Bravely Default Is Your Kind Of JRPG. And Yours. And Yours, Too.

By Ethan . January 28, 2014 . 10:01am

It’s been a rough decade for the JRPG. A variety of factors have made it more difficult for companies to keep making them at the scale they once did, and a variety of other factors have made it more difficult for the JRPGs that do get made to be localized elsewhere in the world.

 

Audiences shifted, anime took a hard turn towards the gutter, and it all added up to JRPG popularity waning pretty drastically outside Japan in the last ten years. But if we’re going to be honest for a moment, technical, cultural, and linguistic barriers are not the only reasons for dwindling appreciation. JRPGs are rarely the most player-friendly games around these days.

 

Running around aimlessly to fight enemies, so that you have the levels necessary to clear the next boss? A lot of people don’t like grinding! Losing a battle and realizing that you lost the last 30+ minutes of your life with it? That could demoralize anyone. Even just being unable to move through an environment without incessant interruption is a turn off to the more exploration-minded player.

 

And yes, I am aware that many complain that video games have become too player-friendly. Being asked to follow NPCs instead of exploring, scripted action sequences that lack danger, linear level design, and omnipresent objective indicators all sap some amount of agency and accomplishment from many modern games. At the very least, though, I don’t think anyone is accusing the modern JRPG of playing itself. Surely there can be a happy medium between contemporary convenience and tradition?

 

Bravely Default doesn’t have the answer; it doesn’t strike some perfect balance. Instead, Bravely Default offers access to a perhaps unprecedented variety of settings and allows the player to tweak the game as he or she sees fit. Among the settings that can be toggled are: random encounter rate, objective markers, encounter difficulty, control settings, animation speeds, text speed, autosaving, and combat rewards.

 

Bravely Default can be, if the player so chooses, the toughest of tough oldschool JRPGs. Encounters can be frequent and fierce, objectives will be referenced only as a general direction that the player needs to travel in, and if the newfangled storytelling isn’t to this old school player’s liking that can all be skipped out of too.

 

Bravely Default can also be, if the player so chooses, a forgiving and thoroughly progressive RPG experience. Both main and optional objectives are clearly marked out, other players met through SteetPass or over the Internet can be summoned to cast ridiculously powerful late game special attacks at any point, and any time the going gets tough, the encounter rate can simply be zeroed out. And if the player gets jumped unprepared? Not to worry—this RPG has heard of checkpoints! Death sends the player back only to the last doorway or staircase traversed. Heck, the game can be played almost entirely with just your left hand.

 

I suspect few people will choose to play the game at either extreme, though. I personally have found myself leaning a little bit towards convenience, but I keep the friend summons and time freezing SP attacks out of it. I’ve zeroed the encounter rate when I’m done playing and just want to get out to a save point, and I feel absolutely no shame about doing that. I should be able to quit a game when I’m done playing.

 

I’ve also left combat animations on maximum speed for an awful lot of my playtime. The animations themselves aren’t anything spectacular (the characters just sort of wave their weapons in the air) and anything to hasten the third identical enemy encounter is very welcome. The complexity of the Brave and Default battle system means that an Atlus-style speed battle physical attack shortcut button isn’t really applicable, but minimizing the time spent waiting between making decisions in the menu and getting to interact with the game again is welcome.

 

One weird interaction with the animation speed toggle is that certain special attacks boost the entire party in some way for a limited amount of time, but the effect depletes in real-time instead of time measured in turns. So, a player running animations at maximum speed is able to get about twice as much utility out of these effects as one leaving the animations to run as normal. If the player chooses, he or she can even pause the battle and wait for the boost to wear off entirely! Like the rest of the game, this feature comes down to self-policing and the player deciding what kind of game they want Bravely Default to be.

 

And really, that’s what all of this boils down to. Bravely Default wants to be your kind of JRPG. Rather than take a single guess at what you may enjoy, Silicon Studio instead made a game that has the capacity to satisfy any number of divergent preferences. By making every shortcut and convenience individually selectable, I imagine only a precious few RPG fans will be unable to enjoy Bravely Default.

 

Look out for more Bravely Default coverage on Siliconera this week and the next, as we explore more aspects of the game.

 

Food for thought:

 

1. The one customization feature that at least one other JRPG has had that this one does not is a character by character language swap. It’s not a terrible loss, really, as getting dual audio at all should be celebrated. But I’m still sad that I can’t turn Agnès’ speech into gibberish. I just do not like her.

 

2. Even if you decide to kick it oldschool through the game and spurn the many modern conveniences, I’ll bet you end up fast-forwarding when you’ve Braved your mage up to cast four consecutive spells of some sort. Those animations just feel like they take forever.

 

3. Honestly, I’m not even sure I would want to play this game on hard mode or under any other sort of artificially challenging settings. I recognize that there’s an audience for that, but the defaults  suit me just fine.


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  • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

    The demo made it seem like StreetPassing was vital to making this game enjoyable and not taking forever to do anything. What are your thoughts on this and will someone who finds themselves only getting maybe 1-2 StreetPasses every 2 months find this game frustrating/slow or does the demo talk up the StreetPassing feature far more than it is actually needed?

    • Adrián Alucard

      You can add random people from the internet (2-3 every day). I’ve maxed all with 45 villagers (full game, not the demo) and 0 street pass
      Also, your friends count too

      So streetpass is not that necesary

    • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

      While I sorta agree on this as being a problem, the full game will allow you to use Spotpass instead of just Streetpass, from what I understand.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

        Was about to mention this but yea, those that you know that are getting this game will be able to help you out and vice versa as long as you have their Nintendo FC and have it setup.

        • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

          Thankfully, I know a couple people who’re definitely getting the game, so I should be in a decent position.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            I know at least one hopefully banking on a full party of four or more.

          • Alex Shadov

            Hahaha… (hide his tears of loneliness) yeah, a full party of four, no problem…

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            :x

    • Ethan_Twain

      No, StreetPassing is not at all necessary! If you choose to engage in the multiplayer features, they can all be activated and taken full advantage of via the internet. They are all extraneous game systems though, so one could just as easily leave the 3DS disconnected and play through the entire game without trouble.

  • Brimfyre

    I gave the demo another shot after not being impressed initially and now I’m waiting with anticipation for it. Once you get the hang of the auto battle the grinding is actually fun.

    But I also wonder how much of StreetPass is a necessity. It worried me when the NPC told me I need street pass friends to help get me the equipment I need to beat the boss. If that is the case I might hold off playing until their is a anime/video game/sci fi con coming up.

    • ninjabart122

      There’s an NPC that gives you a villager every day that can be exploited into giving you up to 20 villagers to transfer over to the full game.

      You can do a quick search on it if you’re interested.

      • Brimfyre

        awesome. Thanks for the tip. 20 villagers now secured for full version.

      • Alex Shadov

        To late, but awesome, thanks… 20 villagers to the main game, nice!

    • surakian

      In the full game you only need to use SpotPass to get 2-5 villagers a day. You don’t have to StreetPass ever to finish Norende. You’ll have the village completed long before you’ll be done with the game.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Or you go to mcdonalds every day.
      Even people who live in the boonies now can get streetpasses from walking around the town.

  • ElAbuelo69

    Demo left me very unimpressed. I think over-hyping this game is going to leave a lot of people disappointed :(

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

      Good luck telling the rest of the news sites out there singing praises about it that. Checked Metacritic lately?

      • ElAbuelo69

        Yeah, that’s my point. Everyone was speaking as THIS IS THE NEXT FF.

        Game’s not bad, at all, don’t get me wrong. But it’s definitely not the second coming of Christ as many people make it out to be.

        • surakian

          I agree to an extent, but when the last few FF games have been less than stellar, any FF fan will take what they can get to revive the old school feel of the earlier games.

        • Ash_Riot

          Neither was Ninokuni, The Last Story or Lost Odyssey; they’re okay games at best. Bravely Default is better than those games.

          • ElAbuelo69

            I actually agree on those 3! I still need to play Xenoblade though. Might be the exception, who knows.

          • Ash_Riot

            I just find it ironic that these supposed “JRPG” superfans overrated those games so much and then in turn underrate JRPGs that are much better on handhelds.

            Xenoblade is better than those three though (not amazing, but well worth playing and really good) and Nier was definitely worthy of its cult status.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Those would all be character driven
            games.

            And TLS is bloody awesome.

            TLS isnt some epic either. Lol.

    • ninjabart122

      Demo gave me the impression that the game puts you into a difficult position initially, and there was the rudimentary quest system, but apparently it’s not like that in the actual game.

      I did get used to the weird intro difficulty and it did get more fun once you get a hang of the Brave Default System..

      I had around 12 hours+ of gameplay and I didn’t even max all of the jobs for each character or have too much prior experience with RPGs.

      • Adrián Alucard

        The quest system is not present in the final game. The subquests are simply “Kill that boss”

        Each subquest unlock a new job

    • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

      I think it really depends on a person’s tastes. I mainly look forward to the game because the job system gives me a real Final Fantasy V vibe– and I sorta adore V as my soft-spot game. Not a very solid game story or character-wise, but I sure love me some Job System.

      Also, really, there’s something satisfying about Braving an enemy into oblivion.

  • Crazy_O

    My kind of JRPG isn’t censored. The only thing that my kind of JRPG needs is english, german, greek or french text (well maybe not french, I haven’t used that since school) and nothing else changed. Maybe a choice for an english dub to get people into the game that don’t like reading, but that’s it.

    edit: some fast downvotes here, -3 in 20secs. I really rustled someone’s jimmies :>

    edit2: Mod said this should not be disussed here, so I’m not answering anymore.

    • surakian

      You know how many JRPGs have been censored in the past, or the script changed to be less lewd? Pretty much all of them.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

        Hell we didn’t even get the entire of FF4 when it came here initially since it was made ‘Easy Type’ for us…left a lot out.

        And FF5 was supposed to be FF Extreme because also too hard. It was later dropped.

        • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

          Many games get censored, but does it really stop them from being enjoyable games? La Pucelle Tactics has my favorite leveling system of all of NIS’s entries, and my favorite story/character arcs, but the release we got in America was very censored in terms of religious imagery and smoking. But it didn’t stop it from being a game I really enjoyed. I’d rather support a good game than send the message that no one wants it.

          • Crazy_O

            No, but it does leave a bitter taste in your mouth though and some people don’t like that.
            And nothing prevents you from voicing that opinion while not buying it. This is the way we get people like Tom who is a strong supporter of releasing uncensored games into the gaming industry.

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            I guess, but honestly, businesses and companies are fickle.

            After all, there’s many companies who will take any excuse to /not/ release similar games, all because people didn’t buy it. As it is, it feels like getting RPGs not a mainline Final Fantasy game out of SE for the West is more and more becoming a struggle, and at this point it’s obvious that Nintendo has to be the one anymore to foot the bill.

