A Failed Fetch

While I haven’t followed what’s been happening with Pokémon for numerous years, I can’t really escape some of its news and whatever general stuff is happening due to friend circle having loads of friends who still spend about as much time gushing over the franchise as they did back in 1998. Guess how how many of them still live with their parents. However, I often check out what the new designs are like, because designs sensibilities with Pokémon has changed to the point of being constantly compared how they look like Digimon. There are some Digimon design articles on this blog by a visiting author, so check them out. This post is really how whomever designed and approved Farfecth’d long awaited evolution, Sirfetch’d, and how the design fails.

The original idea of the original Farfecth’d, as it stands now in the games, was largely a simple joke about the Japanese saying how something extremely convenient to the point derogation happens, hence the whole duck carrying its own leek theme. While the plant it carries is clearly a green onion, the games themselves simply called it a stalk or an unknown plant. In original design, Farfetch’d carried the leek in its mouth and was said to do so.

Majority of the time in games you can see this, though as early as Japanese Red you can see it leaning the stick against its wing. It wasn’t until around Dimaond/Pearl when it changed completely to holding the stick in its wing, which now effectively functions as a hand, which is also a breaking point in terms of design aesthetics when it comes Pokémon in general. However, Farfetch’d embodies the basic and the best approach in Pokémon design; animals with something interesting to them. In this case we have a duck with a leek as a sword-like weapon, and it can’t really live without its stick. Good for food, especially when it conveniently comes with its own onions. Just add a dash of salt and pepper and you’re done. Sadly, Game Freaks and Pokémon Company don’t actually utilise any sort of base guidelines and ideas when designing their new pocket monsters. This leads to stupid shit like Dhelmise or Stakataka, not to mention Trubbish or whatever that rubbish Pokémon’s name was, and let’s not forget Klingklang and Vanillite lines, which are metal gears and ice cream respectively. While some would argue that the first generation had its own designs in the same vain, but that doesn’t excuse literal trash bags and living cogs. A mysterious sphere could at least have some considerations behind it. But I digress.

Oh for fuck’s sake…

Isn’t Sirfetch’d more of the same then? I hear Liam asking. No, it isn’t. Much like how modern designs want to push these monsters into direction of adding more shit for the sake of adding more shit, and having them act nothing like animals they originally were supposed to represent, Sirfetch’d seems to be fundamentally flawed despite the outer appearance. Farfetch’d was always a fighter, so naturally it should become a knight in this region based on United Kingdom, with jousting lance and a shield replacing its sword. This evolution is achieved via numerous fights and victories, making Farfetch’d change its typing from its usual Normal/Flying to pure Fighting. What a load of bullshit.

The thing that rubs yours truly here is that this isn’t thematically fitting. Nothing with Farfetch’d has been about fighting per se, but I guess that one Pokédex entry saying the species fights over good sticks was the source for this. Does that justify this design? No, as what we’re getting with this almost the opposite. Farfetch’d was a rarity due to people eating it, a fleeting Pokémon that will defend its stick. Defending does not mean it’ll stick to a fight to the bloody end, that serves no purpose. Farfetch’d evolution should’ve been more akin to a ragged warrior, like a ronin, rather than a white knight. These two clash against each other, but I guess it was more important to get a white knight in. What a missed chance to make an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan take, or a samurai crane.

It doesn’t help that the simple black V-crest on Farfetch’d’s forehead has now become its eyebrows, which of course can now be used to make joke macros and such, especially Golgo-13 kind. So does its weapon, and I’m glad to see someone going all out on the whole design.

If Sirfetch’d was a new design related to Farfetch’d rather than its evolution, it’d serve the purpose just fine. Make it a regional variant or some sort of alternative form tied to the region or an item it carries. Making Sirfetch’d an evolution means Farfetch’d, a duck that’s designed around a Japanese pun and has been seen to be tied to this in various media, now evolves into an English white knight. I just hope the shiny version will be a black knight and not the golden one I’ve seen floating around.

Then you have the point that most Pokémon don’t look like animals anymore, not even cartoon animals. Sirfecth’d might be a thematically missed opportunity, but it also clashes with its pre-evolution stage’s design by being from the new Ducktales.

Really, Sirfetch’d looks like a cheap Chinese knock-off of a Disney character with its buff chest, smirking face and off white colour. It’s become a cartoon caricature of a duck knight rather than a Pokémon. Gone are the days when wings were wings, now they function as hands just as much Dewey’s do in the cover above. There is a distinct lack of animal in this duck. You can put this on how the style has been changing from game to game as time as gone by, yet this is a hard backlash from old to new. Sirfecth’d is a good example how incoherent design philosophies and lack of proper guidelines can result into clashing motifs between two directly related objects. Imagine designing a chair, but because it has to be different, you end up designing a chair that’s horrible to sit in. Sirfetch’d is far from the most worst examples in this, but it is very timely example. The argument that the new designer shouldn’t fixate themselves to the past can be made and is sound, but at the same time the results will be more and more Digimon like Pokémon, where both rhyme and reason has been abandoned, and there is no division or sense in the designs themselves. The brand as a whole has lost most, if not already all of its visual coherence and design aspects at this point, while its competing monster collecting franchises have still managed hold them together in more proper manner.

 

Different take on customers; The Outrage must subdue

Every hundred posts we take a different stance on customers and industry. Except something different from the usual.

Call it Cancel Culture, Outrage crowd or whatever you want, what gives the everyday street walker, an anonymous in a crowd, any right to call someone’s work to be cut, his job to be terminated, his daily tasks ended, simply because you don’t like what he thinks? Actions to remove someone from a their work or aiming to cut their method livelihood shows that there is no more room for discussion from whomever wishes to ‘cancel’ a person, they’ve lost whatever debate or matter there might’ve been at hand. At what point do you as a consumer, a customer or as a random person consider for a moment that going after someone over words or whatever he thinks, realise that you’ve become a monster? Men call others monsters, but never realise they’ve become such instead. This isn’t the abyss looking back or the like. This is just people turning bad in zealous drives. Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

I hated writing that, but the outrage isn’t just like this. It seems to seep into the layers of global culture and stain it. Even steel will soak oils and grease into its being, and when worked on, it will be porous. No weld will have proper penetration. Only thing you can really do is heat it up and burn all the staining oils for a purer metal. Culture  is like an ever-shaping metal with new bits and bops added in, tempered again and again, heated to remove unwanted elements only to be added in again as we find something lacking. The ones doing the tempering and smithing are the people. Just as people who don’t know how to mix the ingredients in proper ratios will ruin the metal, so are there people who don’t realise how much they’re degrading the works around them.

