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Why I won't be buying If My Heart Had Wings

Written by sanahtlig

This is an opinion piece and represents the opinion of the author. It does not indicate one way or another the stance or policy of the Fuwanovel community.

Background:

MoeNovel is a new face in town, joining JAST USA and Mangagamer as one of the few companies committed to localizing Japanese visual novels. The company appears to be a subsidiary of Will and is also connected to Active Gaming Media (who worked on Demon Souls).  For more about MoeNovel, see this article on VNTLS.

MoeNovel’s debut title is “If My Heart Had Wings” or KonoSora, one of Pulltop’s most successful story-driven eroge.  KonoSora won 3rd place in the 2012 Getchu Bishoujo Game Awards and 1st place in the 2012 Moe Game Awards.

The problem:

Unfortunately, to appeal to a wider audience in the West, MoeNovel and their partner Pulltop have decided to remove a wide swath of mature content.  No, not just H-scenes.  They’ve altered kissing CG, removed sexual humor, covered up panty shots, and even redrawn a wet shirt to hide the bra underneath.  They’ve rewritten an entire route (Ageha’s) because it revolved around the theme of progressing from sexfriends to lovers.

Below is an example of the rather unnecessary CG alterations MoeNovel made (original on top, altered image on bottom).

konosora-censorship-insert-2

To put the scope of the cuts in perspective:

  • H-content: The original game had 17 H-scenes: 3-4 per heroine.  Obviously these were cut entirely.
  • Written content: The localized release has 12% fewer lines, reflecting a considerable content gap that was not filled.
  • Art: An estimated 50% of the CGs were discarded or modified.  This is based on a breakdown of ero / non-ero CG in the original, and includes small variations on the same CG.  Take it with a grain of salt.

The translation quality is also not very good, and reportedly it’s downright awful in certain sections.  I’m less concerned about this, but you can see examples of issues here

My response:

I’ll be blunt: this is basically 4Kids all over again.

MoeNovel has taken a pervy Japanese love sim and tried to rub out all the pervy elements so its primarily American audience won’t be turned off (hard copies of its title are only available in the US).  While its actions alone are enough to raise ire, MoeNovel has added fuel to the fire with careless quips like this:

For example, we want 12 year old French girls who like anime to know about [our title] as well, and make it so that there is no problem appealing it to these girls.

12-year-old French girls?  You expect 12-year-old French girls to:

  1. Buy a game from an online shopping site
  2. in English
  3. That’s a text novel (in their 2nd language, assuming they know English)
  4. That puts the reader in the shoes of a male protagonist, and is
  5. About falling in love with one of several high school girls

That – doesn’t – make – any – sense.  On one hand, it suggests MoeNovel is completely clueless about who their target audience should be.  Even worse, the implication is that MoeNovel has aggressively altered content, beyond what was necessary to get their target rating, just to make the game appropriate for the tween demographic.

I’m angered by these changes for two reasons: censorship and the loss of content itself.

Censorship

The censorship argument has a moral foundation.  As a free society, we believe that information should not be suppressed simply because others disagree or find it distasteful.  As a society, we have also decided that sexually explicit content is taboo.  Upstanding adults are not supposed to admit they’re into it.  We’ve created a vast shadow empire that deals in erotic goods, out of the condemning eyes of the public, all because we’ve decided That’s the right thing to do (TM).  Ok, that sort of psychological repression is bizarre and creepy, but no harm so far, right?

Unfortunately, this repression has led to the polarization of sexual entertainment.  It’s either porn, or it’s not.  If a work contains sexually explicit content, it’s automatically porn.  And if it’s porn, it exists solely to satisfy the sexual appetite.  Porn cannot be art.  Art cannot have porn.  See the disconnect?  Enter eroge.  Suddenly you have a form of entertainment that doesn’t fit neatly into one of two nice bins we as a society have designated.  But that doesn’t stop people from pounding the round peg into the square hole.  Sure, you have some eroge that are little more than porn with a little more context (the nukige).  But then you have titles like this one where the ero is integrated into the story and illustrates the progression of a romantic relationship.  You can like it or dislike it–but it’s an element that’s there, just like some visual novels have gameplay and that gameplay is part of the work.  But again, we have people determined to pound the round peg into the square hole.  It’s porn, or it’s not.  The people who don’t want porn won’t buy a porn game.  This is frustrating behavior based on a fundamental misconception, but still not a problem.  But the issue is that it’s a taboo.  It’s insidious.  In theory, you could satisfy both sides of the fence (current eroge fans and the sexually repressed majority) by releasing two versions.  Sadly, that disregards the fact that this is a TABOO.  If the game becomes associated with porn, it’s a porn game.  Mainstream media won’t cover it.  Mainstream channels won’t market it.  Mainstream outlets won’t carry it.  Mainstream buyers won’t buy it.

This circles back to why this is fundamentally censorship.  To appeal to the moral majority, an official release in English CANNOT have sexual content.  Period.  No menu options, no alternative versions, no ero patches.  MoeNovel was forced to make a mutually exclusive choice: market this as a porn game, or market it to the mainstream.  By caving to the mainstream’s demand to dissociate their title from porn, they’ve deprived the English audience of the rightful opportunity to experience the work in its original form, with its original content.  They’ve remodeled their work to appease Western political sensibilities.  They’ve committed censorship.