            I think it comes down to a point of “picking your battles”, I think is what I’m getting at. A company like XSeed and the sort are gonna be listening to feedback, because they’re gonna be more closely working with the niche JRPG crowd– so they’re gonna try to satisfy them. But a company like SE or Nintendo is a bit harder to get the point across to, and they’ll be looking at the bottom line more than the complaints a month before release.

            Of course, in either case, it really comes down to money. A game that has a lot of money put into it, but then doesn’t get bought because of a censorship choice, is not going to be seeing an uncensored release.

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            Please, take this censorship discussion somewhere else. This ends here.

          • Crazy_O

            Thought I was on topic, but welp I don’t mind. Want me to delete my post?

          • neocatzon

            Well, there’s a promotion of censorship hate. But, I don’t read anything written in rage. Even though I don’t agree with you, it’s an interesting opinion.
            Personally I think it’s better you left it as it is for everyone else to read.

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            You can’t delete it, it will only turn you into a guest. I won’t delete it either. Maybe the other mods might disagree with me though. I’ll have to wait and see.

          • Crazy_O

            I can delete the text. But anyway I won’t answer to replies as long as I don’t get a go from someone here. Modding a forum is a shitty unpaid job so I don’t want to throw a fit here.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            What’s to worry? The discussion was civil.

          • MrSirFeatherFang

            It’s civil… for now. I can’t wait for some flame war to break out and then stop it.
            This censorship topic has been beaten to death the past few weeks and that I feel like it’s off topic.
            This is my decision though, not the other mods.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            Good call. I think all the mods would agree with your decision. It’s time to move on. If not, people can convey their displeasure via a more productive avenue like Club Nintendo, where the feedback will actually reach the publisher.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            Aye. LP:T might have had parts missing in the NA release but that is the game that got me into the Disgaeaverse regardless of what was missing.

            I mean sure it could have all been there but it was still an enjoyable experience and it wasn’t that big of a change – nor is it really here.

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            Of course– and getting into the Disgaeaverse is /always/ a plus. Though I admittedly still wonder about a world where NISA had translated it, instead… But that’s past, and I won’t focus on it.

            Though I gotta ask, do you know of any games where they were fundamentally changed, because of alterations? Like I know Mugen Souls had a mode taken out (which I personally don’t miss), but are there any others? I’m curious now and almost wanna look up anything like that, outside of any censorship discussion.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            I try not to focus on it…

            …mostly because we might have had La Pucelle Ragnarok head Stateside had that worked out for the better. SO many things I wanna know about that game that I’d rather do myself than not sit back and read a translation text on…

            And as for things fundamentally changed, that goes back to FF4. Not only did we have easy type but major aspects about the character were removed – no D. Wave for Cecil, no Pray for Rosa, etc. Outside of that, I can’t really think of anything else that got majorly cut outside of imagery.

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            Hey, on the note of La Pucelle Ragnarok, do you have something I can privately message you through? Someone has been working on trying to get the game translated in a fanpatch if you’re interested (PS2 translation for the main game, but an original translation for the extra chapters), but I’d rather give a private link.

            Hmm, FF4 might’ve just been the most extreme one… Not that it made it less of an enjoyable game for some– but on the other hand, we at least got the GBA version, and subsequent PSP and DS versions down the line. A plus, I’d say?

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            Yea, I can receive messages through my YouTube/G+ account no problem. Contact’s in the profile.

          • http://linkapics.tumblr.com/ Linka

            Awesome, I sent a message your way then on YouTube.

          • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Tohsaka

            Received. Appreciate it.

      • ElAbuelo69

        So we should just shut up and accept it? No.

        Atlus has demonstrated that is not necessary. I hate to be obnoxious, but no wonder SMT has a mature reputation while this game…has been dumbed down to be kid friendly.

        I know, being kid friendly is not a bad thing, it’s still fun! And fun is very important, but it’s not everything, specially for those of us who want something more daring. No hand holding!

  • Jirin

    I think customization is a good thing but I wish instead of just putting everything on a sliding scale they’d also have ‘Packages’. Kind of like Mass Effect 3 has RPG mode, FPS mode and shooter mode.

    Part of the fun of video games growing up was the feeling that you overcame a specific challenge designed by the developers, and other people are trying to overcome the same challenge you did. Some succeed, some fail, and it breeds competition. You bond with your friends who are playing the same game through the creation of that competition. I don’t mind there existing a story/exploration based mode, but I would like to see packages of settings like ‘Hardcore mode’, ‘Story mode’, ‘Grinding mode’, etc so you can breed competition that same way. Or maybe trophies or accomplishments for playing with specific settings through the whole game.

    And I really wish you could turn off accumulation of cheat points/sleep points and Streetpass. I’ll probably just play on all the default settings, maybe turning down encounter rate a little if combat isn’t fun.

  • Nanaki

    Almost..

  • Cyrus

    I loved the game but Ch. 5 onwards still made me feel “ehhhhh…”

  • Uso Ewin

    I’m just happy to finally the play spiritual successor to the spiritual successor of my favorite remake.

    • Alex Shadov

      … Final Fantasy III… or… some Final Fantasy Tactics?

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Final Fantasy IV got a remake( no not FF6 I mean FF4)
        4
        (Which is FF III which is FF4)
        Lol.