Imagine having a small, vocal minority bemoaning something because of their believes or find offensive to someone, it doesn’t need to be them, and manage to either censor someone or get items from the stores’ shelves. I’m rather certain most of you can pick up some event that fits the description, for better or worse. All I can say to this is Stop it. We have come to a point in societies that people have become blind to issues at hand, and some have become fanatical about them. Climate change, while an issue for certain, has become such a matter to some that it depresses them. While not exactly a laughing matter, it shows how every day life has become boring and without challenges. Then again, what do you expect when people want governments to ruin themselves and their economies with Basic income? That there are people who’d devalue money and work itself by getting free living in exchange by simply existing within a nation. What’s Basic income? In short, a mode where the government gives some sum of money for people to live on for nothing. Finland tested this, and it failed. It was supposed to promote the people to find work that’d pay better and make their lives better during that time, but turned out it didn’t. 600€ is not a lot of money. For basically nothing, it is. That’s about the same sum students get for studying. There are of course other issues. The 30% tax hike for everyone would be rather massive, and devaluing money and work on the side would be rather hard effect on economy as a whole.

You can’t be serious, with technological advancements old work will be replaced with automation. With those advancements there will be new venues of work. Journalists used to laugh at coal miners and told them to learn to code, mining was a thing of the past. Now these same journalists have been kicked out  either because the Internet has made their physical paper obsolete or because their news sites spouted one-sided opinion pieces with no basis. Their time to learn to code. With each machine that replaces a miner, there is a need for a worker to supervise the machine, someone to maintain the machine, someone to paint the machine, someone to build the machine, someone to design the machine, someone test that machine, someone to teach how to use the machine and so on. There will always be new venues of work, but respect for the old ones should not be lost. Instead they should be celebrated and held high, especially those that require lifelong dedication to properly learn. Sadly, not even craftsmen or painters get the respect for their work they deserve. We have to take responsibility on our actions, and in case of people who’d rather sit on their asses home doing jack shit nothing, inaction.

I’ve previously discussed how every field of work should be respected on their own rights, especially unseen work that most of our daily lives are build on. Almost literally when it concerns builders and people who create the materials we rely our daily lives on. Those windows that keep the elements out didn’t just come from nothing, someone had to make them. You don’t really think about it or ever crossed your mind. The latest thing someone said on the Internet made you mad.

All this are flakes throw into the metal of culture and it is making it weaker and brittle. Catering to small groups to score social points has run books, shows, movies and games down to the toilet. To use Star Wars as an example, the original movie was about Vietnam War, but most people never noticed it. It is because the movie was its own work first and foremost, and whatever its message was laid underneath the front layer. This is pretty much opposite to Disney Star Wars that put the message first and is very clear about it, especially when then staff when on and put shirt saying The Force is Female, which is just utter goddamn bullshit. Why this? Because their clique, because there are numerous people who put the messages and what they say over the product itself. The Good Word has to be preached, it must be made known, at the price of the products itself, in this case Star Wars as a franchise, and at the expense of the customers’ wallet.

Disney has no faith in their product at this point. Rumors are saying Disney and JJ have been leaking different drafts of the movie and its endings to estimate which cut and ending would be the best. We’ve come to a point where the movies just has to be successful enough no matter what. Isn’t this what you want though? Far from it. Disney Star Wars has no heart or soul. Its dead, Jim. Congratulation outrage crowd, your politics killed one of the major franchises out there. The Hollywood clique lives in a bubble, and that bubble only listens to small crowd. Disney and JJ are only now getting how badly they screwed Star Wars up, with each new movie making less and less money, with Solo movie faring the worst thus far. Star Wars movies used to be driven by Lucas, and all story ideas in the Expanded Universe more or less needed his approval. Not so with Disney, where nobody has any idea what’s happening and when. They have free range. While this might work with some franchises, Star Wars ultimately was the soul child of George Lucas, and really everything that has come after Disney’s purchase should be treated as bad fanfiction. Even if the rumours of Lucas being part of the newest movie’s production were true, it really is just a PR stunt. The franchise is dead in the water, kids aren’t interested in it when its direct competitor, the Marvel movies, has taken its place. For better or worse.

This isn’t just Star Wars though. It seems like we’ve abandoned creating anything new. All the old shit sells the most and no creator seems to be pushing for something new in of itself. Easy outrage, easy products, convenience over all. Nobody is wanting to push the envelope, but then again, why even try when Marvel movies get shit done by recycling decade old ideas? We could vote with our wallets and go our ways to encourage new things over everything old, but we are people of habit. Which is also why you see politics being pushed into these long-standing franchises. We’ve come to a point where political ideologies and approaches have to be installed into every franchise and media about to ensure correct way of thinking and censoring what is not appropriate. People can’t leave others to their own devices and enjoy their thing. No, they have to enjoy the right thing.

We all need to calm down and begin to behave ourselves. Doing things by the book, if nothing else. Civil discourse seems to have become a lost art, and the more we move away from harmless words to harmful actions, we’re going to make the steel of society brittler with each hammer blow. I dare say we were making nice headway to open society that could accept things not preferred, but instead we’ve taken U-turn to fucking it all up.

If a media hurts your feelings, don’t consume it

Recently a Twitter user under the handle insatiablejudge got mad at earrings. Of course it’s a user on Twitter, and I’ll refer her as “the user” for the sake of my own sanity. What it is time? A motif on a character’s earrings supposedly uses Japanese Rising Sun motif, which then the user associates this with Nazis, imperialism and cultural genocide. Naturally she promotes censorship to remove the motif, which isn’t there. We can’t see the original post, because of course she has put her account into protected mode after people called her out on the bullshit she was spouting, but we can always use an archived version. Let’s take a closer look what image she was using to promote her push.

I could be petty about forgetting to use capitalised letters, but why do that when I could be petty about more important things. For example. the Rising Sun flag is still being flown by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force and hasn’t been retired from usage in total. The Japan SDF and Japan Ground Defence-Force use a different design with gold trims around the edges, so that’s one miss. Furthermore, it’s not the same design as the flag itself. The character’s earrings stem from Hanafuda cards’ design. There are no red sun rays from the red core. We can take a closer look at the design in comparison to the flag.

While an honest mistake could be made that the earrings represent the national flag, the design is very much different. As mentioned, it is based on the Hanfuda card design, which is why a set is being used the featured image. It is not a direct take on any of the cards per se, but rather using the visual themes and motifs. This much is confirmed by the series itself to boot. This would make the earrings themselves harmless, but of course if you don’t know the origin, or even properly see what’s drawn there, you might make some honest mistakes.

