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Danzai no Maria (Maverynthia)

Danzai no Maria -The Exorcism of Maria-
断罪のマリア THE EXORCISM OF MARIA

Foreword Maverynthia is the hacker and script extractor for Danzai no Maria, a game that is being fan translated at an obscure and remote little area of the internet, http://forum.my-neoromance.com/. My-neoromance forums seems to be devoted to the discussion of all things Otome game and BL. In Maverynthia’s reply, she argued in great detail why otome games aren’t getting the number of fan projects the boys’ eroge are.

Aaeru

Interesting Tidbits
“In the otome community your expected to buy the game to play it while in the harem community, people care less about how you got it and more about what you think of it.”
“In summary, it’s hard to get more girls interested due to this overarching sexism present in the anime community. (See interview for details)”

Exorcism of Maria Contact Details

http://forum.my-neoromance.com/index.php?showtopic=2008

They really need translators that are willing to stay on the project. Please speak to Maverynthia

To contact, please send a private message to Maverynthia at http://forum.my-neoromance.com/

The Interview

Interviewee: Maverynthia

Maverynthia

Exorcism of Maria is a fairly new project? Have you been able to get many more helpers?
I don’t plan to quit. I know lots of groups break up, or get stalled that they just give up, but I will get this game translated!! Exorcism of Maria honestly has been stalled for a while. I am not the translator, just the coder/hacker person that “knew some people”. I managed to get the name script done before the translator quit and then disappeared. I might have found another person to help with it, but she needs a new laptop in order to work on it better. If it gets stalled for too much longer, I might take the TokiMeki Girl’s Side groups route and do an open translation. That seems to be going swiftly and if someone quits, so what, someone else will come along and add a few more lines. :3 Japanese to English translator seem to be a rare species, they are either too picky about how it gets edited or are too picky about what they want to translate, so it’s hard to find help. (Not saying that’s what happened but I’ve been a member of a fansub group that bled translators and was also trying to get a manga translated :C )

1. How did it all begin? What got you started in translating VNs?
Seeing a game I could actually “hack” and get the script out of. I’m not a super leet coder/hacker that can write up something to dump the script out of the common VNs out there, but this game only needs a simple tool and a bit of actionscript no how.

2. Have you played other otome games or BL games before this one? Which one can you recommend?
Yes. I reccommend Yo-Jin-Bo, Princess Debut (even if it is silly), and Alistair++. Those are all good ones with TokiMeki Girl’s Side patch coming out for the DS soon, is another one to look into. I have played Silver Chaos for a BL game, but.. it just didn’t feel the same, maybe because plots of those seem similar. The two I found translations for seemed to be clones of each other.


3. Who are the other people in your team. Can you introduce their names and roles?
Nerefir was going to do the translations. She did the script that listed all the names of people, places and items. I might have another one going to finish that translation soon :3 At such time I’ll drop the name by.

4. Why do you think that visual novels targeted as girls are seeing so little progress in the fan translation scene compared to visual novels targeted as boys? What do you think we can do to get more girls interested?
Hoo boy! Talking about that got me a bit burned. xD The only thing I can say to that is the sexism in the system. Games and VNs that are targeted for men get more response as major game companies ignore the female population or they think that women will want to buy the games anyways. Problem with this is, it’s true. Taking a good look at the women on MyAnimeList that like the otome game based anime also have a large number of the ecchi harem shounen anime on their profiles as well. It’s a simple case of women and men watching something and women just watching something.

I once read a comment left on a Haruka Naru torrent that simple said “this anime is gay!” with a one point/star rating. It’s that attitude that thwarts otome VNs getting done. The fact that it’s not taken seriously like the harem stuff. Which brings me to popularity.

In the harem anime/VN group, you have people exchanging OSTs, artbooks, manga, anime and the games all over the place. So much that you can find anything, and being able to find it means it’s more likely to have someone interested in translating it.