        So FFIV was remaked, then we FF Light of 4 Heroes, then Bravely default

        • Alex Shadov

          Oh… right, I forgot the 4 Heroes of Light… actually, that concept… I swear that I heard of it in FF III… hold on… forget that… almost all FF have that concept… 4 unknown heroes (of light) coming to save the day (returning the balance of light and darkness… oh, and crystals… yeah, crystals are always important).
          I love Final Fantasy… and now I love Bravely Default (is a default favorite… get it? XD)

  • Shippoyasha

    Um. What is up with the potshots at JRPGs and anime being in the gutter? If anything, JRPGs are way healthier than it’s been said for it (most mainstream home console RPGs not being made can be blamed on the Japanese gaming industry being much more frugal about major releases) and even with the perceived negative downturn, there has still been some gems constantly coming out on handhelds and even something grandly ambitious like Ni no Kuni.

    Anime likewise is arguably the healthiest it has ever been with quite a lot of genre variety than it ever had.

    I think a lot of the perceived strikes against JRPGs being unplayable has been remedied quite a bit with many games that are purely gameplay oriented nowadays. There are story driven games, Roguelikes, dungeon crawlers and action RPGs. And changes in Persona 4 Golden allowing for players to continue instead of losing hours of progress is great too. And we aren’t even getting into Japanese made RPGs that harken to Western RPG sensibilities like Dark Souls and Dragon’s Dogma.

    The major difference in perception to JRPGs is that the greater gaming landscape has changed so much that many gamers fell off the JRPG bandwagon. But it’s hardly because there hasn’t been positive developments with JRPGs, but that it isn’t the only genre that has sweeping, epic stories, character centric storytelling and scope. Nowadays, even action and shooter games can have that.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Anime likewise is arguably the healthiest it has ever been with quite a lot of genre variety than it ever had.

      Good lord. No one in their right mind would agree with that. Not even in Japan. I wish you guys would read up or do research before saying this stuff. Not only does it make you sound ill-informed, it also misinforms other people.

      • andref

        Even if I hadn’t done my research I still agree with you and tired of the absurd amount of harem anime that airs and the absurd number of shows that like to have dense MCs

        Edit: probably an exaggeration, but I can’t say much of what is shown has been interesting enough that I can remember half of what I watch each anime season

        • Minos

          Anime has always being like that, people is just blinded by nostalgia.

          We have only got 2-3 good Animes each year (with luck) since the begining of the times.

          Anime its not some kind of magic entity immune to the Sturgeon’s Law.

          • andref

            Though for me I didn’t get into anime until about 2007 and even then all I did was pick and choose anime throughout the years so I’m not as familiar with what was released per season in the years of 2008 and before then. But now all I watch just seems too predictable and heavily focused on trying to arouse or rely on “shock value” to entertain viewers.

            Though I do disagree that it is only 2-3 good ones each year, but that is based on my personal preferences and tastes

          • Minos

            The problem is that I have been watch Anime since the 90s, so I am more used to to it and I can only name one Anime per year that I cared about.

            Yeah its true, we have all those Insest/Haren Animes the last year, but we also got Gin no Saji, Gargantia and Shingeki no Kyojin (3).

            On part that is why I prefer Manga since there is way more to choose, I mean yeah, something like One Piece sells a lot, but that doesn’t change the fact that Koe no Katachi or Iris Zero exist.

          • Asura

            I will go with the viewpoint that anime has always been garbage and continues to be garbage.

            There are a few gems that come out of this sea of garbage continuously throughout time, but it is mostly bad.

            Thus, it is just like any other entertainment media.

          • Ladius

            Regardless of numbers, I agree with you that some of the most criticized anime trends, like harem comedies, ecchi, fanservice and kawaiimoe archetypes (albeit in slightly different forms due to the artistic trends, pop culture tropes, airing slots and other variables) have been there since a long time ago.

            It’s a bit strange to see people retroactively create a golden age by selectively remembering only the best (or more acknowledged) titles of past years, while often ignoring the good ones that are aired today.

          • Mirin

            Actually this is flat-out not true.

            I don’t believe in any golden age, but I’d say to anyone who’s been watching anime for over a decade there is a very clear division between anime now and anime just a few years ago.

            Watch a series from 2007, then 2008 and then 2009/2010. You can see the difference immediately, there are far too much reliance on stereotypical ‘anime tropes’. Sure you can look back at Lum and say she would be considered a Tsundere in today’s society, but she’s a far cry from the cookie cutter characters we get given today. It’s not specific to any genre within anime either.

            The real reason anime ‘took a turn for the worst’ is because being ‘otaku’ became trendy in Japan in the late 2000s (Much like geek-chic did in the west) and smart businessmen knew that the money was not in the Blu-ray/DVD sales (Thanks in part to file sharing, TV Re-runs and recording from TV) but instead in the sales of merchandise where studios can make their money from character IP royalties (hence the leaning toward character-driven shows). This Japanese geek-chic audience favours anime that they perceive as being otaku-oriented (Much like the geek-chic crowd in the west favours ‘retro’ nerdy games), which made the late-night TV slots much more valuable to advertisers.

            In turn, this means that the late-night anime slots are under more scrutiny than they were before to please this geek-chic audience. There’s good ad revenue to be made even from shows even at 1-3am which has since been unheard of and is of course a big jackpot for those companies advertising.

            People who blame anime’s decline on ‘fanservice’ or ‘ecchi’ or ‘Moe’ are in fact right to degree, but they’re only half right – and not necessarily in the way they think. And for anyone wondering, I’ve clocked over 1500 anime watched over a period of nearly 2 decades strongly favouring Mahou Shoujo and ‘cute’ shows, so you’ll find no ‘anti-moe’ bias from me.