Loss of content

I’ve already discussed the particulars of the content losses.  As for my personal opinion, I’ll be honest: I play eroge because they’re pervy.  I also played the Ar tonelico series because it was pervy.  Eroge offer an experience I can’t get in any other medium: no other medium provides the same seasoning of ero content without being just about the sex.  I want pepper on my meal.  I don’t want my pepper taken away, nor do I want a meal of pepper.  Yes, the meal is still edible without the pepper, but it doesn’t taste as good.  However, I’m sure others would prefer the same meal without pepper.  But since most of us belong to the Spice Club, and pepper is the most widely available and used spice, a lot of us are rather partial to our pepper.  And if you prepare a meal for me and replace the pepper with salt–I’m not going to pay for the meal you just ruined, and I’m certainly not going to tip you (and I’m going to go back to the Spice Club and tell everyone there not to go to your restaurant).  Pervy content (including ero) in Japanese media is much the same to me, and probably many others.

Looking forward:

MoeNovel has stated that they have close ties to Pulltop, and currently have no plans to work on non-Pulltop titles.  Pulltop’s entire lineup is eroge.  Shirokuma Bell Stars♪is the only Pulltop title with an all-ages release in Japan, and that was for PSP.  Thus If My Heart Had Wings is only the first step in a long journey down the path of censorship.

Despite my personal opposition to MoeNovel’s chosen path, my broader stance is more ambivalent.  I want the visual novel genre to grow in general, and eroge to gain popularity in particular.  But would MoeNovel’s success help or harm the English eroge market?  I honestly don’t know.  On one hand, attracting people to all-ages visual novels could eventually trickle down into more interest in eroge.  On the other hand, MoeNovel’s success could undermine the eroge market by convincing Japanese developers that censorship is the path to profitability in the Western market.  There’s no telling which of these opposing forces would win out.  This uncertainty is what keeps me from actively seeking MoeNovel’s ruin, or encouraging others that would do so.

Fan restoration project:

A fan group led by RusAnon is planning to reinsert the H-scenes, revert content edits, and possibly translation-check the game as a whole. These changes would be available in the form of a patch that would be compatible with the official English release.  News link here (NSFW).

I support this effort, and I encourage others to do the same.  However, release of this patch will not affect my decision to not purchase If My Heart Had Wings.  As long as MoeNovel ignores the existing fanbase and continues down the path of censorship, I refuse to support them.

About me

I’m a longtime player of both Japanese and English language VNs.  I’m a regular customer of both JAST USA and Mangagamer, and I support faithful and uncompromising localization of VNs as they were originally meant to be enjoyed–and I encourage others to do the same.

About the author

sanahtlig

67 Comments

  • I see your point, but I am also greatful that VNs are being spread legitimately in the US; so I personally choose to support the project, regardless of how annoying the censorship might be…I’m a bit disappointed in MoeNovel and Pulltop for ignoring the wishes of their existing fanbase, but I’m glad VNs are being spread, regardless of how.

      • That’s only part of the story though, and not a very big part at that. Problem is, entire character routes are being rewritten and changed from how the author originally intended them to be, fundamentally changing the characters.

        I’m going to bet a hundred bucks that there’s going to be points in Ageha’s route that makes no sense whatsoever, and completely flies in the face of who her character is. This is why censorship is a problem.

    • NameAhige, apparently you don’t need quality or a good translation either.

      There’s no point supporting a company that shits on a visual novel, and then to add insult to injury, don’t even properly translate it. It’s filled with errors and horrible english. It’s like they google translated and just prettied that up a bit.

      People are so easy to scam these days, I swear. People need to stop being blind and throwing money at things for no reason.

      • I don’t see why people are so butt hurt over this. Some people like it clean, some people like it dirty, big deal.

        The translation is a problem if not done well, I admit, but other then that I agree with NameAhige. I don’t need any hentai in a visual novel. I don’t mind a little fan service, but hentai is unnecessary in my opinion. I see no problem with them trying to appeal to a new group of potential customers.

        There are plenty of eroge VNs out there, you and the Spice Club can have those and leave the clean ones for the rest of us.

        • The problem with If My Heart Had Wings wasn’t because content was removed. It was because it was removed exceptionally poorly, with alterations that were overreaching. They kept in entire conversations about breasts, except they replaced the word breasts with eyes, that kind of thing. It was a really ham-fisted way to handle censorship that rubbed everyone the wrong way. They ended up with a drastically worse product as a result. I say this as someone who has enjoyed several all-ages versions of eroge and even prefer the all-ages versions in a handful of cases.

  • We fans should all follow. To buy such a bad release is to surpport and show that such awful work is acceptable. MoeNovel is incompetent and its best if they don’t ever release another VN if this is the kind of terrible release we get. The morons alienate the very people who would buy it.

    • You know it’s bad when you go onto Erogegamer’s page for it the day it came out, and the first handful of comments are people talking about how they don’t even want to pirate the game because it’s such a bad example of how to translate/release a VN into the western market.

  • Really nice article here, I agree completely.

    Really hope MoeNovel changes their stance on censorship for their next release but I really doubt it. The only thing that can persuade them are sales numbers; if no one buys the product, it won’t be profitable and MoeNovel will be forced to target a different audience.