Whether or not the flag itself is controversial in South and East Asia (I think she mistyped and there), that should have nothing to do with the earrings themselves. The fact that nationalists use Japanese flag doesn’t really impact any arguments, as nationalism in itself is rather healthy in proper doses. It becomes a problem only at its extremes, whichever political ideology is using it. We shouldn’t abandon symbols simply because some unwanted or disliked group might be using a common symbol. For example, we should take the swastika back from its German National Socialist Party’s use and embrace its much older, far more positive and culturally significant meaning instead of leaving it to one sec only. We should also make strides to recognise how a Nazi swastika is a unique piece, standing on a tip at a 45-degree angle and “spinning” to the left, while .e.g. the Manji flat on its side, like this 卍.

An example of swastika used on a Viinikka’s church from 1930 before the German use even came to be.

I should probably mention that while some people might find themselves considering the Japanese flag, any version of it, associated with the World War II atrocities, the Japanese don’t. They associate the Imperial Rule Assistance Association’s symbol with the Nazi regime, as the para-fascist organisation formed in 1940, which aimed to create a totalitarian regime during wartime Japan. Even this is slightly skewed, as the organisation took some ideals and cues after the Nazis, but full-blown Nazism was not embraced or even desirable. It would seem the organisation has been somewhat dug into the ground, as many foreigners seem to either forget it existed, or didn’t know such organisation was a thing in the first place. There’s a whole history behind these guys, and a small post like this isn’t enough or even the place to dwell deeper into the Japanese wartime history in itself. That said, they got a really neatly designed symbol. What’s with these parties and appealing design sensibilities? Hugo boss still makes damn nice clothes too.

Of course, the user represented everyone in equal measure, which netted her loads and loads of South and East Asians coming in and stating that they don’t really give a damn. Y’know, the whole issue of someone stepping in and representing large sections of people without their consent. People like this should really ask consent before doing so, just like you have to have consent before sex.

All that said, the user seems to think that people who would get offended by the more classical Rising Sun flag wouldn’t get offended by the current one. These things run deep with certain people and associate any of a nation’s symbols with the worst. Some simply hate and abhor the sheer thought of Japan or Russia, despite the current state heads and most of the people within the nation having nothing to do with wartime events. Mulling over the past can only do so much good, sometimes the hatred for a nation can be driven by other kind of national pride or simple sheer unrelenting hatred.  Reasons are many and the politics are somewhat complicated, but at some point word just has to move on.

The chances the user suggest made to the earrings would remove the essence of the original design, contrary what she claims. The design consists of three elements; red circle, petal-like extrusions and ‘ground.” Removing any of these three would significantly alter the design’s essence. However, it would still leave the most offending part that most people associate with Japanese flag and its the red circle. The essence of the design would have been kept it the circle had been changed into burning orange or white, but of course it’s the petals that had to go, replaced by nonsensical lines. The red circle probably is the Sun, yet it is not the Rising Sun that it is assumed to be. Instead, it represents the character’s role as a successor to his father’s profession as a Hinokami Kagura, which would be loosely something long the lines of ‘Dancer for the Fire God.’ Then again, some Japanese posters claim it to be a flower, so take that as you will.

Claiming that pushing censorship isn’t controversial is outright bullshit. Whether or not it is easier to draw has nothing to do with her arguments. Whenever someone is pushing for censorship, especially when it comes to general arts, it is automatically controversial. Trying to kill a design, a drawing, a painting a message or whatever because it might be uncomfortable or injure someone’s sensibilities shows that lack of trust in people and how the consumer is treated like an idiot or an animal who can’t make heads or tails about the media he is consuming. Should we take into account people whose families got damaged somehow during World War II and change things for them? Absolutely not. Consumers should be aware what they consume. If you are consuming product created in Japan mainly for the Japanese market with clear Japanese motifs from the get go, you should damn well expect seeing Japanese imagery. Everything offends someone somehow. Hell, I’m offended by the user’s use of that particular grey with that red, green and white. Good job failing at Design 101; don’t fuck with viewer’s eyes if you’re intending to be informative; everything should be clear and easy to see, not feeling like you’re being stabbed in the eyes. If you can’t deal with something that you are not forced consume, you can either deal with it anyway, or consume something else. There is no reason for the creator or anyone else part of the creative process to capitulate and change their intended design and ideas to appease anyone else but themselves, or the targeted consumers.

Staying true to your work should always supersede giving in to censorship. Your main consumers are there for your work in its best, most pure form, not to see its altered, bastardised version no matter how small the changes might be.

Genre of “Healing”

Iyashi, 癒やし, stands for healing. It is a rather non-standard game genre that some Japanese small-time developers have been bringing up to the surface at Comiket and sites like DLSite. There isn’t any official description for it, which is why so many lump it with Visual Novels due to its connections with the media format, but in reality it’d be more accurate to describe Healing games as Dating sims. Most might remember how Dating sim wasa  term attached to many, if not all visual novels in the 1990’s because the gameplay and aim was to date when the play mechanics were broken down. Nowadays this doesn’t apply, so many VNs are static novels or route selections over managing stats and events. A VN fan might object to this, but VNs lack interactivity a Healing title must have.

To break down the overall play elements and setting, there are few rules that can be observed in these titles. First one is that even that the player is always inserted as the playing character. Characters, events and everything are directed to him, he is never second tier character or otherwise put in the background. The only time things stop, so to speak, is when the player simple wants to take in the atmosphere.

That would be the second; the atmosphere should be relaxing, non-confrontational and serve to ease out stress both with characters, events and design. Colours, music, characters, even shapes, should somehow reflect the idea of comfort and relaxation to some degrees. You could even say that all this should help for the player to escape harsh reality for the time being, which is part of the whole Healing thing. Nothing is pressing you on in these games, you do your pace and relax. There’s no need to be a control god or execution master. Slow pace, a slow burn, is inherent in the genre as one of is main pillars of design. While fast-paced action games can offer a rush and the high feeling you get after a successful play session and puzzle games can give you a large satisfaction after solving numerous hard puzzles that made your head hurt, Healing games really are about taking a break from the hectic everyday life.

Third element would be some level of simulation, which varies from simple route selections like with VNs, but at their most robust includes deciding character clothing, planning events, managing stats or Action Points via dedicated selections and most importantly, simulation of relationship. This relationship can be either with just someone close, but more often the idea dating and being with lover are used in order to convey the whole feeling of companionship and that someone is there with you. This where the whole aspect of sex comes in, and the reason most of Healing genre is R-18. Not that this should be any surprise, sex in itself is an important part of a romantic and intimate relationship, and simulating it somehow is part of Healing. After all, getting your rocks off is one way to relax.