In the otome group you have LOTS of closed groups. Lots of OSTs with strict orders not to share under penalty of death, don’t post this artbook anywhere. Even groups where you have to friend someone, or send an email or have a number of posts before you can see the goods. There’s also what I call Japanese Only snobs. (A bit of a harsh word.) The people that even if an English patch or commercial release IS seen, they won’t buy/use it because they know Japanese and play it IN Japanese and that’s what everyone should do! It’s this kind of closed community that doesn’t allow the popularity to grow. It also tells the Japanese companies that they don’t NEED to consider English as people will just buy the Japanese version anyways. They say piracy isn’t good. However without fansubs, Haruhi wouldn’t have had an impact on the Japanese company to make in jokes about it and have a fan base in the West. In the otome community your expected to buy the game to play it while in the harem community, people care less about how you got it and more about what you think of it. Another thing is meme-ability, how many harem game, anime characters became memes and how many otome game, anime characters have become memes.


In summary, it’s hard to get more girls interested due to this overarching sexism present in the anime community. The few people that appreciate otome games are outweighed by the people that will play anything and don’t care if Haruka Naru ever gets an English release. Also, there is a greater number of men who even know how to create a script dumper for a certain game versus the number of women who might know how to code a scripter. The fact is that the number of men that want to dump an otome game script is very low, as they could be working on that new hentai game that just came out or something. The number of men that are translators that will translate an otome game is probably less than that. However the number of women that work on harem games is far higher than that. It’s the old if it’s for a male audience it’s “normal” if it’s for a female audience it’s “other” and/or also seen as “gay”. Even in the anime community, for some reason, the male populace wants to still be seen as manly.

Though I have a counter question. Looking at the website and the project your working on, why did you choose to do a game that from the looks of it seems to be another harem game? Why choose this game over doing an otome game?

5. What is the best thing you like about Exorcism of Maria! How would you explain to a fan why your game is worth playing?
Really I like a specific character in it called Portugieser. He has that whole “Yes, Master.” computer style going on and I just love guys like that. (He also speaks German by someone that knows German, has either been to Germany for a while or was raised there. I forget the exact bio.) :3 That and the game was something feasible I could do. Explaining to a fan would be hard as the game is about exorcising things and demons. Lots of Christian iconography going on there that many people don’t like. However if one is into demons and angels, priests and nuns. There’s all that going on there. Yes, I’m that shallow to play a game if it only has one male robot/android/servant/summon in it… why isn’t Neo Angelique in English yet!!

6. What about a person who has never played a visual novel before. How would you convince them to take up the hobby (or not take up)?
Taking up playing them? It really depends on the person your approaching. If it’s someone into RPGs or games like Phoenix Wright (Gyakuten Saiban), you have a MUCH easier time (especially the ones playing the latter as is IS a visual novel already.) They are used to reading text and getting involved in the story. People who read lots of books might be a bit easy too, since it’s more like a book with pictures or a Choose Your Own Adventure. Those that only play FPS games, weeee~ll, it’s going to be harder to pin them to a chair and get them to read text box after text box with not much happening on the screen. Though the ones with porn in it might be easier, just tell them if they keep clicking they’ll see something naked. Which really wouldn’t snag a fan, but a person that just would see it as another way to get porn.


Thank you very much for the interview! I hope you will manage to find more permanent translators for the project.

About the author

Tay

I'm the Fuwanovel community admin and a big fan of Visual Novels. The easiest way to get a hold of me is via a PM on the Fuwanovel Forums, by twitter (@ArchmageTay), or by email.

23 Comments

  • She talks about sexism against women the whole what through whilst saying men only want hentai and “harem” VNs.

    Very hypocritical, she is just as sexist. She even called Katahane a harem VN! She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    • How is that sexist?
      Can you name anyone you know that’s male and plays otome visual novels regularly and not as a joke? I’m sure you can name quite a number of women that play the “bishoujo” novels and might run out of fingers doing it.

      You may want to ignore culture and try to put things into black and white, citing that things are equal, but the simple fact that a game corporation has to have an online survey to even consider translating games for women sure paints a different picture about how people feel catering to women in the first place.

      Though it’s fine if you want to dismiss me based on what I said about Hatahane, I call it like I see it. If it didn’t want to appear as a harem game, it would have an equal number of gendered characters.

      • > Hatahane (sic), I call it like I see it. If it didn’t want to appear as a harem game, it would have an equal number of gendered characters.