    I personally won’t be buying any MoeNovel products and I urge anyone else that cares about censorship do the same.

  • I definitely agree with your article. I was interested in the game at first, excited even when I first heard about it, but things quickly took a turn towards disapointment.

  • wow,not even in early 2000 they went as far as this with censorship…and rewriting a route? thanks that patch is being made,this thing without it sounds unplayable…

    …removing kissing…funy thing is,girls,little and old the same,LOVE kissing scenes…

  • spreading VNs (eroge) outside japan officially is not good in my opinion…..and japan must not do that..for the fans depending on the fan translating teams is better than other official company and the people how don’t know what its VN (who these companies alter the content of the visual novel to suit them) leaving them is better

  • Same for me i agree with you , i’m french and like your example , i don’t think a lot of peoples in france ( i talk about those who are under 18) will buy it , like you said because for that they need to buy it from an online shopping game site and it’s a text novel what is not really popular in france ( sadly , in france manga are really popular but light novels and visual novels are unknown) and the real problem is the fact that the game is in english , for 12 years old french kids just some few people will understand the game because with what we learn just at school they can’t have enough knowledge for play a game in english . Me i learnt english with the worst method , i learnt with eroge translated in english , i had some knowledge of japanese because of animes so i learnt pretty quickly and i think with just 4,6 months i had a better knowledge of english than everything i learnt at school for all my past years. It’s one of the reasons why i’m really grateful to fan translators .

    And what i really loved in your article is when you talked about the whole part about loss content with the pepper on your meal , i tottally agree ( i thought some peoples understand me with tears ) . I play eroge for perv too for be honest , but i don’t want a meal just of pepper , i want just my meal with pepper , games like G senjou no Maou , Deardrops and Fate Stay night have a really good story and i loved them , H scenes were just a spice , i wanted this spice with the game ,without i’ll still eat it but it will not have the same good taste

  • I downloaded this VN and i found it really cute. Then I went online and found all this stuff about how the original VN was. I got kinda disappointed. I personally liked this version of it but I really wish they kept it how it was. They should have worked on the translation more and maybe they can re-release it with everythng in it. We just need to make sure they know how much of a big deal it is too us.

  • Great article there, but as so many said before me, I don’t really believe MoeNovel will change it’s stance on this and any possible future projects. It’s a shame really.

  • Damn, I really don’t like when they omit honorifics or when they translate it to different things :/ honorifics are important, they show closeness and all that between the characters, is it that difficult to add a -chan or -senpai after a name? Some people said to me that you can hear it anyway, but what if I pay more attention to the text than the voices? :c It’s my opinion, though.

  • Please keep your opinion to yourself , I don’t give a shit. I honestly can’t understand why people criticize Moenovel so much. It’s up to you whether you want to buy something or not. It’s like when I go to a supermarket and buy toilet paper, if i couldn’t wipe my butt clean, I chose other brands. I don’t go around moaning about how bad it was (unless you are a girl). I think people should appreciate what Moenovel is trying to do here. Surely I don’t like censored contents as much as you do, but as least they’re translating something here. Why don’t you just chill out and see what they have in store in the future

    • Please keep your opinion to yourself , I don’t give a shit. Chill out.
      Appreciate Moenovel for such drastic censors & poor translation? If there was ever a time we fans should be complaining this would be it as it can’t get worse that this.
      Do you also think anime fans shouldn’t be against 4kids releases ethier?

      Actually I’d be fine wth a normal all-ages version but they have gone beyond that.

    • i dont agree with this article either.

      i also dont think they deserved any more bad press.

      but, i’m not a collectivist so i believe that every1 speaking honestly is the only way, and that is even if it reduces their sales.

      and plus, only moenovel knows the numbers. it is not clear yet whether the all-ages move was worth it. perhaps the 18+ audience isn’t worth it? We don’t know that yet, although the siliconera article sure paints it like theyve stuffed up http://www.siliconera.com/2013/07/04/new-visual-novel-publisher-moenovel-say-they-wont-give-up-on-the-west/ i think they profited.

    • “but, i’m not a collectivist so i believe that every1 speaking honestly is the only way”
      I hope that’s not a veiled poke at me!

      ” I honestly can’t understand why people criticize Moenovel so much.”
      Then it looks like I failed to get my ideas across clearly. Although, it’s puzzling that you say you “don’t give a shit” about my opinion yet you bothered to write such an acerbic reply.

    • “Please keep your opinion to yourself , I don’t give a shit. I honestly can’t understand why people criticize Moenovel so much.”
      I don’t want to sound rude, but dude, what the heck are you talking about? He simply share his personal point of view. That’s all. If you don’t care about his opinion, why are you answsering him on the first place..?

      “I think people should appreciate what Moenovel is trying to do here.”
      You are probably trolling, aren’t you?
      You really didn’t grasp the problem. The issue here is about HOW Moenovel intend to bring eroge in the west. Their way they are approaching is not really the right one. And no, it’s not simply about H scenes.