 

1room Runaway Girl is an example of a relatively high-budget doujin game with full voice acting. The options on the right shows what you can enact, and all of them open sub.options to take. Currently grayed out, because I went through this day already, with only few options left. The title is a full, official English translation you can pick up from e.g. DLSite.

Fourth is sometimes used, sometimes isn’t, but never-ending play has become more common with time, and this element is why the genre has crept itself into my interest (regarding the blog.) While some titles simply present VN-like direct path from start to end with some deviation, the more popular Healing games that are on the surface, including the Kickstarter I’ve mentioned constantly to the point of detriment, have no end. This means that the game usually has a day-night cycle and the player has to manage points to engage with certain actions that trigger certain events. Depending on the title, only certain amount of actions can be taken and the player has to decide which actions they go for. Some might advance the relationship, some might increase stats, some might open new options later down the line and sometimes you have to forgo doing any action to save action points for later cycle.

 

Daily options the player has with Konko. There is four Action Points left, which means you can do only so many actions. Chatting costs one point, giving a headpat costs a point, having tea costs two and watching a period drama takes whopping three. Later on more options, meaning you’ll be pressed to choose more carefully as things progress to manage events and such. The player is in no hurry with Konko; the game is endless and there is shitloads of events and items to see and collect.

An intentionally endless game has to have large amount of unique content. Most of it also has to be behind some sort of barrier, where the player must make correct choices on the long run, and trial error doesn’t really end up in the game ending, just having that cycle end. This also makes the games somewhat repetitious, but unlike with most other games, or VNs, the intention of Healing games is not mass consumption in one go. Instead, the player should simmer in the atmosphere, take in the relaxing feeling and play these games little by little without any hurrying. This isn’t to cover game’s short length or the like, but is part of the whole healing thing that the genre is all about. Certainly, there might be a storyline that continues onward slowly but surely, like with 1room Runway Girl, or it might be largely static like with Konko. While 1room encourages player to slowly move and make the in-game life better slowly but surely, Konko on the other hand offers truckloads of unlockable content in form of clothing, accessories and event variations. While both of these titles aim for rather lengthy experience, especially if you only play a cycle or two per day, or do a cycle once per day, the other option would of course aim for a short burst of play.

 

NEVER EVER

Seismic’s Wolf Girl With You offers only three scenarios each cycle that have some slight variations to them, meaning that you’ll probably see them all in an hour if you just blow through them. However, this is a case of quality over quantity, as the game is fully voiced with all actions animated. The title took long-ass time to be developed, and promptly shot to #1 spot in DLSite sales and stayed there for a good damn time. Its delays and constant jokes of never happening made it popular among image board users, and is a rare case of game not failing expectations.

Seismic’s intention with this title, with all of his titles, is to convey the feeling of being together with someone, a homely feel with a girlfriend. While others succeed in this better than others, this is his intention, which probably explains why most of his titles are well received, though he has fully admitted that he wants to create original work next without resorting to existing characters. All these he has stated on his Youtube channel, where he sometimes streams his fish tanks or Street Fighter, of which he has few.

Perhaps that sort of approach is common with most of Healing games. It certainly reflects some of modern society, where there is a split between the sexes and certain interests and positions are simply scoffed at or outright disliked. While some would argue that Healing games are nothing but pathetic escapism for people who can’t get a real girlfriend, the issues why these titles exist much deeper than that. Then you have the issue of sexual depiction, to which some will have strong opinions on. If things continue as they are now in the global society at large, or worsen, it would not be impossible for Healing as a genre to find new venues and ways to push the genre forwards as the emotional gap between sexes become larger. That is where the interest regarding this blog lies; How do you design and develop a game with no end and yet have enough content for long-term play? Do you have that plot that runs alongside with each proper decision per cycle, do you insert lots and lots of collectables that require certain actions under hard limits, or do you simply ignore that and embrace repetition with quality?

Considering how limited budget most of these doujinshi (homebrew, indie, pick your poison) titles often have, things like full voice acting must make a large dent on resources. Then you have production of unique assets, most of which you probably can’t recycle all that easily outside recolors. Static images are always an easy way, though the more detail and time is put into them, the less images there will be, which might also mean planned content might be cut. While DLC and other forms of additional content are possible and even enacted (Konko for example added new pieces of clothing and content via updates) the base idea of leading the player along would go against the genre’s own intention and approach.

Setting itself of course would need to be carefully considered. Some would like a full blown fantasy setting, while others might want to the complete opposite with mundane life. Everyday home life or reliving best years seems to be the most popular setting, but considering school years before work seem to be the ideal time for Japanese, it’s not exactly hard to see why most things set in that period of life. Perhaps you could separate from this setting and have the player character set in adult life with an adult counterpart character. Maybe even have an option to choose when starting the game, but as mentioned, the more work there is, the more resources it takes.

While making a Healing game is relatively simple in terms of aim and concept, God lives in the details. With pretty much everything having to have some weight and be of worth, there’s not much free space to move around if something doesn’t work or just fails. It has to be fixed, it just can’t be one of the weaker parts of the game. Sure, there will always be something that doesn’t measure up to the rest, but with games with this relatively low amount of total content all that just has to matter and have the designed impact. An Action game can afford to have a stage with low quality design here and there, it’s passed through quick, and a RPG can have some bad sections that drag for a bit. A Healing game, not so much. It’s the slow burn nature that has to be dealt with some proper quality.

Looking back at the genre’s history, it has spun off from games like Princess Maker and other life/relationship simulations that were also counted as part of the whole Dating simulator label. However, Healing has been part of Japanese audio drama scene for much longer, again mostly produced by independent groups. Even Konko has two audio dramas that’s mostly about everyday healing, with some few more intimate scenes to boot.

Y’know, sometimes I wonder how in the hell I’ve ended up taking a liking on so many weird shit nobody gives a damn about

Audio dramas are still damn popular in Japan. Most popular, even less popular franchises, get an audio drama or two. Healing is easier to do in audio format. In principle it just needs someone to talk nice things into the listener’s ears, but that’s of course simplifying things to a fault. Some are as long as three hours from what I’ve seen, and that must take serious writing, pre-planning and multiple recording sessions. Props to these people who are working on things they love.

What’s the point really? I hear Jacksie asking. Some relax with beer, others at the gym. Some play hard games until their eyes bleed and others simple want something comfortable. It doesn’t, and sometimes shouldn’t, be real but something they can take individual, personal solace in. Introverts tend to be able to charge when they’re alone, but even then human is a pack animal. Offering some form of virtual interaction might just scratch that itch other people can’t. A good possibility to consider how expansive a game for that purpose could be.

