MangaGamer Considering Crowdfunding For Visual Novel Localizations

By Ishaan . December 20, 2013 . 11:01am

In a message for fans on the company’s official blog (note: may be NSFW), MangaGamer producer and Overdrive president Hiroshi “Bamboo” Takeuchi, says that he would like to make use of crowdfunding in order to fund future visual novel localizations.


“Every year the number of titles we have keeps growing along with the number of users on our site, so if we keep expanding to about twice the user base and sales we see now, I think we’ll start seeing even more developers joining in,” Takeuchi says.


On the subject of MangaGamer’s future, Takeuchi shares: “I think it would be wonderful if we can form a bridge between Japanese developers and fans abroad. I think it would be really interesting if we could create something to let the enthusiastic voices of fans abroad reach developers in Japan. Also, I’d like to try using crowd-funding to actually gather localization funds and use it to convince other Japanese developers.”


While crowdfunding would be a first for MangaGamer, Takeuchi’s other company, Overdrive, has already used it on two occasions so far—to develop a remake of a game called Green Green (pictured above) and for Kira Kira Kickstart Generation, a “live concert anime” meant to celebrate Kira Kira’s fifth anniversary.

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  • Ladius

    Crowdfunding and niche localizations are a match made in heaven, at least on PC where the steps for publishing games are a bit simpler and don’t usually involve platform holders (aside from digital platforms such as Steam).

    I would gladly support their efforts, especially for All Ages visual novels or quality eroges like the ones in Innocent Grey’s lineup. Of course, a limited edition tier would be even more welcome :P

    • Juuu

      And since InnoGrey’s next title is apparently an all ages title, hopefully that could be a good candidate~! :D

      • Ladius

        You mean Flowers? That’s great news, I assumed it wouldn’t be All Ages because of the developer’s background, but if things are like this it could actually get Innocent Grey a Steam ticket, provided Mangagamer is able to localize and Greenlight it.

        • Juuu

          Yes, currently Flowers is listed as All Ages on VNDB. I mean, it could always change closer to release, but hopefully this will be InnoGrey’s first foray into a new genre. They do have the Noesis sub-brand for titles with lots of ero, so perhaps they’re experimenting with all ages.

      • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

        Whoa, what? Really? Could you tell me a little bit more about it?

        • Juuu

          We don’t know much, since it was just announced today, but the game is called Flowers, and seems to be an all ages mystery title with a shoujo-ai/yuri flair.

          • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

            Nice. I always felt the porn was a bit tacked on in Innocent Grey games. I’d be interested in playing the porn-free PS2 version of Cartagra, and I’ll always welcome a new game!

    • icecoffemix

      I just hope they put realistic goal so the kickstarter can succeed and still be released.

  • TheFoolArcana

    I just want to see SISTERS ~夏の最後の日~ Ultra Edition uncensored. The translation would just be a welcome bonus.

  • InfectedAI

    I’ve been saying for ages that crowdfunding should be used to localize games. Fans get to speak with their wallets to show they want those games and developers get to localize with minimal risk. Set a goal high enough to make it worth it and then every sale after that is profit.

    • Pichi

      It would probably depend on the game. Didn’t GaijinWorks do a kickstarter for a Class of Heroes game? Not sure how successful that was though, but I remember initially that it didn’t do so hotly. Could be because the game wasn’t from a popular series or company, so it could go 50/50.

  • MellowMadman11

    I think it’s a great idea.

  • Juuu

    Given that larger localization companies [Atlus, Xseed, ect] have repeatedly said that the crowdfunding approach won’t work for them, too many variables, bad for their system, ect. I’ll be very excited to see how this works if they DO pursue it. c:

    • Ladius

      Afaik, Kickstarter is unsuitable for those publishers because they mostly work in the console space. Sadly, even if you manage to crowdfund a localization on consoles it doesn’t mean you will definitely be able to release your game, considering platform holders could veto your title for various reasons, putting your company in an horrible position since you’ve already got the backers’ money but won’t be able to deliver the product you promised (just as an example, the Pier Solar HD Kickstarter was originally announced for X360 among other platforms, but that version could be scrapped since Microsoft apparently never answered the developer’s emails, making it impossible for them to release it as an XBLA). On PC, on the other hand, the only concerned parties are the license holder and the localization company, which makes crowdfunding far more convenient.

      If I remember correctly, another issue discussed in an XSEED interview concerned the company’s reputation, since they feared that using Kickstarter could make their Japanese partners see them as amateurs funded by their customers instead of independent companies able to shoulder licensing costs on their own, but that shouldn’t be a problem in the visual novel space, considering it’s far more niche and even the Japanese developers are used to tighter budgets.

  • landlock

    Let’s us crowd-fund a KEY localization to show them how much we want one of there titles in the west.

    • SupaPhly

      hmm, when I asked Jast usa on twitter about KEY, they said that KEY asked for $1m for the license on a single game… so yeah

      there’s always the awesome fan-translations, and pretty much all of their games are still available to buy online
      AIR is almost finished

      • M’iau M’iaut

        They’ve been pretty open in reporting their dealings with the big folks — and that yes, many of them have no interest in the Western market.

        Pulltop has always been the most open of the significant companies. JAST has done a few of theirs and they are of course MoeNovel — which supposedly has one or two other titles in the pipeline.

      • DyLaN

        Strangely, I spot an english ver of iOS Planetarian on App Store.

        • RablaAndrews

          Yeah, that’s been out for several months now. Pretty decent TL too.

