By Benny Carrillo / July 14th, 2016
Eroge Origins, Going Beyond One’s Limits, and Hamashima-Sensei’s View of Western fans – Q&A
The first question was how she got into eroge in the first place. Hamashima-Sensei told us that she was playing a lot of eroge in college. She originally had wanted to make fighting games like Street Fighter, however during her college years she was introduced to eroge. It was pretty shocking to her that people could make a living drawing and creating things like that and she thought it was very cool. Next she was asked what the process to begin developing a title was. Turns out it’s a lot more relatable than we thought. Hamashima-Sensei and the director at Clock-Up sat next to each other. As such, they’d just talk about random things like movies, anime, and manga. They would then mash the ideas and concepts from what they were talking about together and see if it sounded like a good idea for their next game. With the prepared questions done, the floor was opened for general questions and as I mentioned we had a couple of our own.
I first asked Hamashima-Sensei how important is was for her to have the freedom to create the game she wants and explore some of the darker topics that may be controversial. She gave an interesting answer, stating that she had pretty much at this point went beyond her limits with Maggot baits. So in that regard she’s actually quite satisfied. She did mention that she really hasn’t done a much purer and cutesy eroge. While it’s a challenge she’d like to undertake, no one seems to want her to do it as they’re worried that everyone in it might end up dead. In between asking my second question a few more panel goes asked a few good ones of their own.
While the questions of course ran the spectrum, from simple to difficult (including one compound question that the translator got several rounds of applause for translating because it just that long) there were some interesting things we learned. As I mentioned Hamashima-Sensei likes to create female characters that are very independent and fleshed out. This is in contrast to many other developers where the female characters merely exist to be a love interest and as such feel flatter and submissive. The reason for this is that most Japanese males prefer these types of character. Hamashima-Sensei though prefers to buck the trend and has had great success in doing so. Another thing we learned that I would assume contributes to this is that many of her team are women. So there’s a diverse set of opinions and viewpoints going into each project. Also when asked what genre she may want to tackle she hasn’t, Hamashima-Sensei told us she’d like to do a Yuri, though it would probably end up being a tragic story. Finally, I was able to ask my second and final question of the night (after asking her to please make that Yuri game of course).
I asked Hamashima-Sensei how her trip to Anime Expo this year had affected her view of Western fans and if found them to be more receptive than expected. The answer was very enlightening and interesting. Hamashima-Sensei told us that Japanese males (the primary eroge audience) were very weak and quite. Very much Beta Males. It was something that made her quite sad. However, she found the Anime Expo audience very energetic and great. She was thrilled to see us all loving her work and it greatly cheered her up, reminding her she should have fun as well. The panel ended shortly after and I can think of no better point to jump into the analysis portion either.
A Conversation With The Fans – Analysis
It’s not very often we get to sit down and learn about an eroge creator’s life and talk to them about their work. I learned quite a bit about Hamashima-Sensei, despite still having not finished one of her games (I own EROGE! and No, Thank You!!!) However, I find myself very eager to dive into one of them as soon as I have some free time. The reason being is that I really gravitate towards strong developed characters. I’ve been very lucky to play some very excellent eroge titles over the years and I’m curious to see how Hamashima-Sensei and her team’s style and writing stack up to them. Especially when you consider the fact she has to balance character strength, personality, and the horrible things that happen to them in euphoria and Maggot baits. In addition, I found the fact she was an eroge fan herself very interesting.
All too often we tend to assume that the only eroge players out there are male, save for games aimed specifically at a female audience. However, there are plenty of female eroge fans out there, as well as male fans of BL stories and eroge. It’s nice to have a prominent example of this as it breaks apart these stereotypes we’re so used to hearing. There’s nothing wrong with liking what you like and Hamashima-Sensei has even turned it into a very successful career due to her passion. I think there are plenty of people out there who look up to her because of this. Another thing I enjoyed was her interactions with the crowd.
I always got a very genuine feeling from her answers. She wanted to have a conversation with the crowd. Some of her answers certainly reflect that. The fact she was willing to tell us how she wants to make something cuter or even a tragic Yuri shows she’s looking to challenge herself and wanted to see what the crowd’s reaction would be. Creator’s often throw ideas like this out there as a way to test the waters. While not everything will be made I think in this case it’s important she still put those ideas out there. As she mentioned the market in Japan isn’t exactly very energetic. Here she could talk to people who were passionate about her work and get instant feedback. Speaking of the crowd they also deserve credit for not only being energetic, but for respecting Hamashima-Sensei’s wish to not be photographed. I’m always amazed by how polite the panel attendees can be despite how hectic Anime Expo can get.
In the end I really enjoyed this talk and I hope to see Hamashima-Sensei return to Anime Expo again. It’s always a joy to get a chance to interact with creators at these conventions, and I hope we get to see more of them make the trip in the future. For now, though, I wish Hamashima-Sensei luck on her future projects, and maybe, just maybe we’ll see both her take on a tragic yuri and a moe eroge in the future.
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