        Actually, judging from the character page on the official site, it does (if you don’t count Coco, who I should hope is not the object of anyone’s lust, or Lulu, who is, uh… not a major character, anyway.) Shirohane has 1 less male, Kurohane has 1 less female.

      • Pardon me for interrupting you, but I am a guy who plays otome game regularly, and not just for laughs either. I play games for the stories regardless of the genre they’re in, and admittedly, people like me are not in the majority, but I can assure you that many people in the eroge community wished for more story-oriented game to be translated regardless of the genre they’re in.

        I will first admit that there are sexism presented in anime and visual novel community. However, I have to say that one of the more vocal group who voiced disdain for female characters are female. Furthermore, some eroges such as Shikkoku no Sharnoth, and the Upcoming Shiei no Sona-Nyl, the former of which is likely to be translated soon, is written by Hikaru Sakurai, a woman. These games that are targeted toward men have female main characters, whose love interests are male. Although there are moments where they need assistance of their love interests, they were always portrayed as strong, capable lead that can protect themselves. As such, although I do admit that some sexism sentiments still exist in visual novel and anime community, they are not as common as you made it out to be.

        In regards to your comment concerning how katahane looked like a harem game, well, if I go by the same logic, then many otome games will now look as a reverse harem game that contain little to no plot. The point I am trying to make is that “Do not judge by its cover”. Like what you said up on the article, many normal anime fans dismissed otome-oriented games and animes as “gay” because they judge the series just from outward appearance, the same way you’re judging other series as being a generic harem game. I can understand your (potential) concern over the objectifying of women in these games, and I agree; it can be infuriating at times. But I want to say that otome games also objectify men to some degree as well. Of course, this doesn’t excuse certain level of sexism in normal hentai, but feminism doesn’t require you to dismiss men in order to improve the standing of women.

        This is the point that you presented in the reply below, but I will address here too. I am not sure if you have heard this but the normal eroge community has a big piracy problem. In fact, this lead to many companies banning foreign ip addresses outright and many xenophobic sentiment regarding how foreigners shouldn’t play visual novels altogether. Some games like Rewrite has a drm that allows only Japanese OS to play it, and this is from what I heard but apparently, quinrose, an otome game maker, was going to apply the same restriction (at least in principle) in their latest game until western fans emailed them. Since the otome community is already small, I don’t think it’s unreasonable if they wish to allow the home companies to benefit from some profit. If piracies were allowed openly, then these potential losses of sales (whether big or small) would damage the companies, and can potentially lead to some hostility on their side.

        Regarding your comment concerning the amount of bishoujo-oriented game, I believe that the original poster was referring to Original English Visual Novel, which I also believe contain more otome games than normal bishoujo-oriented ones. I would like to correct a misunderstanding first, though Blazblue story mode contain some visual novel element, they do not have dating options. Some of the games you mentioned like persona 3 portable also contains an option in choosing to be female and allows the player to date men as well. I would like to be the first to say that once I got P3P, I immediately choose to play a girl without any regret for it allows me to play though one of favorite game in another perspective. Games that contained such options that come to mind are Avalon code, Summon knight, Mass effect, and Dragon Age. Of course, the last two are western games, but I don’t think normal JRPG community is as sexist as you say they are. Games in the GUST series generally have female protagonists, and sometime, they even present the choices for the protagonists to choose who to be with. Examples are Atelier Annie, and the recent Atelier Rorona, both of which are fun games that appeal to both males and females I know.

        In the end, while I agree with your sentiment that more otome games should be translated, I do not believe that your opinion and stance toward the community and the normal visual novel and anime in general is the correct one. After all, like how you discredit normal animes and games just from their appearances, people will find it hard to agree with your idea when you’re acting like the people who you disliked in the first place. Therefore, I ask you to please try to research the topic you’re talking about first so that you wouldn’t come out looking ignorant.

  • It’s hardly selfish for people to buy games and then refuse to give them to you for free – it’s a POSITIVE thing that otome communities expect you to buy games. Piracy may help spread awareness of a genre, but rampant piracy makes companies less interested in releasing more PC games, whereas sales encourage companies to develop more titles.

