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INTEREST: Japanese Translator Explains Why Otome Games Fail in U.S.


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ninjamitsuki



Joined: 15 Sep 2007
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Location: Anywhere (Thanks, technology)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:56 pm Reply with quote
I've read that Code Realize actually sold twice as many copies in the states than it did in Japan, and this might explain it, since it has a strong heroine (as well as many female supporting characters) with agency in the story.
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Aquamine-Amarine



Joined: 13 Jul 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:03 pm Reply with quote
I wish they would put Touken Ranbu on Steam already. Maybe that'll sell better in the U.S.

Removed off-topic stuff. You're free to raise those concerns but please do so in the ANN feedback section.
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myskaros



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:25 pm Reply with quote
Aquamine-Amarine wrote:
Also, why the hell are you spreading lies about Net Neutrality on the front page? You guys are either misinformed or spreading lies about it on purpose - Net Neutrality is NOT a good thing. They gave it a nice sounding name to trick you into thinking it's good, but in reality it's terrible. It'll only give big corporations more power, and they'll abuse that power by censoring people that they don't agree with. That's already happening on YouTube and on college campuses. It's extremely bias of you people to only share one side of the story and not the other.

Do you... know what net neutrality is? It's the idea that all web traffic is neutral, and service providers are required to provide the same service to all web domains. Without net neutrality, an ISP can, for example, make your connection to Netflix shitty but your connection to Hulu fine in an effort to drive more traffic to Hulu and/or make you pay more money if you want to use Netflix unimpeded.

Real life example: https://twitter.com/kitsunelaine/status/933180718103932930

I like how you don't actually explain yourself, you just say it's "terrible" and "gives corporations more power." Can you specifically cite what net neutrality does that is bad, or exactly what about it gives corporations "more power"?

EDIT: Apologies for being distracted into off-topic D:


Last edited by myskaros on Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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#877224



Joined: 28 Nov 2017
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:35 pm Reply with quote
The game being referred to, "In Your Arms Tonight," is actually one of my favorite Voltage games and it's a shame it never took off... back in 2012 when it was released. The heroine in it has a strong personality, is an older woman, she has friends, which is a rarity in otome, and the stories were more maturely written than most otome during that time. The reasoning behind her marrying was because of pressure from her parents to fit into the status quo. And then the game explores the different ways she finds out more about herself.

I'm not quite sure what the standard is for "fail." From what I've seen, otome games are niche and do well within that niche.

There are also a good amount of otome games, released in English, that do not fit the mold presented in this article.

I would love to see actual sales numbers and something worth comparing it to because if otome is actually failing, then we wouldn't be seeing any growth like we have in the past few years.
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0nsen



Joined: 01 Nov 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:36 pm Reply with quote
It's not exactly a genre I like, but how about trying to just translate instead of localize, hm? Everything goes to shit once companies localize instead of translate. Just look at the garbage 4Kids brought upon the world.

This is a niche market. It's a niche market in Japan and it's a niche market everywhere else. How about not trying to destroy the very appeal it has to the niche?

That's kind of how fansub did it, creating this entire market in the first place.
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Ryujin99



Joined: 21 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:45 pm Reply with quote
This is certainly an interesting look at the issues facing Otome games in the US. Unfortunately, it seems like a difficult issue to address since it comes down to regional differences in the cultural values and preferences of the target audience.

Admittedly, as a person in the US, I'm inclined to agree with those of the mind that a protagonist in a bad relationship should simply leave. That said, I'm hesitant to simply project my own views on the issue as unequivocally correct, because even in the US it's far from uncommon for people to knowingly stick with bad relationships. So there's clearly some amount of societal cognitive dissonance on that front.

Does this mean anything for Otome games? Not particularly, but it does make me wonder if, perhaps, there could be a market in the US that they simply haven't figured out how to tap into it just yet. Certainly, it seems to have taken quite some time for male-oriented VNs to gain much traction here, so maybe Otome games are in a similar position.

Aquamine-Amarine wrote:
I wish they would put Touken Ranbu on Steam already. Maybe that'll sell better in the U.S.

Also, why the hell are you spreading lies about Net Neutrality on the front page? You guys are either misinformed or spreading lies about it on purpose - Net Neutrality is NOT a good thing. They gave it a nice sounding name to trick you into thinking it's good, but in reality it's terrible. It'll only give big corporations more power, and they'll abuse that power by censoring people that they don't agree with. That's already happening on YouTube and on college campuses. It's extremely bias of you people to only share one side of the story and not the other.

I implore people to do their own research on this topic, because ANN (and everyone else on the internet) is lying about it.


Regardless of opinions on Net Neutrality, could you please not try to derail the thread with off-topic comments?

Edit: to be clear, I'm a strong supporter of Net Neutrality, but I was trying to avoid getting too far into that since it's off-topic.


Last edited by Ryujin99 on Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rogural



Joined: 28 Nov 2017
Posts: 24
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:05 pm Reply with quote
Seems a little odd, I was under the impression that Otome games were doing rather decently with the way Aksys were pumping them out on vita.

Then again, they do seem to be plagued with translation issues (Alice in the heart, Norn9) but that seems to be another issue entirely.
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malvarez1



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:06 pm Reply with quote
OK, this is actually the best explanation I've read for this. I totally agree, BTW; almost every Otome I've seen had a heroine so spineless that I was immediately tempted to quit. I also hate the stereotypical "jerk" heroes. Who would fall in love with them?
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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:06 pm Reply with quote
Ryujin99 wrote:


Regardless of opinions on Net Neutrality, could you please not try to derail the thread with off-topic comments?