          • Ladius

            Maybe you didn’t read the “albeit in slightly different forms due to the artistic trends, pop culture tropes, airing slots and other variables” bit?

            There’s a big difference between saying that animes have always been exactly as they are now and saying that ecchi, fanservice, harem comedies, slice of life and kawaiicutemoe designs have always been present in that industry, even if the way they were implemented was influenced by each period’s economical, aesthetic and narrative trends.

            It’s a bit like arguing that western heroic fantasy is completely different from contemporary fantasy because sword and sorcery nowadays has grown stale and people tend to like more complex settings or a grittier narrative (which could open another debate, since gritty dark fantasy was there since decades ago). While that can be true to an extent, it’s also disingenuous to ignore how the underlying tropes are mostly similar and have simply adapted to a changing market and cultural envinronment.

            This is not even considering how some works can be born as callbacks to different periods, or to the usage of some tropes or art styles in said periods, something that is true for every medium with at least a modicum of history (the game treated in this article is a fine example of this trend, and there’s nothing wrong with that).

            Going back to animes, some of the most criticized trends were present far before the late ’00s, and the fact that anime fans at the time mostly hadn’t a chance to watch (or even know) every seasonal lineup makes it even easier to selectively remember only a small percentage of the whole offer, especially when some people blur whole decades and then compare them to a single year’s output.

            There has also been a noticeable shift in the social acceptability of anime aesthetic and fanservice as a whole in the west, especially in NA, which makes the issues regarding the fanbase’s perceptions even trickier.

          • Mirin

            The “albeit in slightly different forms due to the artistic trends, pop culture tropes, airing slots and other variables” doesn’t really change anything I’ve said, and yes I did read it.

            Slice of life hasn’t ‘always’ been present in the industry, nor have a number of those things listed. What ‘Industry’ are we talking about here? Anime? When exactly are you claiming this ‘industry’ started? With Yamato in the late 70s or further behind?

            If you think these elements have existed in anime ‘since the beginning’ then why don’t you list some of them off?

            This whole “____ has never changed, anime has always had _____” is an absolute fallacy that works on assumptions, not facts and the people who claim this have rarely (if ever) actually watched the series they claim are no different from anime today. I’d also like to hear where you believe that the most ‘criticized trends’ (By whom? We’re not talking about the west here) were apparent in the 60s anime or whichever arbitrary year you believe the ‘industry’ started.

            Ball is in your court.

          • Ladius

            I beg your pardon, but if you want people to discuss with you it would be nice to understand their stance. I never said any of the trends and tropes discussed above “____ has never changed, anime has always had _____”, in fact I wrote my last post exactly to explain the difference between a narrative or aesthetic trope being present in a medium in different forms over the years while changing depending on a long list of variables (what I actually said) and it never evolving and staying the same throughout history (something I never said).

            This is an extremely big difference regardless of the fact that you brushed it off in your first paragraph, going on with the attempt to make me defend a stance I never had since the beginning. This is also why the “anime list war” thing is rather meaningless: for example, mentioning the fanservice elements in wildly different ‘90s animes like Lemon Angel, Aika, Burn Up, Video Girl Ai, Bakuretsu Hunter, Neo Ranga, Evangelion and others has some meaning only if you consider each work’s timeframe, individual traits and situation. Again, advocating thematical continuities has nothing to do with saying something has always been there in the same form.

            In the same way, you can say the kawaiimoe trend has been in the jrpg genre at least since the 16bit age (Madou Monogatari or the Akazukin ChaCha spinoffs, for instance), but that doesn’t equate to saying they’re exactly the same as, say, modern Atelier games, which are themselves different if you consider different sagas, or, for a variety of reasons, from other jrpgs with moe art directions like Sorcery Saga or Neptunia.

            Other than that, the debate about the anime industry’s birth (an interesting topic on its own, depending if we consider it from a purely historical perspective or we see it as a succession of slightly different business models) is something you brought up on your own, considering no one has tried to press the idea of said tropes being there since whatever “day one” we could settle about, nor has it anything to do with the perceived relevance of the narrative and aesthetic trends discussed above by today’s audience.

            What I actually said is that the roots of each one of them was present well before the late ’00s that you brought up in your first post. Again, this doesn’t mean that those tropes were employed in the exact same way as today (or that the current anime industry employ them in a single way, for that matter, something that I tried to address with the paragraph about callbacks and references).

            Lastly, we are definitely talking about the criticism made by western fans (the ones I listed in my posts are the ones I was trying to address since they’re the most common, even if they aren’t the only ones), and I’m not sure how you thought we were talking about the Japanese fans’ perceptions since no one even brought them up. Not only this debate was born on a western site populated by western people, but this whole discussion started from an user criticizing what he perceived as this article’s potshots against jrpgs and animes.

          • Mirin

            First of all, it’s anime* not ‘animes’.

            Secondly, the reason anime has taken a turn for the worst is because of Japanese fans – ones I mentioned above, so yes we WERE talking about Japanese fans.

            Thirdly, you were the one to say “ecchi, fanservice, harem comedies, slice of life and kawaiicutemoe designs have always been present in that industry” these were your words and paraphrased they were also the words of two posters above mine.

            I am directly challenging this by asking you to give specific examples from anime series that existed at the start of the industry.

            All you have provided so far are very poor examples and mentioned the 90s. Anime did not start in the 90s.

            Your point is that these stereotypes have always existed – I’m asking you to prove this. Do not accuse me of brushing things off when you are doing exactly this bt refusing to directly counter the point you made.