    • The reason why I’m bother writing this is because I’m actually care about the market. Just imagine this,if nobody buying their stuffs in the end what would happen? They would go out of business, in that case who really suffer a loss here? People who really want to play visual novels in english ! I’m not buying a DVD with censored contents here, I’m buying hope. I hope that by giving a little amount money I have, Moenovel will bring more visual novel to the west with original contents. Sure, I don’t know if they will change their policies or not, but because I love vns I’m willing to take the risk.
      @sanahtlig I just want to tell you this if you’re really “a longtime player of both Japanese and English language VNs” like you said, then just buy yourself a Japanese copy already.

    • “if you’re really “a longtime player of both Japanese and English language VNs” like you said, then just buy yourself a Japanese copy already.”
      I play Japanese titles through machine translation and laborious word-by-word lookup. Notice how I didn’t place much emphasis on translation quality in my argument. If I have no other choice but to pick a title in Japanese, I’m certainly not going to pick a game like this. I’m going to pick a short fetish title, or a gameplay title to ease the burden of processing a language I can barely understand. In summary: even though I could, I really don’t want to play this in Japanese!

      “I’m not buying a DVD with censored contents here, I’m buying hope. I hope that by giving a little amount money I have, Moenovel will bring more visual novel to the west with original contents. Sure, I don’t know if they will change their policies or not, but because I love vns I’m willing to take the risk.”
      That’s…really interesting. I actually wrote the “looking forward” section exactly for people like you. Quite frankly: there is no hope (of uncensored releases from MoeNovel). Unquestioning belief in a better tomorrow isn’t hope. It’s faith. If you want to start a MoeNovel cult, then I won’t stop you. But all available evidence contradicts this expectation. I can repeat the quote from the link in my post:
      “we [MoeNovel] will only localize Pulltop’s visual novels. So we are afraid there will be no other developers’ product in the future.”
      Except for one title which has an all-ages release on a different platform (which Pulltop may not have the full rights to), MoeNovel’s selection of titles is all eroge. MoeNovel has committed themselves to appealing to the mainstream–they’ve stated and restated this multiple times, in every interview they’ve given. As I argued in the post, once they commit to the ero market, there’s no turning back. If you had to make a cold, calculating bet–putting everything on the line–would you honestly bet on MoeNovel doing a 180 and throwing all their marketing efforts to date out the window to release uncensored 18+ titles? This censorship business is expensive. It’s not something one does on a whim to test the waters! You’re not taking a risk. You’re not even gambling. You’re sacrificing goats and praying for your desired outcome.

      If you don’t care about censorship, if you don’t care about pervy content–then go ahead and support MoeNovel. If you do care, then face reality and realize you’re not going to get what you want by continuing to support them. If MoeNovel does end up changing their tune (if!), it won’t be because of support; it will be because of lack of support. But I suspect they’d sooner go bankrupt than give up on their vision (I should add that this outcome doesn’t benefit anyone). If this “miracle” did happen, I’d be happy to support them then, and only then. But the only realistic positive outcome I can see is a realization along the lines of Hirameki’s: that original all-ages releases are less of a hassle and don’t tick off much of the fanbase. This would have to be accompanied by an expansion outside of the Pulltop umbrella. MoeNovel has said such plans are NOT in the pipeline, so this wouldn’t happen anytime soon.

    • “The reason why I’m bother writing this is because I’m actually care about the market. Just imagine this,if nobody buying their stuffs in the end what would happen? They would go out of business, in that case who really suffer a loss here? People who really want to play visual novels in english ! .”

      Assuming a situation where no body is buying their stuff happened,then MoeNovel would need to figure out why that is happening in the first place,and take action to fix the problems . If they don’t then they deserve to go out of business. Taking that loss would be worth it as it’s better then allowing them to stay in business with the same failed business model.

      “”I’m not buying a DVD with censored contents here, I’m buying hope. I hope that by giving a little amount money I have, Moenovel will bring more visual novel to the west with original contents. Sure, I don’t know if they will change their policies or not, but because I love vns I’m willing to take the risk.”

      Why buy hope when you could just force MoeNovel to change their policies by not buying the game,and voicing your concerns about the original content being cut? The tactic worked wonders with the Xbox One’s DRM policies in which Microsoft folded under the pressure of bad press ,and probably poor preorder numbers.

      @ topic in general
      Honestly I don’t see MoeNovel making VNs a bigger thing as long as they keep pissing off one side of the community with censoring,having non native English speaking translators turn the script into something for 12 year old French girls, and fail to get their games on ventures like Steam,or even retail stores for that matter.

  • great article! totally agree with everything you said – there’s nothing stupider than people who want to categorize art as either “porn” or “not porn”, and visual novels/eroge should not be forced into similar categories either…one great example is the current crop of amazing cable television shows: game of thrones, boardwalk empire, the sopranos, etc. – plenty of “adult” content and yet people see these as fine works of art, not pornography just because there are sex scenes as part of the story – eroge should be no different…one of the major hurdles to overcome is many american’s perception that anime/manga/vn’s are just kid’s stuff, similar to the way they think of comics….will they never learn? personally i would not choose to support this company based on censorship alone……..

