With Sakura-Con and Anime Boston both being held this weekend, Sekai Project and MangaGamer both took to the floor to announce their newest projects.
Sekai Project at Sakura-Con
“Maitetsu takes place in an alternate reality in Japan, where railroads were the most popular form of travel and transportation. But the difference with these railways is that the trains were paired up with humanoid modules called “Railords.” Due to a popular new form of travel, the railroads were practically forgotten about and eventually, railways were discontinued.
Players will assume the role of Sotetsu, a recent high school graduate who, shortly after entering University, decides to return to his adoptive hometown to save it from water pollution caused by the proliferation of factories. By chance, Sotetsu reawakens “Hachiroku,” a recently decommissioned Railord. He becomes her owner and decides to assist her in finding her missing locomotive, the “8620,” while attempting to save his hometown in the process.”
Thoughts: This is the biggie from Sakura-Con. Maitetsu just released in Japan yesterday to much hype from the eroge community, and the fact that such a major title has been licensed for the Western market so early is another huge step for VNs in the West.
That being said, SP is surely going to face some difficult challenges when it comes to this title due to its content. That content includes a lot of H scenes, much of them featuring loli characters who very obviously look under 18, no matter what disclaimers they try to attach. Let’s face it, there’s no way they’re going to be able to release a 100% uncut version even on Denpasoft. And there’s no way SP will be able to please everyone: if they release a version with H-content they face a major outcry over the “youthful” character designs as well as potentially very serious legal trouble; if they don’t release it the hardcore VN fans snub them and they get accused of censorship and pandering. (Incidentally, Studio Lose’s other popular loli title, Monobeno -Happy End-, saw a non-H version released for PS Vita in Japan, Monobeno -Pure Smile-, so we already know that the Japanese studio is not averse to stripped down versions of their games.)
Not being a fan of lolis myself, I’m actually not bothered about this potentially only seeing an all-ages release, but I definitely understand the sentiments of those who will feel like they’re being denied the full package. And personally, I won’t usually buy censored Western releases of eroge unless I know there’s a patch available to restore the 18+ content, because that’s my preference. However, while it disappoints me to see games censored for the Western market, I understand why companies do it, and I think the most important thing to understand is that the original, uncensored game still exists. We have to think of Western releases as a new product, which may mean there are differences to the original, but this does not in any way render the original null and void. It will always be there for those who wish to seek it out. Of course, I think it’s well within our rights as consumers to campaign for the products we want, but I hope that people will consider the difficulties that can arise in bringing certain adult content across cultures and borders.
As of yet, Sekai Project has declined to comment on what will happen with regards to the H content of the game, but I’ll be keeping my ears open for any further news.
Release date: TBA
“The Companion Star Project is a term from the distant past. With the planet’s population rate spiraling out of control and showing no sign of slowing down a small planet was painfully relocated to orbit around the Earth for pioneers to terraform and emigrate to.
Those who stayed behind eventually lost control over the companion star after bloody wars and devastating plagues broke out.
Many years have passed and the companion star, now no longer in orbit, will soon bring about the inevitable destruction of Earth.
Those who know about Earth’s impending doom attempted to build shelters, but they did not want the surface world to descend into chaos, so they selfishly took their secret with them underground.
One man who knows about the end decides to live lavishly…and a girl who will turn his life upside down…their story begins when she steps underneath his umbrella.”
Thoughts: There’s not much information available about this Taiwanese visual novel, but the sci-fi story sounds interesting and ripe for tragedy, and the art is pretty.
“Still, I Miss Her is a dramatic visual novel about boy who has to overcome the odds to save the love of his life.
The antagonist “Jin-Tae” has been seducing girls (include your lover) through the use of an illegal drug. But with help of a mysterious girl, Sin-Ah, you may be able to bring Jin-Tae to justice and get back your lost love.”
Thoughts: Again, not much information is available about this Korean VN, but the themes actually sound pretty dark, so I hope they’re handled well.
Title: Sakura Spirit: The Manga
Release date: May 2016
“Featuring art by Suzunone Rena, this upcoming manga based off of Winged Cloud’s hit visual novel, Sakura Spirit will begin serialization in Dengeki Hime, and will feature a simultaneous release in the United States.”
Thoughts: It seems that Sekai Project is expanding their brand not only from visual novels to other games, but also from games into manga! I don’t really see why this game in particular deserves a manga, but hey, it’s filled with all the cliché tropes that undiscerning Japanese and Western audiences continue to lap up. Despite my misgivings, I’m going to check this out since the artwork is super cute.
MangaGamer at Anime Boston
Title: Imouto Paradise 2
Release date: TBA
The sequel to Imouto Paradise, released by MangaGamer in 2014.
Title: Kindred Spirits drama CDs
Release date: April 2016
Accompanying drama CDs for the highly rated yuri visual novel released on Steam earlier this year.
This is a hardcopy of the sex-focused game from Innocent Grey’s sister company Noesis (both under Gungir) released by MangaGamer in 2015.
Well, Sekai Project very clearly stole the show on Day 1 with their Maitetsu announcement! Their other two announcements pale in comparison, but they’re titles I’ll definitely pick up on Steam, and it’s nice to see them continuing to support smaller/indie developers from different countries.
MangaGamer’s announcements were a little disappointing for me personally as I haven’t played the first ImoPara, and I’m not interested in drama CDs or hard copies, but I’m sure fans of these franchises will be pleased.
It looks like MangaGamer won’t have any more new announcements until Anime Central in May, so I’ll be looking forward to that. And I’m not sure if Sekai Project will have anything left for Anime Boston tomorrow, but we’ll see!
What did you think of today’s announcements? What are you looking forward to the most?