By Benny Carrillo / July 13th, 2016
Shigeo Hamashima – Maggot baits is Coming
Hamashima-Sensei spoke briefly after the announcement that Maggot baits would be coming to the West. She was also very happy to see a lot of Eroge fans in the room. She encouraged anyone who was tired of the usual moe and kawaii games to try Maggot baits due to it being a much darker and horror based, as well as dealing with very adult themes. After this there was a short Q&A session and we closed the panel. As you can see, there’s a lot to take in and deconstruct. Let’s start with Bamboo’s talk first and move on from there.
Analysis – The Future Lies with Us
Bamboo’s talk gave us the most information about the state of the Eroge market in Japan that I’ve seen in a while. It’s certainly sad to know that things are slowing down in Japan, but part of that is because the market has needed to expand for years. We’re finally starting to see that push, and I’m really happy that so many companies, who just a few years ago never even had the West on their radar, are starting to seriously look at us as a viable fan base. The Eroge market has endured some major hardships in the west due to piracy, a lack of companies willing to localize the product for social and economical reasons, and a lack of journalists willing to cover these titles. Even still it has endured for nearly 20 years here due to having one of the most dedicated fan bases around.
It may have taken two decades, but we’re in the midst of a renaissance of sorts regarding the medium. Independent and Western developers are honing their craft alongside Japanese developers who are trying to understand how to market their product here in the West. One only needs to point to the fact that both BL and Yuri have seen very strong pushes here in the last year. Both genres that before barely had any traction. Before I move on, one thing I’d like to note is that Bamboo himself was very fun to listen to and joked quite a bit with the audience. Even at one point jokingly saying he wanted MangaGamer to become the XVIDEOS of Eroge. He wanted the panel to be fun and to show the fans that they enjoy their enthusiasm and support, just as much as the fans love the games in this sometimes wacky genre. That brings us next to Sakai-Sensei and his talk.
Let me start by saying that Sakai-Sensei came off as very humble and earnest to me. He was genuinely thankful for the support of the Western fan base. It was also very telling to hear how much he did at his own company. We’ve all been in that position to some degree where we have to take on additional tasks that go beyond the scope of our duties and it can wear on us. Sakai-Sensei though couldn’t have been happier to be there at Anime Expo and see the fan base in person. I realize this goes a little outside the scope of this write up, but interaction with fans like that is necessary for creators. All too often all they see are comments via Social Media and other electronic communications such as e-mail. The same holds true for us at sites like this. Hearing in person feedback from fans helps motivate us. It reminds us of the reason we do the jobs we do, and I think Sakai-Sensei was not only elated, but energized by the fans he could see supporting him. Sadly, I could not attend his panel on the 4th, but I have hope that Supipara will do well and we’ll see one of the first major VN releases aimed at the West in the future.
I was able attend Hamashima-Sensei’s panel on July 3rd and will be writing that up soon. As such, I’ll save the majority of my thoughts for that piece. Hamashima-Sensei though also seemed surprised by not only the amount of fans in the panel, but the energy from the participants. I’ll touch more about that in her panel, but I have to imagine hearing people be so excited at the announcement of Maggot baits must have been a very special moment for her.
In the end, the MangaGamer panel was very much a success. From both the announcement side and the talks by the panelist, it was a fun time for all. It shows just how much respect MangaGamer has for its fanbase and how much they enjoy their jobs. I’ve always been of the mindset that if a developer or publisher isn’t enjoying their work, then that will translate into the finished product. Panels like these are good indications as to the state of the company’s mindset. If the panel is fun, then I think it’s safe to say things are going well and the company is confident. There’s nothing wrong with a little goofiness or cracking a few jokes at these things. We’re all there because we love the same thing, and sharing that enthusiasm is one of the best parts of the fanbase. As such, I eagerly look forward to what MangaGamer has to deliver in the coming year.am
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