  • Well i agree with you’re opinion but people are people.
    Iff they see something foreign they tend to dislike it instantly.
    For example the thing octal9 mentioned about the western shows that contain sexy scenes but are accept and the eroge that isn’t.
    Its more about race and country then just porn-not porn.
    We all known asian, european ,american’s etc look different from one another because there different they dont associate there culture with there own.
    So they try to simplify it into simple catagory’s ( foreign things) so they can sort of understand what it might be.
    Iff its something from there own culture they are morelikely to listen to the maker of ( name item ).
    And widen the catagory it might be placed it.
    In cases like game of thron etc it’s accepted because its western and the local mass media allows it to be seen as they will put certaint tags on it like pg-16 ect.
    So the mainstream mass can accept it as non-porn or drama or whatever it might be.

  • I don’t object to the release of more all-ages visual novels; I encourage it. But man, they chose the wrong game. They should have chosen a game that either A) has no eroge content, or B) already has had an all-ages version released. Not a game with 3-4 sex scenes per route, which is higher than average.

    Trying to market an eroge with the ero content edited out to 12-year-olds is a bad idea, too. If any kid Googles the game they just bought, they’ll soon find out it’s a censored eroge, and they’ll start stumbling across HCG on blogs such as this one.

    Just a bad idea all around. I applaud the people behind the Restoration patch, though; only that can get me to buy this game.

  • Great Article and I agree with everything on it 100%, I don’t even want to pirate this as all of my want to even read it has pretty much died which honestly surprises me as it looked good, maybe il try it out once (if) the whole restoration patch hits.

  • Still somthing bother me , things like Games of thrones with some H scene don’t bother but just kiss scene or hug scenes or perv jokes from VN are bad ?

    • Welcome to the hypocrisy of censorship. The newer your medium, the less money you have to lobby and the more you’re oppressed by the media and politicians who need a political football to kick.

      TV and movies still have the rating system which is a remnant of when they were more oppressed, but it became mostly worthless as the industry earned money and pushed back against stupid rules like only 3 seconds of consecutive kissing. That’s why you can watch Game of Thrones, or Dexter.

      In contrast, U.S. comics were given the Comics Code Authority, so they were forced into a niche of targeting children/manchildren and never made enough money to lobby, resulting in Japan developing superior comics. And visual novels are niche because they’re only 15 years old and originated from porn with weak stories. Similarly, the Internet is a war zone but there are various companies like Google which actually have money and are lobbying against censorship purely because they need to avoid culpability when the censors can’t keep up with the content creators…

  • I agree with your post as the majority in here.
    I play these games because of the ero themes in it and the jokes. I also read them because of the story.

    They want to sell it to 12-year-olds? WTF? These works are targeted for adults even in Japan. They should choose something all-age… Although, on the other hand, some eroge are made into all-ages too.

    Personally, I don’t like any content alternations at all. It can change the original into something completely different and give the wrong idea about a work.

  • Too tired of the controversy to respond to the overall post, but in MoeNovel’s defense, they’re aiming for the anime-buying demographic, and a certain % of harem anime watchers (as long as the anime isn’t plotless ero) are girls. Obviously Clannad would count, but even a show like Shuffle has a surprising amount of female fans (relatively speaking) who have watched it and will offer opinions on which girls they want Rin (the male lead) to be with.

    So I don’t see how it’s impossible for a 12-year-old girl to like KonoSora. But that was just an example of the diversity of MoeNovel’s target audience, not a demographic MoeNovel is counting on for sales, so no need to react to the phrase “12-year-old girl” like you’ve been shot, people.

    Lots of exaggerated opinions in this controversy can basically be shot down by saying “No, Japan already censors visual novels for console ports and anime adaptations and those things are capable of selling, so their business model isn’t nonsensical.” Not all of them, though.

    • “So I don’t see how it’s impossible for a 12-year-old girl to like KonoSora. But that was just an example of the diversity of MoeNovel’s target audience, not a demographic MoeNovel is counting on for sales, so no need to react to the phrase “12-year-old girl” like you’ve been shot, people.”

      I believe the appropriate term is “pandering”.

    • I have a different way to argue this problem. What 12 year old has the money to afford the game? I remember at 12, I was thinking a 5 dollar item was out of my price range for an impulse buy. $20 was my allowance for two weeks. It wasn’t until midway through college that I finally thought that it’d be okay to buy a $10 graphic novel every month. And it wasn’t until I started working that I could finally set aside $100 to freely spend every month.

      Unless they can sink more money into advertising, like on Cartoon Network and the like, they’re not going to popularize the game enough to encourage kids to save up and buy it.

  • i dislike the amount of censoring as well, but i supported MoeNovel because i like the idea of getting a VN that is -only- an year old officially localized. and besides, i kinda had a feeling that some saint was going to make a third party patch to add in a lot of the removed stuff 🙂

  • Hello I am a member of the No-Spice club (´・ω・`)

    Okay in all seriousness, yes, I openly admit that I prefer no-ero VNs over ero VNs. I paid for the Kira Kira all-ages version and not the regular version. So, of course, I can’t help being a little bit biased.

    As for the actual amount of censoring, I think people are blowing it out of proportion. I am playing it right now and I still see a copious amount of perverted jokes. So really the people saying that moenovel is going too far because they cut out the adult humor are the people who don’t even bother to do a little bit of research.