        • SupaPhly

          That’s a smaller, independent title compared to their other visual novels

          • DyLaN

            Well, kinetic novels don’t have multiple routes for one thing XD

  • Kumiko Akimoto

    What is crowdfunding?

    • Serge
    • Warboss Aohd

      The Reason we got Shadowrun Returns and the reason Planescape Torment is getting a Spiritual Sequel.

      • Kumiko Akimoto


        • Warboss Aohd

          just go look it up

  • Mordina

    I would gladly support this if they help bring some otome games here.

  • I would gladly support them :3 But what is it exactly?

  • Lynx

    If only JAST would do this for some titles, considering how slow they are.

    Like you know, that sequel for that game that took you years to even release.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      You will need to be more specific about a JAST title taking years for release after the announcement :P. Still hoping Sumaga does indeed somehow come out. Outside of Demonbane, that was the Nitro+ game I most wished to see.

  • Anewme…Again

    I would gladly support that as long as it isn’t just eroge games -_-
    And maybe that way we would be able to get VN in english we would have never dreamed of getting before.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      If we could get more top tier titles it would make a big difference. Right now they are nothing but pimp the lowest common denominator and every once and awhile stick an Innocent Grey release out. Still need my release dates for the other titles – nice box with KnS, at least.

    • DyLaN

      Reminder: eroge can be good too like T-M/key titles.

      • Anewme…Again

        Key titles aren’t eroge though.
        It’s not because a VN have sex scenes that it’s an eroge.
        To be considerated an eroge, sex scenes have to be more important than the story and none of the Key titles are like that, same for Type-Moon.

        • Thrilikos Keftes

          I’m incredibly late, but I really have to point out, that you’re confusing eroge with nukige. The only condition for a VN being classified as an eroge (erotic game) is having sex scenes, even if they are few and brief. If the sex scenes are more important than the story or the characters, then it’s a nukige (fap game), which is a sub-category of eroge.

          • Anewme…Again

            Nah i’m not confusing anything.
            I’m talking from the west point of view since mangagamer is a NA compagny, not japan.
            In japan it’s like you says, but in the west it’s the way i said.

            Edit: That said, nukige term is also used in the west, but much least then the word “eroge” is used to describe heavy sex games.

        • DyLaN

          Did not heard of tht be4. Thk for the clarification.

  • revenent hell

    I would back a few……Depending on the game obviously. I enjoy quite a few VNs :D and more would be loverly

  • The Watcher

    Saw the thumbnail and immediately thought of Ryusuke from Beck, Mongolian Chop Squad.

  • ZekeFreek

    Obvious solution is obvious and always has been. Stop talking about it and do it.

  • almostautumn

    I’ll support your crowdfunding if it means these titles actually hit NA PSN/XBLA.

  • brian

    I’d probably support anything they’d crowdfund, except of them they may censor.
    I still gotta get my own computer though, so that may need to wait.

  • I’d fund the hell out of Lillith eroges. I can’t say I’d care for most all-ages visual novels unless they’re tied to an existing license I’m a fan of. For example, Toradora for PSP, Liberation Maiden Sin for PS3 or Requiem for the Phantom on PC. I’m sure being tied to existing I.P. and being released on a console/portable instead of a PC is much more difficult though.

    I’m glad they just picked up their first Lilith licensed game. That’s extremely promising. Koihime Musou, EROGE! and Imouto Paradise, MangaGamer has been licensing some quality eroge. I love them for that.

  • As much as I enjoy the idea of VNs getting all the support it can get, just basing Manga Gamer’s history of the support they got on Steam I’m not sure if it would make any waves. Could very reach their goal if they tried and were realistic about it, but I’m just not sure it will take off to be a noticeable achievement, much less for Japanese companies to really gain faith from its efforts.
    The VN audience, in my eyes, just seems to be just about divided on everything no matter what and how a VN is being localized.

  • Lumi

    umm, I’m actually confused about MangaGamer’s angle. I get the impression that they focus (unabashedly) on pure eroge VNs, but they did Kara no Shoujo and Higurashi too, which are definitely more plot focused VNs.

    • Anewme…Again

      It’s because eroge bring them more money.
      While eroge don’t sell as much as heavy story VN for them, they cost far least to translate, so they don’t need to sell as much to cover the cost of translation and also the license cost far least most of the times for eroge than heavy story VN.

  • Micrologos

    They’d probably just kick off another Rapelay incident if anything.

    • DyLaN

      Never heard of tht be4. Please enlight me of that term.

      • Micrologos

        Moral outrage ncident driven partially by sensationalist journalism and politics. Shouldn’t be to hard to find articles about it on Google.

        • DyLaN

          I see. thanks for the input.

  • Roses4Aria

    If they would do this for some of the otome titles I would love to see over here, I’d be begging to give them my money. I was so disappointed when it looked like JAST didn’t get anywhere with the Starry Sky series, and if it helps to bring more of these games to us then I’m all for it. :)

  • Locklear93

    Huh. There’s absolutely no reason I wouldn’t kickstart a game I want at its usual retail price, and depending on backer rewards, VNs are something that could squeeze considerably more than retail price out of me. Sounds like a good way to minimize the risk of a localization, at the very least.

  • Anonymous

    If Mangagamer, JAST, anyone were to consider translating Full Metal Daemon Muramasa, Baldr Sky Dive1 and Dive2, or eden* They Were Only Two, On The Planet, I’ll give you all of my money just to see any of these titles finally be readable and playable in English.

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