          • Ladius

            You’re “directly challenging” things I never said while ignoring or misunderstanding most of my arguments (you’re continuing to confuse archetypes with their implementation, for instance). Sadly, this makes it impossible to have any kind of decent debate since:

            -I (just as the other posters in this debate) wasn’t talking about Japanese fans or their role in “anime taking a turn for the worst” simply because I don’t believe that has happened, and the whole discussion from the start was about the anime industry’s perception by western fans. You’re free to discuss what you want, obviously, but that doesn’t mean you can participate in a debate with a different premise and calling out people because they aren’t following your narrative about the anime industry’s state.

            -my point was the presence of said tropes in the industry before the contemporary age or your “late ’00″ timeframe.

            -since my first post, I addressed the differences between tropes and the different ways they can be used in different contexts.

            -again, I never said anything about “the start of the industry”.

            -obviously, I never said the anime industry started in the ’90s, and it’s kinda sad you tried to twist things that way just to use it as a cheap shot.

            -what I said is that the trends I mentioned were there at least from the ’90s, thus my examples being from animes aired during that decade (with all the caveats outlined in the same paragraph, which you ignored again).

            Sorry to break down those points, but I’m honestly surprised by the difference between what I’m writing and what you’re answering to.

          • Mirin

            “what I said is that the trends I mentioned were there at least from the
            ’90s, thus my examples being from animes aired during that decade.”

            But they aren’t. Find me a late night Slice of Life (日常系) anime from the 90s. Find me a late night ‘moe’ anime from the 90s that is comparable in execution to ‘moe’ anime of the 2010s.

            “I never said anything about ‘the start of the industry’”

            Your words:

            “ecchi, fanservice, harem comedies, slice of life and kawaiicutemoe designs have always been present in that industry”

            Always been present directly implies that you believe they’ve been there since the beginning. ‘Always’ means ‘Always’.

            “since my first post, I addressed the differences between tropes and the different way they can be used in different contexts.”

            And since my first post, I’ve addressed that there is far too much reliance on tropes, using them as cookie-cutter templates for characters.

            As I said, by today’s standard, perhaps Lum would be considered a ‘Tsundere’. But compare Lum to the generic Tsundere templates you see today. There is a big, big difference. This is exactly the point I am making.

            “-I (just as the other posters in this debate) wasn’t talking about Japanese fans or their role in “anime taking a turn for the worst” simply because I don’t believe that has happened”

            You don’t have to believe it. You can downvote it as much as you want, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

            Tropes may have existed before the late 00s (and not as far back as you may think), but you can tell the difference between mid 00s tropes and late 00s/Early 10s tropes very, very easily. The former is used as a character trait, the latter as the entire basis of the character and I explained the reason for this already. But you know, if you don’t want to believe it for whatever reason then that’s up to you. My advice: Actually watch a decent amount of anime before making assumptions.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            You will find folks far more willing to have a discussion and even debate, when you turn down the accusations and confrontation for no good reason.

          • Ladius

            The puzzling thing about this post is that you’re probably really convinced that everyone who has a different opinion than yours regarding anime, anime tropes (that was an interesting tangent I would have liked to discuss, if you hadn’t brought the debate in a whole other direction), the anime industry or any other subject isn’t someone with different, legitimate opionions, but someone objectively wrong that needs to be called out on a personal level.

            The “I watched more anime than you” thing at the end is particularly bizarre, considering we don’t know each other, our tastes or our personal histories, and personally I would never try to brush you off using that kind of data since I never believed the quantity of consumed media, while obviously important, can be directly equated with its understanding, or with having a “right” opinion.

            Other than that, you’re still missing the point of my arguments: the “Find me a late night ‘moe’ anime from the 90s that is comparable in execution to ‘moe’ anime of the 2010s.” is pretty telling, since I have said since the beginning that the execution is the key difference between the uses of a trope.

            The fact that you had to fish a decontextualized “always” from one of my posts (afterward, there was a sentence that outlined exactly how the presence of a trope throughout history doesn’t mean it was always used the same way) to justify a completely unrelated tangent about the industry’s birth, while I tried multiple times to say what my stance really was, makes it seem like you’re more interested in being hostile for the sake of it rather than having a normal exchange.

            I doubt continuing to repeat the same things while trying to dodge blasts of condescension will make for an interesting conversation, so I beg you a good day.

          • Mirin

            And I think it’s pretty clear all you intend on doing is bringing semantics into a discussion about anime. I’m still waiting for you to contend the original statement you made, but so far no facts have been provided. Only moving the goalposts. You can bleat on about how ‘sad’ it is in order to try and gain some kind of moral high-ground but the fact remains that you haven’t managed to prove any of your statements so far.

          • Shippoyasha

            I think that is an oversimplified look at anime because there are plenty of multidimensional characters in anime today. Even kids anime these days have characters who have more dimensions to them than they ever had. Stuff like Inazuma Eleven and Pretty Cure can be decent watches without cringing through cliches like with some anime in year 2000 and older. While they may base a lot of characterizations and plot points from cliches, you will usually find a ton of shows that aim to be some form of subversion of the tropes. There are still auteurs making shows nowadays and Madhouse and A1 tends to do their own thing with almost total disregard for trends. Even something like the World God Only Knows, which plays out like a harem show does a damn good job of being perfectly self aware in its premise and feeling fresh as a story. Then there are stuff like Log Horizon which has politics galore. That being said, purely otaku material isn’t all bad either. There are always stuff like Saki for moe mahjong, Silver Link making a ton of purely silly (and sometimes painfully self aware) comedies and Kyoto Animation adapting light novels all the time with a lot of visual flair. Not to mention shows that seemingly are otaku centric like Non Non Biyori has broken into the mainstream by being a damn good, heartearming slice of life show. There is always something good happening with the anime scene.

