Attention Little Busters, a new mission is about to begin. But before that, a word on the issues behind Visual Novel localization.
I’m sure many fans of Key or VNs in general are aware of the general consesus of the Japanese communities regarding their visual novels; the idea that their games should stay within the country.
Originally, I supposed that this was an idea born from unawareness of us western fans, but each day I find more and more evidence to the contrary. The Japanese know we exist, but our existence is a threat to the industry. Why is this? It’s because of messy politics of visual novel localization. Even though there is demand in the west for new Visual Novel releases, Japan can’t comply because what can pass for sale in Japan won’t necessarily pass for sale overseas, so the commercial localization of VNs in the west is usually very back door. The problem with taking this back door approach is the legal risks, and most Visual Novel developers are unwilling to accept those risks. Legal issues aside, there’s even the social issues that can occur if the media gets their hands on certain questionable content in Visual Novels, which will inevitably get back to Japan and endanger the existence of the Visual Novel medium in it’s entirety. This is the risk all Visual Novel developers face by localizing their games overseas, and most refuse to accept it. The only solution is when an overseas commercial entity such as mangagamer or JAST USA are willing to take legal responsibility for the games and have them published there. Honestly, if so many Visual Novels didn’t have h-scenes and just included the story, there wouldn’t be a problem at all. The original Little Busters was all-ages, but that doesn’t mean all versions of it are, or that all of Key’s works are. The market would be free to expand without this limitation, but that’s just what I get for being a fan of such a niche industry, ahaha.
Long story short, the issue of VN localization is very messy and complicated, the solutions are never easy. There’s not all that much we can do as fans, except generate interest in the product in hope that certain commercial entites from the east and west decide to shake hands in order to make our dreams come true.
So that’s what we’re gonna do!
My plan is to create a ‘love letter’ tribute video to Little Busters direct toward the Japanese public to be posted on Nico Nico Douga and Youtube to raise awareness of the otaku consciousness outside of Japan. And I’m not going to do it alone; this is a project I want to get as many people as possible involved in. It will become a collaboration by fans of Little Busters from all corners of the globe. I’m still mulling over the actual content of the video, but here’s some ideas I have. I’d love it to contain recorded footage of the fans of LB speaking about their love of the game, what it means to them, and all that. I’d love for the video to be spoken in all sorts of different languages, with Japanese subtitles for any parts not spoken in Japanese. (Not to mention english subs for spoken Japanese) And you can bet there will be muscle dancing. I want to send a clear message to Japan and the world that the Japanese are not alone in their love of this amazing title, that people from all around the world know and love Little Busters. It’s about spreading the love!
First, I’d like to make some things clear. The video will be directed toward the Japanese public, NOT Key specifically. We can hope that Key, and other Visual Novel developers and/or publishers are listening, but that’s not for us to determine. The video may be just the push required, the ripple that will start a chain of events to set in motion the localization of Little Busters, and other amazing Visual Novels. Otherwise it’s just a fun way of expressing our passion. Also, even though I mentioned all the complications of localization, and it’s important to keep in mind, I have a clear idea of one message I’d like to establish in the video. Feel free to discuss this with me if you disagree with it. Something like this…
“We know the issue of VN localization is messy and full of complications, but we around the world will continue to hope. To show the whole world that we love Visual Novels, and Little Busters especially, and continue to hope that someday these games will be playable worldwide.”
We are not activists. We are fans of this game, expressing our love for it in an honest way. We hope for that something will change, but we are not fighting to that end. This video is first and foremost a love letter.
But keep in mind, I’d much rather we avoid any talk of the h-content from Little Busters! EX. Talking about it could cause some issues, as I outlined earlier.
So, the first step is I need to generate interest in this project. I’ll link to this post all around the internet, and I’ll ask that anybody who believes this project holds merit do the same on my behalf. Once momentum has built up enough, I’ll ask for people to translate this post into different langauges to further spread it’s reach. (As of now, the project has reached English and Spanish communities) Once a global community of spirited Little Busters has been established, the action phase will begin.
I’ll start recruiting people to take up different jobs for this project. It’d be really helpful to get a Japanese person familiar with the local otaku and Little Busters fandom to help in best communicating the video to the Japanese. I’ll need a skilled individual or individuals to best edit the video. I’ll need people to translate different langauges into Japanese subtitles, to provide Japanese scripts and probably speak a bit of Japanese. And of course, I’ll require the cooporation of everyone interested in sharing their love of Little Busters on video, or maybe even through text somehow or other methods somehow. It’d be great if we could get groups of fans meeting up in different places around the world to record their videos together. I want something that really speaks to the Japanese, to truly convey our love.
But this all begins with you. If you believe this project holds merit, show your support, get the word out there and help me! I’ll need all the help I can get, until this is no longer my project, but OUR project. A project by Little Busters fans from around the world.
EDIT: After some discussion with people, I’ve decided to turn this project in a slightly different dirrection. Your efforts are still required, but we’re now required on a much more worthy stage. Please see this post for more details. Thank you for your support, and I hope for your continued support in this new mission!