Those are not even opinons. What Aquamine stated is factually incorrect. He/she pretty much has the entire thing backwards, as myskaros pointed out. Here's another link of the awful things Net Neutrality currently protects us against: https://www.reddit.com/r/OutOfTheLoop/comments/7elxew/whats_going_on_with_net_neutrality_ask_all_your/dq61ar0/

Back on topic....

Quote:
Gene said that "it's necessary to completely change the heroines" of otome games because American players do not like the usually weak and dependent characters.


This puts me in a conundrum. I'll preface this by stating I don't play otome games, but for localization is general, I 100% absolutely HATE when games are changed from how the original creator intended them. But at the same time, I can understand the argument that Western audiences don't like "weak" characters. In the end, I'd much rather have original character as the author intended. I view it as insulting when someone alters any piece of art. I kind of agree with 0nsen in that sense. Leave it alone - sell it to the people that know they want this stuff.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1975
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:16 pm Reply with quote
I feel like there's an interesting discussion to be had here of the "everyman" vs the "everywoman" of Otome games. Generally it seems like Japan has cracked the milquetoast everyman formula of "nice, friendly, a touch perverted, and maybe has one or two hobbies" kind of guy; we've seen this kind of main character flood the harem scene.

But I don't really get that impression from Otome games or their adaptations. It feels like the games/adaptations typically go for a "Girl Next Door" archetype, but I never get the sense that the audience-insert female MC is quite equivalent to her male counterpart when it comes to the ease of blank slate insertion.

I'd be really curious to know who typically writes the plots/scenarios for these games, as well as gender breakdowns between them, because my overall impression is that the female MCs tend to emulate the "Nice Girl" option of a standard harem, rather than the more successful Bella Swan of the Twilight series--which, for all its many and deep flaws, taps into the blank slate female MC like nothing else (and pretty closely mirrors the doormat-esque personalities bemoaned in the article).
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myskaros



Joined: 13 Jun 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:25 pm Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
Quote:
Gene said that "it's necessary to completely change the heroines" of otome games because American players do not like the usually weak and dependent characters.


This puts me in a conundrum. I'll preface this by stating I don't play otome games, but for localization is general, I 100% absolutely HATE when games are changed from how the original creator intended them. But at the same time, I can understand the argument that Western audiences don't like "weak" characters. In the end, I'd much rather have original character as the author intended. I view it as insulting when someone alters any piece of art. I kind of agree with 0nsen in that sense. Leave it alone - sell it to the people that know they want this stuff.

I interpreted that statement as "new games being created would have to have their entire dynamics changed to appeal to Western audiences," not "existing games would need to have their characters rewritten in localization to appeal to Western audiences."
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nogara119



Joined: 25 Oct 2017
Posts: 24
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:45 pm Reply with quote
Aquamine-Amarine wrote:
I wish they would put Touken Ranbu on Steam already. Maybe that'll sell better in the U.S.

Also, why the hell are you spreading lies about Net Neutrality on the front page? You guys are either misinformed or spreading lies about it on purpose - Net Neutrality is NOT a good thing. They gave it a nice sounding name to trick you into thinking it's good, but in reality it's terrible. It'll only give big corporations more power, and they'll abuse that power by censoring people that they don't agree with. That's already happening on YouTube and on college campuses. It's extremely bias of you people to only share one side of the story and not the other.

I implore people to do their own research on this topic, because ANN (and everyone else on the internet) is lying about it.


As someone who plays Touken Ranbu, I'd like to see an English translation too.

As for your NN comments; basically you might not be able to access this site unless your wifi provider doesn't care. You might not be able to access any anime at all.


Re: Otome: I always thought it did well in the States as well...
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GNX903VSBrave



Joined: 20 Feb 2017
Posts: 25
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:53 pm Reply with quote
I guess she would know more than me, but I think it has less to do with the characters within the games and more to do with the medium. After all, weak self-insert protagonists didn't seem to hurt 50 Shades of Grey or Twilight which seem to be targeting the same audience.

I think it's just a case of a stereotype around dating sims/VNs that people who play them are sad, lonely individuals who use it as a substitute for real relationships. Otome games are very much still a "nerd" thing because of its a part of anime culture.
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FenixFiesta



Joined: 22 Apr 2013
Posts: 2581
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I feel like there's an interesting discussion to be had here of the "everyman" vs the "everywoman" of Otome games. Generally it seems like Japan has cracked the milquetoast everyman formula of "nice, friendly, a touch perverted, and maybe has one or two hobbies" kind of guy; we've seen this kind of main character flood the harem scene.

I am holding a similar sentiment, the formula of "blank slate male lead" has more than had its share cut down to almost a science.

As for the Otome games leads I think it is actually "fine" to have the Bella Swan-esque "whisked away in the situation" type of lead, the issue comes with the Male love interests for the Otome lead, the accepted western version of cold and brooding is different from the usual take on the Japanese Otome game version, literally there are cases where you can have a Male interest be controlling and abusive to the female lead and while it may somehow make its mark in Japan it is simply dropped hard by Western audiences.

Undoubtedly in the relative near future Otome games that want to make a Western market sale via Steam or Console download will have to understand trends so that they too can make money back on such efforts, but as with all media it will be a long case of trial and error and one day we will be hit hard with a suddenly hugely successful Otome project in an almost unlimited media entry.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1975
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:02 pm Reply with quote
I have also noticed in more recent years that Western indie otome projects have been cropping up more frequently on Steam, and I sort of wonder if those games are filling the void made-in-Japan otome games are meant to fill, but without the added cultural issues. As a personal aside, my issue was never really the protagonists, but rather the very "jerky" love interests; I know it's a personal taste issue, but I just could not get past how prevalent that type was. :/

EDIT: Well, that got ninja'd. Anime hyper
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