          • Lucky Dan

            You have to remember that most of these are sometimes based on manga’s which are almost 5-10 years old especially sports mangas would be shown in the worst light cause some rules that weren’t legal today were legal back then like that chariot bump.

            Mahjong, Shogi , baseball and American Football anime comes to mind even soccer as well.

          • Shippoyasha

            I don’t know about that…almost all sports shows now have manga that’s currently running with all the current rules. Only a few like Hajime no Ippo harkens back to the 90′s where the story takes place.

          • Suzaku

            It’s true that there’s always been good and bad, but you seem to be ignoring the realities of the industry, which has been in steady decline since 2006, with profits and production values dropping, increasing piracy, declining sales of licensed products, and waning international interest due to demographic shifts in Japan.

          • Minos

            Every industry has been on steady decline since 2006 for the crisis.

            Video Games are even more affected, I mean, GameSpot sold 25% less games this december and the amount of consoles it sold were just 9% more, even thought we had 2 new ones.

            But, every Gamimg Site out there acts as if nothing is happening.

          • AdvancedWind

            This. Every time people start their nostalgia rants about the past, it’s always the same 10-20 shows name dropped, followed by “Why Japan doesn’t make stuff like this anymore?!”, when in fact

            A – They’re literally condensing some of the best stuff ever made within 20 years and complaining the last 5 or 10 years were not on that

            B – There are still plenty of good shows airing every year, but just like in the past, the vast majority of stuff out is not that exceptional. Doesn’t mean we don’t get our fair share of great series almost every season.

            Seriously, these claims about anime being worse are closer to “They stopped making shows I like” and “X years without something as great as {Insert one of the best entertainment pieces ever made here}? Anime is dead. “

          • Mirin

            But this is incorrect. Compare a year like 2007 to a year like 2012 or 2011, there’s no debate over which is the better year.

            In the early/mid 2000s it was very rare that you got an anime that was so bad it was unwatchable, and when you did get them – everyone knew it. Look at Sister Princess: Repure. Considered to be a terrible series at the time and completely dropped the ball for the Sister Princess franchise. It was pretty big news as to just how bad it was, yet if you actually watch it it’s not as bad as some of the terrible shows that have come out seasonally in the past few years. Look at stuff like Acchi Kocchi, Vividred or ServantxService, Sister Princess Repure, despite being absolutely terrible for its era is actually better than these shows.

            The idea that nothing has changed and that the signal to noise ratio has stayed the same is a lazy argument that relies on assumptions instead of facts. I understand a lot of people will severely cherrypick, but if you do your research and watch the lesser-acknowledged series from these years, you’ll find they’re much more creative, enjoyable and well-executed than the lesser-acknowledged series that get churned out every season currently. It’s as easy as comparing a series like Wandaba Style to Love Live, or Di Gi Charat to Hentai Oji. Even Kokoro Library has NNB beaten hollow when it comes to calm SoL shows.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            But now you are moving entirely into the realm of personal opinion. And that’s nothing more than just that. Someone else will hold each of the titles you mentioned in a perfectly legitimate different view. Some arguments before, as with how characters were used and presented perhaps better illustrates actual differences in method.

            The talk is now completely off the topic of the original posts on JRPGs past and present. Let’s all move on. Thanks.

          • Mirin

            Not true. The titles I listed as being better are not regurgitations of other titles. Love Live is a good example because it is absolutely your generic idol anime with little more on top, compare that to Wandaba Style which is completely different from just about every anime out there (Yet still comparable as it is an idol show). Or take a look at Code-E from 2007 and Red Data Girl from 2013, both of which are practically identical in many ways, but you can’t blame that on Code-E which came first.

            Sorry but it ISN’T all about personal opinion, some anime will be objectively better than others and it just so happens that the ones a few years ago are better than the ones that air today, whether they are forgotten series which get a very small amount of viewership or extremely well-regarded classics.

            The ‘it’s all a matter of opinion’ retort does not actually always hold true. As I said before, watch these series before you comment – trying to take the unbiased route only purports incorrect and inaccurate information.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Enough. Your thoughts on the matter are not mine or perhaps any other of our posters. Move on.

          • Mirin

            So you’re saying we can only agree with you? No dissenting opinions allowed I see.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            What I am saying is that we are moving both off topic and so deep into the realm of opinion that well, the points which can be debated and discussed are limited to what one likes or does not. Such does not define or determine actual changes in content.

          • Mirin

            And as I explained, this is not strictly about personal opinion and that there IS such a thing as objectivity. What you are trying to do is act as though everything is down to personal opinion because you don’t like what I am saying but you haven’t bothered to research it for yourself. You can tell yourself it’s about ‘personal opinion’ until you go blue in the face, but it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t.

            You can’t keep using ‘personal opinion’ as a means of shielding yourself from uncomfortable truths. Tell anyone that REDLINE doesn’t have better animation than Inferno Cop and see how far you get.

            I wouldn’t say it’s off-topic when most of the comments on this page have been about the quality of anime and the article itself raised this issue.

          • Shippoyasha

            There’s nothing wrong with shows like Acchi Kocchi and ServantxService. A lot of them being pretty good adaptations as well, and definitely not some ‘franchise killer’ like you mentioned. They’re good for the subgenres they belong in. I think you’re too into comparing and being absolutely convinced newer anime is worse for it. I think they’re all great on their own terms.