    One important difference is that many female fans find otome games sexist, because they hear about useless wimpy heroines and rapist heroes (not every game, sure, but a lot of them.) The kind of girl who is good with computers and starts projects on her own is, by necessity, much more feminist than a helpless fainting flower. People who are fixated on being perfectly innocent empty-headed girls do not become hackers. So a lot of technically-minded female fans are more interested in creating their own English games with less-stupid protagonists than in patching Japanese games, especially with the legal issues.

    Commercially it seems like there’s been MORE releases of otome-themed originally english games than bishoujo-themed even though male-oriented anime games have been known about for a lot longer!

    • The flaw in the first paragraph that I pointed out is:
      “…whereas sales encourage companies to develop more titles.”

      ONLY IN JAPAN. That’s the critical flaw there. It’s a self defeating cycle. People buy the games from Japan, more games are released in Japan in Japanese. People buy the games, ad infinatum. The cycle is never broken, the companies never have it thrown in their fact that people are pirating the games because an English patch was made and maaayyybe they might want to translate it to encourage people to buy the English version. I know a lot of people don’t like to take risks with software they can’t even read, and that may or may not work with the patch given.

      Your absolutely right about the otome games with the doormat hero and the rapist style/abusive style men. It’s the aggravating thing about them. Though some people just think they are misunderstood.

      Though I haven’t really seen to many otome games released (of quality) out that by the indie makers. RE: Alstair++ is the only one I’ve seen that captures the “otome” style game really well. (Call me shallow for wanting anime/manga style art in my games that renders most of the English ones to me lacking.)

      Which then I ask, what are these commercial otome games that have been released? That negates all of the Ren’py community releasing the free games, most of those are in WIP state that I’ve seen. I can name two bishoujo styles off the top of my head, “Record of Argarest War” and “Blaze Blue” from Aksys Games. There’s also the whole Manga Gamer line-up, JAST has quite a number of them Don’t forget Ar Tonelico 1 and 2 (3 will most likely follow.) Mana Khemia has a dating element to it, so does Persona 3 and 4. NIS made some small news by releasing the first official Sakura Taisen game in the US with Sakura Taisen V. There have been innumerable games with the “bishoujo” bend to them, also including harem like the old game Azure Dreams. What does otome have? Some small games from Winter Wolves and Hanako, Yo-Jin-Bo, Anima Mundi (mind you it was censored for the English release), Enzai (and I think…one other BL game) and Princess Debut. A small one from Natsume with Harvest Moon DS Cute, however since the Harvest Moons from then on out have usually been dual gendered, labeling it as otome or bishoujo is out. Even then most of those are countered by the all male lead line-up in Rune Factory 1 and 2 (3 is coming out soon I think I heard if it’s not already out). I could keep going with a few other Atlus titles who’s names evade me at the moment, but the point is… what commercial otome games?

      If you want to talk anime… I can throw the October, November and December line-up out there. Out of 45+ titles I think 4 or 5 were shoujo/josei out of those I think 2 were an actual series and not an OVA or Movie, 3 or 4 were labeled kodomo, 4 or 5 were labeled straight shounen (Like DBZ, Bakugan etc.) and not sequels to anime already out, the rest labeled? Ecchi. Harem. Source: Visual Novel Bishoujo/Eroge and one even based on a novel.
      The only otome anime coming out is Hakuoki the second season with around 13 episodes give or take and Starry Sky which is only on the web, so it’s not going to even be on TV. The Heart no Kuni no Alice anime release date is up in the air so it wasn’t in the list, I think that’s 2011 though even.

  • These comments were very interesting for me to read, kudos to the above posters. Most of the points have been covered, and covered very well so far, but I wanted to throw in my two cents.

    Like ignacock, I too am a male who plays otome games; I’ve also been an adamant fan of shoujo manga and anime since I was able to procure them. Often those titles aimed at shounen/seinen are not titles I can relate to, or they hold zero interest for me. However, what I have noticed, is the reverse often seems true in regards to female fans of anime/manga– rarely are they able to recognize a title I say is my favorite, and I definitely have no idea what titles they are talking about sometimes. I cannot and will not speak for the female fans who I have encountered, but I can speak for myself: anime and manga titles aimed at a certain gender often fail to capture that gender as an audience.

