How muscle took over the world: Project Outline

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!

About Aspirety

Australian J-geek with a passion for Gaming and Writing. Psychology student, Nintendo/Key/Ryukishi07 fan.
This entry was posted in On The Chessboard and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to How muscle took over the world: Project Outline

  1. Pingback: Little Busters Love Letter – Calling out to Fans from Across the Globe « Visual Novel Aer

  2. Nya-chan Production says:

    Count me in!
    KINNIKU WASSHOI!

    – Sanya-nya

  3. Yirba says:

    As I mentioned on Twitter, I’d love to show Key and other VN companies that there are fans of their games all over the world, not just in Japan. Therefore I’m fully supporting this and hope Key and others will start to acknowledge our existence. Good luck, everyone!

  4. Clow says:

    I’m on it!
    I’ll be glad to participate on the project and show the love I have for Little Busters! to the japanese fandom. I plan to spread the word into the spanish fandom as well, I hope many people will join and support the idea ^^

  5. This is a wonderful idea, my comment can not be very long since actually I dont speak English ´very well. But like I said in twitter you have my support 120%. I’m glad Clow_shirow is gonna help you with the Spanish, for us the spanish speakers can participate too. Let’s get the mission started!

  6. Aaeru says:

    I don’t know how to make pretty videos at all, but I’ll tweet the crap out of this. bcuz I luv my little busters~~~ (probably the very VN that made me a mega-fan)

  7. Algester says:

    go ahead try convincing companies and see what they think of it… <_< however its Official Key may not willing cooperate with this idea or certainly companies who had locked out foreign IP

    • Aspirety says:

      Don’t misunderstand, I’m actually trying to step around the heated politics of Visual novel localization. This is a project born from love for the game, and is a completely honest attempt to raise awareness in Japan of the existence of a broader international fandom, in this case specificaly for Little Busters.

      At the moment I’m going to avoid acknowledging about the complications of piracy and fan translation, but my stance may change in the future. I wanna keep it focused on the game and our love for it right now.

    • My thought was sort of along the same line as this in the sense that it’s doubtful the real problem actually has much to do with knowing/not knowing that there are foreign fans. I think it actually doesn’t have much to do with piracy or fan translation either. It’s more about politics and legal protection.

      Some Key works contain content that may not be legal or deemed acceptable in all countries; a number of us posting here in the comments really do live in countries where we could be arrested and charged for having certain Key works in our possession. Key does not want to accept any legal liability for people who played their games in those countries, and does not really have the wherewithal to determine the legal situation in countries outside Japan. They are certainly aware of the foreign fans who buy (or “otherwise acquire”) their works, but they’re legally better off if they can say they had nothing to do with it and do not approve of their games being made available outside of Japan (and even more that they’ve taken efforts to prevent this, because now it proves that the foreign fan deliberately went against their will). To overcome this legal risk, they would hope for a partner who can put down enough cash or has enough clout to prove that they can take on the legal risk and get the needed regulatory approval (infrastructures for which don’t even exist in many countries), and that the venture is otherwise likely to be successful. In the meantime, despite their desire to expand the market, their lawyers are no doubt telling them non-stop that they’re better off keeping their heads in the proverbial sand because they believe that one (more) highly-publicized international incident could harm not only them, but the entire eroge industry.

      Don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to say that this project is a bad idea by any means (sounds like something fun for all the fans), but I think the root of the issue is not at all an “attitude born from unawareness”, but quite the opposite: it’s awareness (or at least perception) of legal risk which we as fans tend to severely underplay. How to combat that is… more complicated.

      • Aspirety says:

        Wow, that was really insightful. I never really thought of it that way, most people try to make out Visual Novel developers as the big bad that hates gaijins, but here you are claiming the opposite. I may need to rethink my approach, but the most immediate solution I can think of right now is to exclude Little Busters EX from the project. At least that way, H-scenes are not longer an issue. Honestly, all ages visual novels should have no significant problems in the legal area when being marketed internationally.