    As for CGs I don’t think the editing they made makes a significant difference, but maybe that’s a subjective opinion. Since I’m the kind of person who focuses more on the text over the CG I can get the point that the mc walked into her room and can see her panties because it is written in the text; and I can get the point that two characters are sharing a romantic kiss as described in the text. I don’t need an image shown in my face to stress the point.

    Another thing that I have a hard time agreeing with is people saying that Moenovel should have chosen a game that was originally ero but already had an all-ages version in Japan. Since moenovel is under willplus, all the editing they did was sanctioned by the original developers of the game. Hypothetically, if they were to release an all-ages version in Japan, I think it would have the same parts cut out and rewritten (but they would probably keep the CG unedited). Any of the all-ages versions of originally ero games released in japan that I have played had that pattern. They don’t just simply cut out the sex; they rewrite the story to make it such that the sex would never happen in the first place. A good example is the Kanon All Ages version.

    Really what is most annoying about their work is the quality. Lots of instances of bad grammar here and there. While it isn’t as bad as that old Flyable Heart fan translation, that still doesn’t excuse this sort of quality for a paid product.

    • “Another thing that I have a hard time agreeing with is people saying that Moenovel should have chosen a game that was originally ero but already had an all-ages version in Japan”
      You’re absolutely right. Localizing ONLY an all-ages version of an eroge, solely based on the political implications, is still censorship. Unlike some people, I don’t believe in some black and white code of censorship such that if censorship has occurred, I refuse to support the release. Some types of censorship are more acceptable than others. Alterations purely for the Western market are the worst kind. Alterations for the Japanese market, followed by us only getting the altered version, is STILL bad. But it’s a little less bad. Less bad enough that I wouldn’t feel morally obligated to oppose them, because *new censorship is not being created*.

  • Totally agree with everything that’s been wrote, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of ero stuff but I’m dead against them redrawing CGs and rewriting a whole route!
    And I also don’t really see a point in saying that 12 year olds would be buying this, cuz normally 12 year olds aren’t interested in visual novels and I’m pretty sure that they won’t amount to the number of eroge fans who won’t be buying this

  • None of Pulltop’s eroge really interest me, but I hope no other Japanese developers take notice of this release and decide they’d have a better shot at Western profitability by censoring their VNs.

  • Just finished Ageha’s route and here are my thoughts on it, for anybody interested: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200402266483319

    tl;dr Ageha’s route was NOT ruined by the removal of the H scenes. There was only one kiss CG removed (the first picture in the post). The removal of perverted jokes is inconsistent because most parts have them, but one or two were altered when they shouldn’t have been.

    But yeah there are numerous instances of bad translation. Not enough to make the game unplayable, but bad enough that there are lines of text that make no sense at all.

    • If you read sanahtlig’s post you will see that Ageha’s route being rewritten was the main complaint,and not really the H scenes being removed.

      People were upset over the censored kissing scenes as people are viewing it as unnecessary censorship,and not something that ruins the story itself. There really is no good reason why the kissing scene had to be censored as it wouldn’t have pushed the ESRB rating past a T rating,and the content is suitable for the target group that Moe Novel is going after.

      Ageha’s route being rewritten is probably why the jokes ended being cut which caused the inconsistency. MoeNovel was more worried about watering down her route enough for a T rating,and appealing to 12 year old girls then the jokes being consist for the most part.

    • I doubt they rewrote the events of the story such that it was totally different. It feels like they just cut out the h scenes, but went through with the same flow of the story.

      And if they did rewrite everything in the story, then I’d say they did a pretty good job with it because it was a nice story.

      But yes, the removal of the tongue-in-mouth kissing scene wasn’t really necessary. Neither was it necessary in the story so I am remaining neutral on that point.

    • Here’s another view of her route from someone that played the English version.
      ” I’ve started to read Ageha’s route. The whole thing is just confusing, they didn’t bother to replace the erotic parts with something else and all the characters reference it. Namely, they think the MC and Ageha have hooked up (while there’s no actual reason as to why they should say that), and vaguely mention that both characters did indeed have sex. It’s pretty confusing since it’s just a huge chunk of the story taken out without having anything to replace it, and well, you can’t help but feel lost.”-zatrox

      Pretty much this is where the sex friend part of the script would come into play as it would explain why they are making out while not in a true love relationship yet.

    • I dunno, I kinda feel differently on that. They think that Ageha and Aoi have hooked up because they are starting to get closer to each other, and the other characters notice that Ageha’s actions are starting to affect Aoi pretty heavily. I also don’t remember any references to sex shown. They only action they alluded to was that they kissed.

      And you don’t really need to be sex friends in order to explain them making out without having a relationship. The struggle Aoi is feeling, namely “Why would Ageha kiss me if she doesn’t like me” would have entail the same reaction as “Why would Ageha have sex with me if she doesn’t like me”

      The only part that was confusing was way before that (part where aoi gets rumors with other girls) because the translation was terrible in that part.

  • Sorry, but i think this is super stupid, at least in my opinion, visual novels don’t need to have fanservice and sex scenes to be fun, at least for me, they need to have an decent story, charismatic characters and good drawing. Go play some visual novels like Umineko, Higurashi and Symphonic Rain, and I think you should buy it (If my Heart had Wings) it has an awesome story, cute heroines and AWESOME graphics and if you want sex scenes so badly, just apply the restoration patch. 😉

    • missing the point/10

      This is not about the content itself, Clannad did not have “sex scenes” or an 18X version and it is still one of the greatest VNs ever. This is about the act of censorship – the modification of someone else’s original work – for motives other than improving on it.

