenue it does not consider worth exploring.I don’t profess to assume anything about the business end of games localization, and don’t want to sound like I am dismissing the risks involved with localizing games with very niche audience. However, we have seen time and time again that western publishers are happy to take risks with titles that will appeal to the hardcore “otaku” crowd, such as Idea Factory International with Monster Monpiece and NIS America with Criminal Girls, both of which required editing out potentially offensive content in order to release in western markets (it’s worth noting that despite getting a European release, Monster Monpiece never made it to Australia).
I really hope, for the diversity of niche Japanese games in English, that my cynicism is proved wrong.
Update:IFI announced that they’ll be localizing AMNESIA under the title Amnesia: Memories!
Note: I don’t intend to discredit the importance of smartphone otome games, but rather assert that there is a wide range of quality games being released on the PS Vita that would be great candidates for potential English releases.
In what might very well be the best Humble Weekly Bundle ever to exist, the charity game bundle is offering not only a plethora of quality games at a pay-what-you-want price, but a Hatoful Boyfriend body pillow, as well.
You can grab the lovely body pillow featuring Ryouta and both pigeon and human form by spending $35 or more on the bundle, which is quite the steal! In Japan, body pillows often go for upwards of $100, and though you’re only getting the pillow case for $35, it should be easy enough to find a suitable pillow.
The body pillow will be made to order by The Yetee, who have a great record of offering quality t-shirts at affordable prices. Unfortunately, while worldwide shipping is included in the $35, the Humble Weekly Bundle page states that it may take 3 to 6 months for orders to ship.
Of course, spending $35 won’t just get you an awesome pigeon body pillow, but a slew of great visual novel and simulation games, as well! You can pay any price you desire to receive Long Live the Queen, Analogue: A Hate Story, and Go! Go! Nippon ~My First Trip to Japan~, or spend more than the average and also get WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.01, Hate Plus, and Roommates – Deluxe Edition. Finally, all that and Hatoful Boyfriend can also be yours for the low price of $8!
Finally, for the low price of nothing, the Humble Weekly Bundle is offering a set of adorable Valentine’s Day cards. You can head over to the official site and enter your email address to download the full set, but I’ve uploaded the best one here for your viewing pleasure!
Of course, I had to go the whole nine yards and get the body pillow, so now I’m swimming in duplicate game codes! As such, I’ve added Long Live the Queen to the Valentine’s Day giveaway I’m currently running – if you haven’t entered yet, please do check it out!