Collections, collections, collections

So there’s a new Mega Man collection coming out, this time adding the Mega Man ZX games into the Mega Man Zero collection. I’m not sure how many remember, but the Zero games got a collection on the Nintendo DS, for better or worse, and they contained a mode that made the game easier across the board in order for the player to have an easier time so he’d see the story from start to finish. The original games were more or less intact, except with the connectivity thing with later Mega Man Battle Network games. Throw ZX games and you have a set of games people have been asking for some time.

What’s to write about this? Capcom has been collecting Mega Man games into bundles for a solid decade now, excluding the few earlier Anniversary collections that we got for PS2, GameCube and Xbawks. No, scrap that, let’s count them in. Ever since those collections, Capcom has been releasing old Mega Man games collected in each generation, except the Battle Network and Legends series. Legends is stuck with copyright hell thanks to Capcom using licensed drinks and labels in it, and due to Sony’s asinine Classics line rule, they can’t just remove these from the games and release as-in; they need to be as they were when they were first released on the PlayStation. Sure, we got the DASH games for the PSP, but only in Japan, hence the use of DASH instead of Legends. Without the two extra shoulder buttons, there’s some wonky controls about. We’ve never seen DASH since in a compilation, just as digital downloads, and Battle Network hasn’t been around at all. Maybe that series is stuck with license hell as well, considering the TV show and shitloads of other stuff regarding it were tightly wound together those (glorious) years. A compilation of sorts with online play would surely make many fans happy enough to blow their loads.

I bet your ass there are people who want that Zero bust just to hotglue it

Capcom Test is a term used when people assume Capcom is throwing something cheap out to test waters. While this has some credibility, the fact is that Mega Man doesn’t need its waters tested. They already know that there is demand, at least towards collections. Mega Man 11 showed that a game with relatively low budget compared to their hard, big hitters can and will make its money back as longs as it is competently made. Capcom hasn’t come out with any news whether or not they’re even considering developing Mega Man X9 despite teasing it in that one remix soundtrack CD (that was a letdown.) While some would argue that Evil May Cry 4‘s re-release was to test waters, we know from the director that he had made an ultimatum; he was given DMC5 or he’d walk out. At that point there were no waters to test, but perhaps what Capcom was testing was if there was enough demand for a higher budget. Game itself would’ve been made anyway. RE:make2  on the other hand needed to testing, after all Resident Evil is pretty much second only to Monster Hunter and even that is debatable after World, which in itself was carefully testing waters by dropping numeric from the title and opted for a subtitle instead, just in case if the game would crash and burn, meaning they could do a “real” Monster Hunter 5.

Let’s pose the question; if Capcom Test is a real thing, what are they testing with Mega Man Zero/ ZX Collection? The first answer might be that they testing whether or not there is enough demand for a new ZX game, as some would argue that the story needs to be concluded somehow in order to tie it properly to Legends. That really doesn’t hold much water, as Legends itself was left unfinished, and Capcom never greenlit Legends 3 despite all the public shit that was going on about it a decade ago. Theoretical ZX3 or whatever bullshit they add to the end (ZXA is ZX2 by all means) and would let the developers almost complete free reign to take the whole non-linear format to new directions. After all, these Montezuma’s Revenge-clones are still very popular. This collection won’t test how much demand there is for the Zero series, I doubt any of the fans would like to see Zero revived again for a fifth entry.

No, if they’re testing anything it is how much fans are willing to dish out, testing out how much pain carrying that loaded wallet causes. For this particular release Capcom Japan online store is going all out and releasing the previous Collections again in a box that has a separate space for Z/ZX collection. Y’know, get all the games (except Legends, spin-offs and Battle Network) in one major box.

Classics Collection, those X Collections, MM11 and free slot for Z/ZX. PS4 has its own as well, but Japan only, as usual with these

Capcom hasn’t really overstayed its welcome with these constant Collections yet, but they’re at the utmost limit now. If they were to publish a Legends Collections, they really should make it a complete package with all the missing titles, like Mega Man’s Soccer, Mega Man and Bass and its WonderSwan sequel, translated Rockboard and why the hell not throw that Chinese-only Rockman Strategy. I’m sure you can already tell that I’m not exactly looking for this particular release, but it does support the notion that Capcom is still riding on nostalgia wave instead of putting their goal to produce a new, high caliber Mega Man for whatever real reason. Inafune’s shadow can’t be that long, that there is nobody willing take the position and say We have a classic, long franchise with a ready install base we can easily expand by hitting some of the current trends all the while pushing the envelope on the franchise.

Mega Man innovated themselves from time to time. X, Legends, Battle Network, Z and ZX are all significantly different from the Classic series, and even then each sub-series changes the formats game-by-game basis. While I fully expect some kind of Mega Man game to be made based on the current cartoon, it seems Capcom is treating it like they treated Street Fighter The Movie in that it works as a promotional vessel rather than an adaptation. I would like to say that Capcom can’t coast on collections much longer, but the reality is that fans and consumers interested in the franchise will buy these collections every time a console generation shift hits around the corner, and if a special version like the above or the one with all the trinkets, there will be customers buying it. Fans find themselves in a vicious cycle of thinking that if they don’t show support, no more future entries in Mega Man will be made, but at the same time, you’ve already bought and played these games two or three times over and Capcom still isn’t putting out anything new. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The customer loyalty is still there and that probably is ultimately what will keep all these afloat for now. Special edition packages with craploads of stuff in them have always been a thing, slowly I have to question if that is becoming the only reason Mega Man collections are selling? Despite the franchise now lacking a face, the emotional contact is still there. Zero series has especially fanatic cult following, claiming it being the height of the franchise’s 2D game play design. They’ve been asking for ports of the series ever since the last collection on the DS came out, but apparently the originals and that port aren’t enough. Then again, maybe that goes to the other collections as well. Perhaps people really are just abandoning their old machines every single generation. Maybe Capcom should just start releasing collections every generation and never make a new game, as they seem to make a decent buck with each of them.

Capcom is coming out with Rockman X DiVE that’s making its rounds, but goddamn if people aren’t sick of beloved franchises getting a mobile game rather than a full-blown, big budget title. A proper entry, if you will. Just look at how happy Breath of Fire fans were about BoF6. While mobile titles can be massive successes, thus far none of them have been considered as “true” installments into a franchise. Then again, we did get that social mobile game Rockman Xover, which was less than ideal entry in the series, and was largely lambasted people who didn’t end up sucking on Capcom’s dick. Only so many companies have managed to strike true with their mobile games, and the Big C is not one of them. X DiVE has budget behind it, it has good assets and lots of work put to make it the best kind of mobile Mega Man X game it could be, which kinda says to us that the hinted new entry in the series rather than X9.