  • That’s not as simple as the developpers wants to censor that VN. They MUST censor it. If they don’t, VALVe will never allow them to add this VN on Steam. That’s VALVe policy when it comes to VN, no hentai scenes, no scene that could offend people when it comes to sex. I know other games has lots of sex involved (Mass Effet & The Witcher on Steam as an example), I agree that it’s dumb. However, I was thinking to buy that VN if it was to be released on Steam, and thankfully it will. Besides, I’m pretty sure you can restore all the censored stuff if you own the uncensored version.

    • Of course they have to censor it, but it doesn’t mean that they cannot take the time to quality check the story after the changes.

      You need to cut stuff out, that’s fine. At least fill in the gaps properly afterward. And don’t change the tiramisu to a pound cake in the process. I’d like to enjoy a story as close to the original writer’s vision as possible, thanks.

      And speaking as a programmer, your suggestion of restoring the censored stuff is pretty unreliable actually. In the perfect world, you’d be right. But I’m not holding my breath. There are all sorts of ways that steam support can alter the game engine to the point of making the patch incompatible.

  • I’m only really upset at the loss of story, I’m not really all that upset by the cut H-scenes. The censorship of kisses was taking it a little to far though. I believe this is still a good VN and one I could recommend to my friends who aren’t into this sort of stuff. I just don’t think Moenovel should have localize a game they knew they’d have to censor in the first place. There are plenty of other games- GREAT games with no sexual content that have not been localizes. So even though I just said good things overall the result is loss of richness for an attempt to broaden the market. In other words a much thinner broth of which should have been a hearty stew.

  • Happen to just stroll across this and I am appalled at this action. It defeats the purpose of love itself. When a man falls in love with a woman is it not natural to have sexual relations? I completely agree with you here, seeing as I will no longer purchase this VN either because of these reasons. These guys must be stupid to do this because they just lost the interests of every erogamer and VN enthusiast out there. Localizing a product is localizing a product right. Not deforming it into a monster not of itself. It’s really disappointing and I hope they take a step back from this on their future releases, or they will sink so fast that they won’t even be able to ride the tides.

  • Just to give a slightly different perspective, I am an actual underaged girl who is a fan of visual novels. When I want to read a VN, and I see that it’s officially translated into English, you know what I normally have to do? I have to pirate it if I want to read it, and no matter how much I love the story and want to support the company that produced it, I can’t, because I’m too young to buy it.
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I disapprove of censorship on this level, and menu options or alternative releases are definitely the way I would’ve preferred for them to go. But that comment you made about twelve year old French girls kind of got me riled up.
    I’m fifteen now, but I was actually twelve when I started reading visual novels. I find it to be an excellent storytelling medium, and for a long time now, I’ve dreamed of pursuing a career in writing them. Being young, being female, has nothing to do with anything.
    This might be a bit weird. I apologise if it is. But…really, visual novels are a passion of mine, and it’s irritating when the presence of people like me in the community is ignored. There may not be many of us, but we exist. There are people under eighteen who wish to purchase these stories for themselves, and for us, censored releases are important.

    This might be a little bit…bad, I guess. You wanted something and weren’t given a chance to get it, and that’s usually where I stand instead. I don’t want to be mean about this, but…I was kind of glad that they went with an all ages release. It’s selfish, I know. And I know there’s a sizeable amount of people that just wants me to get a VN that is actually meant for me, so they can have eroge like this, but…
    I got into visual novels precisely because of stories like these. Stories where you get close to cute girls and develop a relationship with them, stories where you pick a girl, go down her route, and learn more about her, endure hardships with her, help her through tough times, stuff like that.
    Most of the good visual novels that let me do that are eroge. (Which is why I’m so excited for CLANNAD).

    I guess, to put it more shortly (I’m sorry if my words aren’t good enough):

    -There is an audience, however small, that can’t purchase visual novels with adult content
    -In my opinion, giving buyers a choice is the best way to go, rather than to force some people to settle for something without the adult content they want, and others to wait many years before they can read it legally
    -Sometimes, your sex isn’t what determines the visual novels you’re interested in (this is not a very important topic, and more of a pet peeve of mine — it should be obvious to people that not everyone wants to BE the protagonist. Some people just want to read a good story, or play if that’s your preferred verb)

    Other than that, I…don’t have much to say. Except that I find this to be a very nice, high quality visual novel blog, and I’m very glad you guys exist and continue to provide us with interesting news and opinions.
    I’ll probably go back to just lurking around after this, so I thought this had to be said.

    • These types of games often come wtih 18+ content; if you are not 18 years old, you shouldn’t play such games.
      Now of course, I’m in no position to tell you what to do, and what you shouldn’t, but think of it is this way:

      If you were to buy a game and new that the creator’s original view was omething different, would you still be happy about playing an ”inferior” version of the game?
      What I mean is, even if you would find the game worse WITH the original, unmodified content, wouldn’t you rather judge a game based on if it’s complete, or not?
      I find it stupid that all-ages releases of these types of games exist, if (should this be the case in *insert title*) the original game has ero content present.

