By Benny Carrillo / July 14th, 2016
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed as part of this panel recap are those of the writer and do not reflect those of oprainfall as a whole.
On July 3rd MangaGamer hosted a panel for eroge Concept Artist, Graphic Designer, and Illustrator, Shigeo Hamashima. I was fortunate enough to attend the panel and ask Hamashima-Sensei a couple of questions. It was a very enlightening discussion in which we learned quite a bit about her and her team. We began recapping some of the titles she has worked on, namely euphoria, EROGE! Sex and Games Make Sexy Games, No, Thank You!!!, and the recently announced Maggot baits. Afterwards MangaGamer asked Hamashima-Sensei some questions of their own starting with EROGE!.
What’s Accurate in EROGE! and how euphoria Came About
EROGE! is a game that follows a struggling eroge studio that the protagonist has recently joined. Of course being an eroge means that you’ll be having plenty of sex with the other characters, which was the basis for the first question. If the game reflected the work at actual eroge studios. Hamashima-Sensei merely responded that they do make eroge in EROGE! so that part is accurate. A very silly question, but a good ice breaker. Next, we touched upon something a little darker with euphoria.
euphoria has been described as “Saw but porn” and is a much darker story and serious story than most eroge. Hamashima-Sensei told us that she had creative input into the development of the title and related a little bit of the backstory for it. Before euphoria she had been working on Nukige, which she felt rather unsatisfied with. She wanted to move beyond that to create a game with a more detailed storyline. As such, she approached her director and presented the idea. The project was approved, but of course they still had to figure out how to fit the story and sex scenes together. Hamashima-Sensei jokingly said that they ended up locking the writer in a room until he figured out just how to do that. If you really think about it though, that must have been a very difficult challenge to overcome. Especially as Hamashima-Sensei likes to create much stronger and more independent female characters. Speaking of which she did mention that Nemu was her favorite character from the game. The discussion then turned to the BL (Boy’s Love) title No, Thank You!!!.
What’s Different About Making a BL Eroge – No, Thank You!!!
Hamashima-Sensei noted that No, Thank You!!! was unusual for a BL game. This led into the first question of how was it different from working on a normal eroge. The biggest difference she found was that both male characters have to have their face in the same scene. This differs from the normal convention of hiding the male protagonist’s face in most eroge. The reason for this, she pointed out, is that female audiences want to see both guys in the scene. In comparison, most males only care about seeing the girls in most mainstream eroge. If you think about that, it makes a lot of sense. I can attest that in Yuri, this holds true as well. We want to see both girls in the scene, expressing their love for each other. Mainstream eroge meanwhile attempts to hide the protagonists face as the player is supposed to be said protagonist. The final question that was asked about No, Thank You!!! was who came up with the body hair setting that’s in the game. Hamashima-Sensei told us that was the director’s idea and she was just following orders to implement it. We then turned to Maggot baits for quite a lengthy discussion.
The Game that was Too Hardcore for one Eroge Ratings Board – Maggot baits
Maggot baits is a very dark and gory game. The reason for this is that the plot revolves around a group of witches that are being fought who cannot die. As such, this falls heavily in the guro (gore and mutilation) genre. Hamashima-Sensei was credited as the concept creator and as such had quite a lot of oversight over the game. The first question about she was asked was what was the spark for the idea. The answer was quite surprising.
In Japan there are two rating boards for eroge. When euphoria being completed, it was submitted to one of these review boards. This one in particular was very anti-guro. euphoria of course is a very dark game and the development team had many grotesque ideas they wanted to put into it. The rating board however said no to just about everything. I find this fact utterly astounding as from what I’ve seen and heard of euphoria, the game is pretty hardcore already. So I can only imagine what the heck the original concept was. That said, Hamashima-Sensei did state that she was satisfied with how euphoria eventually turned out. However, she wasn’t able to do what she originally wanted. In fact, the entire team still wanted to create that original dark guro game. So they did and submitted to the other rating board, who had no problem with it. The next three questions were about character design.
First Hamashima-Sensei was asked how they came up with the idea of having the character’s eyes glow even when closed. This came about as a way to portray the girls as cue that the witches weren’t human. So it’s a very easy way to tell who’s human who’s not in the game (and subsequently, who will survive the hardcore antics of the game). Next they asked her how they decided on what animals or bugs were used to inspire the various witches’ designs. Hamashima-Sensei stated that she just came up with it on her own. Primarily based on what looked better on what character. She was then asked what her favorite character from Maggot baits was. While she liked them all, she did point out Sandy as they hadn’t been able to do a macho-type female character before. Thankfully the director said to do whatever she wanted, so she did. We moved on from there to two personal questions before opening the floor for questions.
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