    The beauty of otome, eroge, and visual novels in general, well the really good ones, is that they do their damnedest to assimilate the reader into the narrative. With anime and manga, one must really relate to that character to get to the point where one is not just enjoying the title, but living inside. For me, all though VNs are still marketed to certain gender demographics, it’s not the same as when anime and manga takes up the divide. Here, the divide is fluid, permeable– you just need to give the title a chance. When one says “This is otome, bishies for GIRLS gimmegimmegimme,” or “I am male, therefore must avoid anything that doesn’t give me a ton of moe school girls,” you truly are missing out.

    Yes, strong characterizations, art, and a creative, well-written narrative are fabulous, but there’s more to visual novels. It’s not the same as opening manga or a book, or sitting down for an anime marathon– VNs often require more active involvement from their reader.

    I am not going to argue with the fact that most VNs are not made for females or even certain males in mind; this is true, and something should be done about it. I would chop my baby toe off for more strong female protags. Nor am I saying just shut up and play a game without worrying what is between your thighs. What I do argue for is that more people open their eyes to the mechanics of VNs, and the wonderfulness it allows. Often it seems most don’t even realize what has been going on in the very game they’ve just read, how the game has just played them.

  • “The fact is that the number of men that want to dump an otome game script is very low, as they could be working on that new hentai game that just came out or something.”

    That just made me sad. The (predominantly male) eroge hacking community is willing and able, but there haven’t been many from the otome game sphere who have approached people who can help.

    You are correct in saying that otoge interests have been marginalized into an “other” category, but it’s not because working on an otoge is gay or we don’t want to be seen doing gay things — we honestly know little of what’s happening or needs to be done, and the disorganized and not-very-visible nature of a segmented otoge community doesn’t help. I haven’t seen a solid, stable, centralized group with a visible presence outside of unpopulated forums with pay-per-click scanlation downloads. If I am wrong about this, then evidently said group isn’t visible enough to me, whom you would cite as a “harem” game fan.

    What you are accomplishing right now with this interview — reaching out and telling people that you and the otome game community exists — is exactly what you need to do. I had no idea that My Neoromance even existed, and the fact that the last main page update was in July of last year is a testament to what looks like — but probably not is — a small, dying community.

    I would genuinely love to see otome game translations rocket to success, but unless the otome game community gathers together and somehow makes some comprehensive noise, nobody will know you’re there.

  • Do you have any evidence at all to support your claim that English patches would encourage localizers to bring otome games to the West? This is not quite gaming related, but a lot of anime/manga companies got burned in the early-to-mid 2000s when they assumed that the same viewers who read/watched something for free would also be willing to pay for it if it was licensed. A lot of people follow free series precisely because it’s free. Ask them to pay and they’ll change their tunes in a hurry.

    • well I think those people who turn away were a lost cause to begin with so they are counted out as potential money-spending audience.

      Hakuoki has the anime attachment so I think Aksys is gambling on that. basically I agree with this article: http://www.gameranx.com/features/id/4284/article/are-otome-games-the-next-big-thing/ Otome-ge is not likely to see a niche boom at all any time in the near future.

      So what other way is there to bring these games to the West otome-ge have zero exposure here. I don’t see any other way. Fans don’t become fans by paying $30-40 to experiment with their first title. They become fans when they discover something for free and they try it out.

      • Free stuff definitely helps draw some attention but while there are a couple of Japanese otome games with patches out it seems like there’s a LOT more discussion around the web of

        hatoful boyfriend
        re: alistair
        the various commercial indies (fatal hearts, magical diary, etc)
        the deviantart flash freebies (pacthesis)

        than there is of Starry Sky or the TokiMemo patch. Not that there’s NONE, but it seems like only people who were already knowledgeable about and fascinated by otome games cared enough to get hold of starry sky and figure out how to make the patch work properly.

        or maybe it’s just that starry sky sucks so no one cares.
        i wish someone would patch some better games!

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