Capcom really lost the ball by not announcing a new Classic or X series game. They didn’t even need to have it released yet, just have the info out, some concept art and nothing else. Keep the heat going on, but often fans will just take anything they can grab and roll with those, but only for so long.

Music of the Month; Dogora

You probably did (not) notice that updating was a bit off last month. You know the usual song; stress, work, the two combined, twists in social life, lack of time and so on and so on. The month went by faster than expected, if I’m being honest. Missed some news I wanted to touch upon, situations and events passed by like they were air. Doesn’t exactly help that I’ve hurt my wrist, so I might end up being economical for the next few weeks when it comes to typing.

That said, why Ifukube music all of the sudden? For whatever reason, I began to listen Ifukube out of the blue this week, and his pieces played on during my off-hours non-stop. There were numerous pieces I never listened to, or took any notice really. Ifukube’s library of songs he composed for Toho alone is very vast, and this song above somehow stood apart. While Ifukube’s songs are rhythmically cohesive all around, something about Dogora VS Self-Defence Force playes differently, as if there are two parallel pieces going at the same time, but always meeting at key points. Ifukube felt that to fully understand movie and its music, the two should always be together, as separately they lose the effect and power they were intended to have. I fully agree with him on this matter. Be it games or theatre or whatever, when you have a scene specifically set to music, the lack of the scene or vice versa will always leave something to be desired. Then again, I still know jack shit about music, so this probably is nonsense babbling.

While this probably would make a post on itself, the whole situation with the leaked Dragon Ball English audio with the voice actors letting things rip like no other. If you want to check ’em out, if you already haven’t, there’s a Google Drive with them. While we could discuss ethics of the situation, like whether or not they were justified to use the soundtrack or the like, I really don’t see any point in this. People at work sometimes have to let some steam out by doing stupid shit and laugh after, or even during, hard work. It’s funny to have a character go balls-to-the-walls wack sometimes and make them say something inappropriate. These bits really are something that should never cross to the customer side of things, and people letting stuff out like this is nothing out of ordinary. It is an open secret that voice actors and people working with them often allow all sorts of stuff going on during sessions to ease things out.

This Dragon Ball example is just the latest thing, though before this the most famous one was the Thundercats leaks from way back when. Hell there’s a page dedicated to them. These two things are the same thing really, be it bloopers, outtakes, leak reels or whatever. The voice actor of original Lion-O, Larry Kenney, discussed that this happens. While some might find these jokes and skits offensive, the American voice acting culture at workplace more or less has it as a working standard. The Japanese working culture wouldn’t allow stuff like this, but at the same time, they often don’t give a damn how shit rolls in Overseas market. Just look at how terrible translations are across the board, be it books, games or movies. Then you have shows that were let do whatever, nobody cared. Cue for Ghost Stories English dub. It’s like a whole show of outtakes. Of course, Toei doesn’t really like this thing at all, considering they are paranoid about how Dragon Ball as an IP is handled, and with the Internet outrage culture making its rounds, Funimation probably will feel some results from this backlash. There’s a whole lot more with one of the VA’s suing Funimation after they fired him for reasons and such, but as I usually say; don’t care about the provider, care about the product.

What’s for next month? I can’t really say. That foxgirl Kickstarter got funded, though there’s not much to talk about it. I’m just glad more people will be able to get their hands on it now that it comes gets an English translation. However, I am pretty sure NijiGEN won’t get funded despite being halfway in, because it has sat there for a week now. Not much to talk about if it fails, but if it succeeds, I’ll be sure to keep tabs on it. Then again, with Ifukube being the music, and music sets the month, perhaps I should make time and rewatch Shin Godzilla in order to expand Themes of Godzilla post. I have found that the more I mull it over, the more stuff I consider I must touch upon. Better just cut my losses and get it done with. It’s just one weekend spend on it, whatever could go wrong? Of course, all the âge related stuff are completely open and I still have a folder on my desktop to remind me that there are few more TSF stuff and other subjects to touch upon. On one hand, perhaps I should cut blogging so that there’s one major post a week, and whatever small ones every time something interesting catches interest, but can’t really see that format working. Yknow, they’d be about as rambly if not even not more so than this post. I’m not going to ask for you to drop a comment if you’d like me to try it out, because let’s be real, nobody would comment anyway.

Remember to sharpen, hone and oil your knives. Sharp knife is much safer tool in the kitchen than a dull one, and the same goes for scissors.

Inexperience and unforeseen accidents

I’ve been talking on and off about few Kickstarters as of late. Y’know, the one with the fox girl and the one that would make you a part of a self-publishing comic circle? This lead to some discussions how Kickstarter has become a sort of jinx to some, and to some it is something others veer far away due to it simply being Kickstarter. Looking back at the whole system, it’s really easy to see how Kickstarter can be abused, and have been numerous times, but at the same time how the backers constantly misunderstand what the service is about.

If we start with the latter, I still see people considering a Kickstarter backing the same as pre-ordering something off the net. This has never been the case, though it is understandable how the misconception can form. After all, your usual backer doesn’t exactly realise that they are effectively financiers of a business venture of some kind, but rather than having a stake in the business or similar, they instead are offered items as incentives for their funding. Truth to be told, backing a Kickstarter should never be made under assumption that you will gain anything back. As with any funding venture, there are chance that it all goes tits up and you’ll just lose money. This is part financial funding, where you have to decide yourself whether or not fund something or not. Difference is that Kickstarter is a softer form of funding someone’s venture, where you as a backer don’t really have any power a real financial backer would but get all the nice items you backed for. Intention is to realise a creator’s aim and wish, their desire to produce something and so on, rather than tie him down with Wallstreet-type bullshit. Not many seem to make this distinction however, and people just consider Kickstarter as that aforementioned pre-order service.

Your usual Kickstarter backer ultimately had to come to a conclusion that they need to vet people and organisations they fund. Check people’s histories and what sort of things they are able to truly pull off. If actual companies were involved, chances were that people with know-how and experience were included, and the only thing they really lacked was money. Even then it can be shooting the dark. As much a Kickstarter requires an experienced runner, the backer really has to make some educated guesses; even a man with best reputation can fuck things up royally, like it was with Mighty No.9. As a side-note, I never backed that game up. Why? Because nothing that was shown during the campaign equated to anything that might be in the final game and the footage shown was less than enticing. The music was bland, the concept seemed something that wouldn’t work and most of the people working on the title didn’t seem to have the best credits. Forward to years later, and the game gets shot the very moment people get their hands on it. Be it that it was supposed to be ported to every alive platform under the sun and that the staff were inexperienced with online multiplayer, plus the whole social media debacle, Mighty No.9 killed Inafune’s fame and whatever true story behind the game’s lacklustre development is, the media, backers and pretty much everyone in the industry has black listed him.