      I myself am 100% anti-censorship, no matter how marginal the change.
      I don’t go in a grocery store of my choice, buy an apple, and expect it to be a pancake, do I?
      All-ages releases and especially the obnoxious Steam crowd just complicate the situation with VN’s in the west, in my opinion.
      Because now, we have a bunch of casuals that hardly give a damn about VN’s and Eroge and just purchase a title in the whim because it’s 60% off during Steam Summer Sale.
      Seeing this, developers like Debonosu follow this example, and keep delivering unfaithful and badly-translated western localisations, realizing that they can make a quick, shameless buck out of a butchered game.
      And here we go, claiming people, that prefer all-ages releases over 18+ releases to ”support the VN scene by making purchases”, while they actually do quite the opposite, because an all-ages release origins from its 18+ counter-part.
      There are rare exceptions, as you already pointed out (like Clannad, for instance), vut the fact is that the vast majority of titles has, originally, H-content in it.
      Heck, even Fate/Stay Night has very few H-scenes in its original release (or so I’ve heard; correct me if I’m wrong).

      Speaking of Fate/Stay Night, while the scenes in question are supposed to be very few, I wonder if cutting them is actually even worse than playing a nukige, or any other VN/Eroge that focuses a lot on ero content.
      In my opinion, if there are such scenes present in such lenghty games and there are just a handful of these scenes present, wouldn’t there be a reason WHY the developers decided to put such scenes into the game?
      I’d expect, in this case, these scenes to have a big emotional impact on the player – if there wasn’t, why would they have included them in the first place?
      It’s a very big game, and I doubt the translators would have included such content if it didn’t add anything to the game, nor would they have included the H-scnes for mere fanservice.

      Well, it isn’t my intention sounding rude to you with my post here.
      But I just think that people should play the original, unmodified game, instead of expecting an all-ages release.
      If you had to pirate VN’s you like, then keep doing so, play them with its 18+ patch, decide on whether or not you would like to support the developers/the release of the game, and make your purchase according to what you would prefer (all-ages or 18+ release).
      J-List allows customers to pay with PayPal, so that’d be an option.
      This said, if you are still a minor, by all means, I don’t want to encourage you to play porn games, but to play a genre you claim to enjoy in what it is supposed to be.
      I didn’t like all the fan-service in the western release of ”Girlish Grimoire: Littlewitch Romanesque”, because it was very out of place at times, if not borderline annoying, yet I would never had wasted money on the all-ages release, despite prefering the content how it is in the all-ages release over the content how it is present in the 18+ release.
      In the case of LWR, it also had content added from its fan disc, to be fair – but, in retrospect, I would have prefered if the original game + fan disc would have been sold separately via a hardcopy (since I don’t waste money on a download, that I might as well could get for free from pirate sites).

      Long story short, this medium is what you make out of it.
      I just wished that the groups of all-ages and 18+ preferer wouldn’t get in the way of each other.
      Because, there are much more casuals buying this stuff on Steam than there are veterans out there that just go with ”authentic” releases.
      At this rate, we will probably have to buy the 18+ stuff as DLC additionally.
      I don’t want to see the western market evolve into that kind of future for Visual Novels, because I too love this medium.

      I’m a collector first and foremost, but I also love this medium.
      And that’s why I’m carefully selecting for what I’m going to use my money.
      In the case of IMHHW, this release isn’t worth a single penny.
      Not sure what else to add to my post, as I pretty much agree with the above sentiments as for why this game is a pathetic release and shouldn’t be supported.

  • Well I came really late to the party… good article though and I wish I had known about this prior to buying the game on Steam. Needless to say I’m very grateful for the fan patch you mention. I just started the game, but the first thing I always do with Steam releases is check if there is anything of the sort. Luckily there was.

    A problem I have with the article though is that the author spoiled what turn Ageha’s route would take. It may seem minor to some, but it’s a big thing to others. Simply saying the entire route was rewritten would have been enough; now I haven’t even been able to make any choices in the game yet and I already know they’ll go from childhood friends to sex friends to something more… I would have wanted to find out by reading. I mean, I have the game already anyway. Reading it is the point.
    Leaving specifics like this out in the future may be something to think about, though I’m saying this about a 3-year old article so it probably won’t account for much.

    Otherwise great article though. I agree about all points raised. What people say about VNs not needing hentai in it may be true, but an eroge is an eroge; not just any kind of VN. I think eroge should do either of these things: release only the eroge, but running the risk of targeting fewer people, or, in my opinion the best solution, release an eroge and all-ages version. It is done quite often already and I know quite some people actually buy BOTH versions if the game is good enough and they want to support the company. There is no reason at all to go out of your way to censor things (this badly…).

    If both versions are released, the problem is solved for all parties. The companies make more money, the all-ages side gets their all-ages version and the eroge side gets the eroge version. I really don’t see why not all companies would do this, though the often closed minded stance of the west is what annoys me most of the time anyway. A different topic I won’t be getting into now, but it’s the one thing that really bothers me. Though the explanation would go really deep (nothing intended here, sorry. Just noticed this when re-reading my post).

    So in conclusion: thanks, good article, wish I had known sooner, please refrain from spoilers next time, however minor they may seem.

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