      • Yeah, I definitely don’t think visual novel developers “hate gaijin” in general; I mean, on the surface, they’re potential customers, so what’s there to hate? I think they’re also generally smart enough to realize that piracy in that case is a supply problem (or at least can’t be expected to be solved without supply). What they hate is the thought that their little niche industry could suddenly come under scrutiny by other cultures, and that the foreign market isn’t big enough to make up for the collapse that could result if the eroge industry had to drastically change its ways. The resulting view may seem unwelcoming, but business is all about mitigating risk. That obviously applies less to doujin circles that already exist on the proverbial fringe.

        It’s certainly true that Key has all-ages products that they could put forward, but I suppose the perceived risk is sort of “all people have to do is Google our brand and they’ll find everything else”. I guess it’s a bit of a “security through obscurity” argument. In that sense, increased awareness in any light may be a risk. (Anime based on their properties have of course been licensed, though, so it’s not as if nothing’s out there.) All that being said, it’s probably inevitable anyway; if change is going to take place at any point, they’ll have to face this dilemma. So, like I said, my goal wasn’t necessarily to quash or inspire a change in this project (which seems fun), but more to provide another perspective of what these companies may be thinking. It’s not the fans that are the issue, but the forces from our respective countries that might conspire to tear them down.

  8. Edward Deria says:

    Like I said on twitter, I’m in. I’d love to do anything for the LB fandom, especially show the love for it overseas. I’ll spread the word as best I can.

  9. heavensfeels says:

    This is a wonderful idea, my comment can not be very long since actually I dont speak English ´very well. But like I said in twitter you have my support 120%. I’m glad Clow_shirow is gonna help you with the Spanish, for us the spanish speakers can participate too. Let’s get the mission started!

  10. J.D. says:

    I’ll help however I can~ Even if I can’t do much.

  11. Cybersteel says:

    Clannad made me a KEY fan, Let’s support for this cause!

  12. Aristoteles says:

    I’ll gladly participate, even though I’m pretty sure that I won’t be much of a help. At most, I can provide assistance in Russian and Latvian translation.

  13. Gabriel says:

    Hey! I think it’s a great idea!, I’d like to help. I’m administrating a comunity page about Little Busters of Facebook, and I think that there must be many people willing to help in this project, I’ll post the link to this, and I hope we can be somehow useful to this purpose

  14. KarenMizuno says:

    This is a pretty good idea. I have planned to do some fanart of LB and now I have the opportunity and obligation to do it 😀 I will try to spread the word through fanart and the social networks… And I will try to make a video, if I have time -.-U

  15. Rin-nyan says:

    I’m not really good at English so I don’t think I can help much though…but I would gladly help!! If there’s anything I can do please tell me >w< little busters! forever~ *w* I'm looking forward to the LB anime too

    mino55(at)hotmail(dot)com

  16. DavidLVN says:

    I With You I Love Visual Novels My Fav Was Little Busters I Hope That Visual Novels Become International. Little Busters Yahoo!

  17. ChickenWingz says:

    We could let everybody say “kinniku yay yay!” and let muscle take over the world….

  18. JK says:

    i would love to help make this more open for everybody en breaking the only-japan barrier. i’m not that fond of video’s (at least of myself), but if there’s any way i can help, don’t hesitate to let me know. email: johangerrit@hotmail,com

  19. We MUST start this, I will PERSONALLY see to it!!

    Little Busters nigh changed my life. It is a work of absolute genius; the best kinda slice-of-life that stays with your mind and has you see goodness where you previously thought none existed. It DESERVES to have this project carried out in its name.

    I’ve learnt and publicly performed 2 of its OSTs on piano and used the VN’s logo to prove a point i made on an academic poster I personally presented. I don’t know much about full-blown fanvids but I will be looking to record the piano works on Youtube, and you can be sure I will give this a shout-out. Also, if anything is being organised for UK-based fans, please do let me know!!

    Little Busters Wasshoi!!
    harry.kinomoto(at)gmail.com

  20. Having never bothered with VNs prior, LB! was the first I ever touched, and well, it touched me back! The experience was wondrous, to say the least. Not sure how much I’ll ultimately be able to contribute, but I has a microphone and some people to tell!

  21. VictorLighty says:

    What a nice idea! Man, I really hope this works out nicely. I’m a Key fan from Brazil and I’ve even made a Little Busters Unboxing video that’s now on Youtube. If you ever need sometinhig from me as a representative from Brazil, you can count on me!

    Ritoru Basutasu saiko! o/

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