Backers can’t really tell sometimes if the person or a team behind a campaign has experience to handle what they intend to do. Often a Kickstarter fails either because money runs out for whatever reason, like the project leader being inept and inexperienced to the point of crashing the whole thing, or sometimes because producing something costs a lot more than expected. One of the major parts of doing a Kickstarter should be able to calculate expenses and project everything well enough to make a sensible estimation. The double that amount. This might be a personal interjection, but considering how many unforeseen events can hit the scene, you really need extra in the bank. While some might bark at this idea, consider what would happen if you get funding to buy a candy bar and share it with your friend. On the trip to the shop you get overrun or the candy melts on the way back. Without that safety net, you’re effectively screwed. With something extra in there, you can either deliver a bit more than promised, or you can recover from whatever mishap might’ve come across. However, all expenses really should be figured out beforehand to their best possible degree, so that money isn’t wasted by accident or surprise. There are stories I might tell you later how some companies and startups failed in this regard.

All that said, inexperience in itself should not be scoffed at. Asking for help or further information either from more experienced people or perhaps even asking backers’ feedback and such should not be something to be ashamed of. Openness with your backers, however, is absolutely vital. These aren’t your customers, these are the people who have given their money for you to work on something. If customers decide whether or not you succeed, your backers have made it even possible for you to have a shot. Never underestimate the value of giving some small update on anything. La-Mulana 2‘s Kickstarter was perhaps one of the best examples how I’ve seen a KS do it; every Friday there would be an update talking about some aspect of the game, be it lore, production, on-goings or overall development. Small and constant updates talking what’s going on are better than once-in-a-month or similar, as it keeps the backers enticed. Not only it makes for good PR, but also promotes the feeling of you caring for them, that you’re thankful for their money. Sure someone will call you an asshat hack and demand their money back, but as usual, you should always expect negative feedback. Negative feedback and criticism should always be noted with more care than positive, as positive feedback often is just stroking your dick and telling yer doing a good job. While spirit lifting, also absolutely worthless.

There is a night and day difference between people who have large experience, and those who don’t. Presentation is one of the major parts, but so is engagement with the backers. If you look at, for example, Anime Eigo’s Megazone23 Kickstarter, you can see that list of things are large and relatively detailed. If you browse the comments section, you can see Robert J. Woodhead, the project manager, replying across the board to relevant question, one being opening the KS for International backers. For example, when questioned about the soundtrack as a possible add-on, Woodhead replies that music licensing is both outside the scope of the project, but also outside their expertise. This kind of straight and transparent interaction is night must for a system like this, as it gives an idea what is possible and what isn’t. Anime Eigo has had numerous projects already, so they also have a history to back them up. This is similar to the fox girl Kickstarter going on at the moment, where a staff member from DLSite is handling the English side of things. While the developing circle, Megamisoft, don’t have history with Kickstarter, they’ve been selling merch of their titles in Comikets for some years now, thus have a very good handle how to get their items produced. The items they offer as backer rewards are largely the same, with additions of soundtracks and such. The only thing holding them back is international shipping, but that’s that isn’t all that different from sending a package in your own nation, overall. As a contrast, NijiGEN, the project to put up a shop for you to buy your own doujinshi, has rather lacklustre presentation with its video in comparison, zero comments, but has still crept halfway its funding. I’m guessing this is mostly because the people providing the comics are veterans and know how to set things up comic-side properly. All you need is the service, and then hope it’ll do good. Considering they list their corporation number gives them far more credibility than most as well.

Now I did promise to use more images per post some time back, so let me be cheeky for a moment and present you a (lacklustre) gallery of items that foxgirl Kickstarter is offering. How’d I got my hands on these? Via their Campfire campaign, of course. Each image has a review of sorts attached, so if you’re interested to see how things are done in the orient, or what sort of stuff is part of the Kickstarter, do check em out. Mind you, they were taken in terrible light conditions, so quality has suffered.

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All this considered, it is amused to see people asking for refunds from projects they’ve backed. Despite many projects have seen its backers refund their money, the reality is that they’ve given their faith to see a project succeed, but as it sometimes (rather often actually) happens, the project is a failure. At that point its best to suck it up and write it off as a loss. If this was actual financial funding, you might be able to recover some money through some business deals or even stock trading, but that’s not a reality here. All that said, there is a certain skewed view on Kickstarter as a service. The service in itself is rather sound and solid, but you really need to make a call whether or not each individual project is trustworthy of your money. Nobody else can make the decision for you whether or not to put your money and faith into someone, and sometimes life just gives you lemons instead of Kyoto girlfriend pillows.

 

It’s in the pattern

In Star Wars, the Force represents drugs and staying clean. Much like how drugs are addictive and an easy way to get high and good feelings, so it the Dark side of the Force. Both are demons that lurk in the shadows of everyday life, something that seemingly shady people string other by promising a thing or two. You get a small feel for it, then begin to use more and more of the stuff until it envelopes you whole. Anakin found the Dark side through a promise and it consumed him, changing his character and nature to something completely other, much like a hard drug addiction does. Note that Dark side users tend to have visible effect in and around of their eyes, similar how druggies have certain look and sags under their eyes. To contrast this, the Light side is all about staying clean and true to healthy life style, trying to spend your time doing whatever normal healthy stuff you can to get similar feeling of good, be it going for a run or going to a gym. It keeps you straight and clear headed, doesn’t pull you into anything that might ruin your life. The fight between Luke and Darth Vader in Episode V is all about how home violence blooms in a household full of drug use, be it alcohol or drugs, and Vader asking Luke to join is the drugs trying to compel Luke into abandoning his healthy life and becoming an addict. The battle between the two in Episode VI in contrast is Luke’s total refusal of drugs to a point of almost falling into the role of violent abuser, as well as showing the traditional patriarchal role of brother needing to protect his little sister from evil. Luke’s battle also depicts an intervention, where Vader is thrown to become a cold turkey and has to choose between healthy lifestyle and continuing to be the Emperor’s drugboy.

All the above is, of course, total and utter bullshit.

Humans are masters at pattern recognition. We see things where there is none. A tree’s bark might seem like a face, and there’s always that example of seeing a smiling face in cars’ fronts or in electric sockets.


Sometimes, like with the cars, the designer plays us and uses that pattern recognition while designing the car’s front. We can’t help it, its a result of our natural evolution. However, the way humans think often leads into reading something that isn’t there, like that example of Star Wars and drugs. We can make sense of something in a completely irrelevant context and say that there is a correlation between the two patterns. We can say so, perhaps even claim that these things exist, but never really realise that this is what people call reading to deep into things. I like over analysation personally, but they’re really the same thing, giving meaning to matters through concepts that don’t exist in a body of work, but through either personal bias or misconception we tend to apply comparisons and themes to patterns that don’t exist. Like those sockets; there is no face of any king, but I am sure you all see two very happy sockets that just wait a plug to smash into their faces.

