As you may have already noticed of late, we've recently reviewed and covered a number of translated visual novels from MangaGamer on these hallowed pages (with more to come incidentally) - As an extension of that coverage, the company have very kindly fielded a number of questions both from ourselves and our readers, the result of which is the interview that follows. So, if you want to know more about MangaGamer and their releases, and particularly if you're looking for some teasers on their forthcoming products, read on!
Before we start, I'd just like to extend a huge thank you from all of us here at UK Anime for taking some time out to answer our questions.
To kick off, would you like to explain to some of our readers who might not yet be familiar with you who MangaGamer are and what they do?
Certainly. My name is John, though those who follow us on the forums and the staff blog will probably recognize me better by my handle, Kouryuu. I currently work for MangaGamer as one of their translators. The games I’ve worked on are Soul Link, Edelweiss Eiden Fantasia, and Kira Kira Curtain Call. Our company, MangaGamer, licenses visual novels for release and distribution in English. Some of you might recognize visual novels by one of their many other names: bishoujo games, eroge, H-games, etc.
What is your particular role within the company and how long have you been a part of MangaGamer?
I first joined the company last year after Otakon, a convention in the US, so around late July or early August. I signed on with the company as a translator and worked on Soul Link, followed by Edelweiss Eiden Fantasia.
While I was working on Edelweiss Eiden Fantasia, I began running our staff 'blog. Our editor occasionally contributes to it as well, but I’m the main contributor. I started the 'blog hoping to discuss things that arose during translation, provide extra tidbits for fans, and create an additional realm for discussion of things in addition to the forums we already ran. Hopefully, it may have more contributors in the future.
Not too long ago, I also received a few suggestions that it might be worthwhile to also manage a Twitter account, so I now handle that as well, posting various minor updates and news as well as communicating with our fans.
Currently, I’m in charge of editing Koihime Musou and a few other games.
With so many visual novels released in Japan, how does MangaGamer go about selecting which games to attempt to license and translate? Are those decisions affected by customer feedback and requests at all?
They are affected by the feedback and requests we receive, believe it or not. Currently, we’re slightly limited to the companies we already have arrangements with: Overdrive, Circus, Navel, and Nexton’s various sub-companies. Most of our current and upcoming catalog comes from these groups. However, we have been trying to take user requests into account. For example, one of the requests we’ve received was for games with a bit more of a gaming element to them, so we’ll be working on one from Circus in the near future.
We would like to be able to expand our offerings to include other companies in the future, and we are keeping the feedback we’ve received in mind for when we start taking that first step.
What was the thinking behind the decision to make "All ages" versions of some of your titles? Is there a lot of work involved in transitioning an otherwise adult game to be suitable as an all ages version?
Perhaps I should clarify that our definition of “All ages” means no adult content. Higurashi was originally all ages, but the BBFC would certainly rate it at a 15 or an 18. However, we wanted to create a version of our site that would allow those who were under-age a chance to enjoy as many of our offerings as we can. We’ve also received a few requests to offer an All-ages alternative for some of our games. To answer this request, we chose Kira Kira, which already had an all-ages version thanks to its offering on the iPod and made it available on our site as well.
In Japan, the transition to an All-ages version often involves rewriting some of the game text to adapt for the changes made by the removal of certain scenes. Often, the work they put into making one is more extensive than that. On our end, we would have to translate those new scripts and some other work as well in order to produce an All-ages version.
With all of that in mind, do you have any plans to convert any more titles to include all ages versions in the future?
Looking at the sales of our All-ages version of Kira Kira, I’m not sure when we’ll decide to make such a move. However, we do hope to continue adding games to our All-ages catalog as time goes on.