This has become somewhat an academical field, to view something from an angle that looks for themes and patterns that are not there. It has become rather profitable to apply social issue themes to some popular franchise, despite such thing does not exist in the work. To use Star Wars as an example again, nowadays the Empire is called a proxy for the German’s National Socialist party, the Nazis. This has been taken to the extreme of being applied directly into the First Order, where the it goes overboard and hits you in the head. However, in the original trilogy this does not exist. The thing with the Empire and Rebels is that it contrasts to an overall theme of overpowering superpower might over small, but extremely resistant group of fighters. The direct comparison is to Viet Cong and the United States during Vietnam War, a timely parallel. Episode IV doesn’t hit you in the head with this, but this is by design. Lucas did put the comparison in there by intention, but didn’t hit you over the head with it. Everything else was put before hitting the viewers in the head, unlike in the Disney era Star Wars where there are no subtle approaches. This makes seeing the themes much easier, but at the same time treating your audience like idiots has tanked the franchise rather harshly.

Seeing patterns and analysing them of course is fandom pastime. Neon Genesis Evangelion fandom is effectively build on analysing and seeing things that aren’t there, applying motifs and themes that seem applicable either because the patterns fitted into a motif make sense, or because there isn’t much to go that even the smallest leaps of logic require pulling stuff out from your ass. Then again, the Rebuild movies seem to be build on this idea and scatter hints and connections all around for these fans to put together. Then again, even then people will pull out comparisons and motifs of homosexuality between Shinji and Kaworu, despite the concept not exactly being applicable between a human being and a creature beyond us that doesn’t exactly conform to humanity despite being shackled into a boy’s form.

News media of course is worst in this, as they intentionally will play with pattern recognition bias either with selected footage, manipulated images via mirroring, cropping or otherwise, and of course with selected words that are meant to trigger associations. An important part of media education is to teach children to be aware of their own bias first and foremost and consider what has been presented and how. Appealing to the consumer’s own leanings is extremely common, and catering to these leanings is extremely large market, where people are offered bias confirmation as well as ways to assert their personal believes. Hence why Wikipedia should only be start of your research, not the end. Reading beyond what’s presented to you at face value should be a standard, not just a thing you do now and then.

Perhaps even more common is the refusal of trying to see things from multiple angles. While this sounds similar to seeing patterns that don’ t exist, seeing two sides of the same coin very different. Rather than forcing a view unto something, you instead take all the information you can and see from a view that wasn’t or has not been presented to you. Often biased news outlets will only showcase one biased view while completely ignoring, and sometimes even suppressing, more views because it might hurt the legitimacy of their agenda. For example, electric cars are now said to be the most green way to travel via car, but what’s not told is that producing those cars and their batteries consume resources and pollute as much as driving a gasoline car daily for seven years. Practically all news are like this, and even me mentioning it can be analysed to drive the agenda of promoting consumer self-education and awareness.

Kickstarter to print doujins

With the death and resurrection of sadpanda, the question that many had were about archiving and saving materials. While this is all nice and good on the surface, and yours truly considers the older material to be paramount in terms of pop-culture history, the fact is that the site is working under the gray label of piracy. The creators of these comics know that it exists, and sometimes they have despaired about the situation. Some of them have considered sadpanda’s existence as net loss of revenue due to their comics being there rather than every user buying their comics while others recognise that piracy does not equal loss of sales. Not every person pirating something would’ve bought any of it in the first place, though piracy does seem to work as a sort of free advertisement, where people who truly enjoy the work probably fork the money for the product they consumed.

However, with doujinshi this is somewhat difficult. Sites like DMM and DLSite offer some comics to buy and read, but the issue here is that half of them are under DRM, have low image quality and is digital only. These are Japanese services with English storefronts, though you can find English language stores like Project Hentai that offer purchases in physical form in English. However, with shops like these, there are usually very limited quantity of each item and the prices can be a bit high at times.

NijiGEN aims to alleviate this situation somewhat, a Kickstater that aims to allow more direct sales between the customer and the creator. NijiGEN’s model would be to sell you a high resolution version of the comic which you could then print. This approach would eliminate the problem of low-resolution files that are kicking around, even on official store sites, but they’d be in a timed format. The intention is that you’d be able to print your own physical copy of the comic via a printer. Ultimately, the cost of printing your own comic is relatively low, even when you pick up the proper paper and tools to do it. With the possibility of modifying and selling e.g. postcards and such, and then selling them forwards in a limited fashion.

This sounds really stupid, why would this be any success? The creators of this Kickstarter are aware of three things, which launched the idea; the existence of potential market for physical medium in Overseas market, the censorship that doujinshi and other adult material books have gone through in Japan in recent decade (especially when going toward the Olympics) and the issue of piracy. However, the market section for this Kickstarter is extremely niche. First you’d need to be a person who wants physical copies of these comics, and secondly you’d need to be in the mindset of taking part of the whole doujinshi creation. Part of self-publishing is either ordering your book made or printing and binding things at home. I have to say, binding your own book is extremely fun. This service would allow the user to bypass large amounts of problems that may arise through ordering, like possible customs or legal issues. By the end of the day, printing your own quality comic would cost less than buying one and having it shipped from an online shop.

You of course face few problems, which probably break this model. Not all people have a decent printer, opting for a cheap one instead. Secondly, not all people know how to print properly. While standard settings are usually fine, the reality is that printing is a rabbit hole of problems and options, proofing and sometimes even trial and error. The timed source files will also rub some people the wrong way, putting them under pressure to get the most out from their purchase before the files expire. Some people would rather just buy the high resolution files and be done with them and not bother with physical editions at all, something that most modern audiences that have never been part of self-creating circles would always opt for first. This is why I don’t see the Kickstarter becoming funded, outside the whole issue of this being a Kickstarter, but the core idea is still valid; the closest second the customer who can’t buy the books they want, self-printing. The customer that is most common nowadays expects to be readily catered without any much effort put in themselves. The same reason why model kits don’t sell nowadays outside niche audience and have become extremely easy to build and are readily built. Self-made, or handicrafts, is not in fashion currently.

I’d like a service like this. The concept of involving the customer as part of the circle as the person responsible for final edits, printing and binding, is great. Extremely niche, and that’ll probably be its doom.

While you’re looking stuff on Kickstarter, consider backing Your Everyday Life with Konko for some headpats and relaxing storytelling.