          • Mirin

            They’re not good at all. Acchi Kocchi was one of the most heavily generic SOLs possible with absolutely nothing memorable about it. They’re not franchise killers because they don’t have a well-liked franchise behind them. If Acchi Kocchi was an adaption of a popular fighting game it would have been considered a flop. The direction of AK was so bad that they had to literally label scene before it happened, the characters were flat archetypes with absolutely nothing else to offer. The whole thing was completely bland and terrible, you obviously didn’t see the threads on 2ch about it either, who also agreed it was completely rubbish.

            And as for ServantXService, once again – terrible. Offers nothing that has already been done before, the characters have nothing going for them apart from the fact they are built upon existing archetypes. The humor fell completely flat on its face and the direction was terrible.

            You need to seriously watch more anime if you think these are ‘good for the subgenres they belong in’ because they really, really aren’t.

          • Shippoyasha

            I’m saying the shows were decent in their subgenres not that they’re some dynamic, revolutionary shows.
            I think you’re setting the bar way too high on purpose just to prove your point that all modern stuff is terrible. I also find it VERY hard to believe you even watched those shows when you find them to be so painful in premise alone.

            When you go into newer shows with the attitude that you’ll hate it out of the bat, then there’s no way you’ll give them a fair shot. There’s shows that I consider modern classics out there aside from fairly benign and non offending shows like Acchi Kocchi but I bet you’ll shoot them down anyway.

          • Mirin

            Not true, I give all shows a fair shot. All you’re doing is putting up a strawman argument because you have nothing left to stand on. You say I set the standard too high, I only set the standard of what I have seen which is an awful lot. I don’t judge your average SOL shows by the standards of Evangelion, but I do judge them by the standards of other SOLs and the same applies to just about every other genre within the medium. Kokoro Library vs Acchi Kocchi – no contest. Love Live vs Wandaba Style – no contest. RDG vs Code-E – no contest. I can keep going. Stop assuming I have a bias when I do not.

          • Shippoyasha

            The funny thing with this discussion is that I don’t even dislike a lot of the shows you mentioned. Wandaba Style was one of my old favorites too. To me, this eerily sounds similar to oldschool Sailor Moon fans denouncing Pretty Cure or Slam Dunk fans crapping on newer sports anime. I mean, they’re in the same genre and largely has the same appeal. But I feel you’re putting too much emphasis on the age of a show and not its content. I don’t think you have bias against genres, I just think you are too keen on looking down on newer stuff just because they’re new.

          • Mirin

            Once again, more assumptions that aren’t true. Your problem is you’re assuming that genre accounts for everything. “Oh well we had Mahou Shoujo in the 90s, so what’s wrong with an extremely similar Mahou Shoujo in the 10s?”. There are a number of problems with this logic, the first of all is that genre is not the be-all and end-all of anime. You can have great SOL shows or you can have terrible SOL shows, just because Aria for example, was good – does not mean that every other SOL will be good, far from it in fact. Execution is the issue here. And this brings me onto the next point, simply copying the premise of a previous good quality series does not mean that the copy will be good quality by default. In fact, the very fact that is IS a copy is detrimental to it right away. If I’ve seen a show which is essentially ‘idols travel to the moon’, it doesn’t mean that I will enjoy another anime based on the premise of idols visiting the moon, if anything I’m going to be twice as bored because it’s not even an original premise.

            Now with some genres/styles of show, this is unavoidable – Mahou Shoujo shows often fit a very similar format and this is to be expected, however it doesn’t mean that a Mahou Shoujo show should rest on this expectation and expect to be considered as good as what came before it.

            Sailor Moon wasn’t exactly original in its’ format, but then that was what? 1992? So it’s not AS bad, but in over 20 years we’ve had many, many Mahou Shoujo shows – some of which with very creative premises or executions. There’s no excuse to be offering a show which offers nothing that hasn’t already been seen 20 years prior and that in of itself decreases its creative value.

            Bear in mind this is just one example in the Mahou Shoujo genre which we can allow a degree of leniency towards as the target demographic is normally very young girls. In other genres, it’s just an insult.

            I’m sorry your argument is resting on this imaginary bias to new shows you believe me to have but it simply not true, else I wouldn’t have said before that I enjoyed shows such as Chihayafuru or Milky Holmes. Milky Holmes being an example of good execution winning over originality too, as it’s pretty much just a re-skinned, repackaged Galaxy Angel and/or Di Gi Charat. Every Broccoli/Bushiroad mixed media project has always had the same template and yet the execution is what has carried it.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          That’s more of a symptom of what people find popular.

          Japan’s youth suffer from gender expectation distortion.

        • Shippoyasha

          Now that you mention harems, I now realize that anime don’t really have real harem these days. That used to be big in early 2000s and we hardly get them anymore. Most shows if they go a multiple girl relationship route, it’s usually a 1 girl vs 1 girl deal. There are some weak spined protags to be sure, but they are usually on comedies. It’s become more hip for protags to be either devious or fully self aware. Like Araragi in Monogatari or Touma in Index.

          • Lucky Dan

            Montogatari and Index are harems you’re digging your own grave here, sure they focused on a girl at a time but still nether less they are harems

          • Shippoyasha

            They are pseudo harems because the protagonist never had a chance with any of the girls. Monogatari is an outright parody of harem than anything.

      • Saraneth

        In just 2013 we got Psycho Pass, Shinsekai Yori, Rozen Maiden 2013, Chihayafuru, Kyousougiga, and more great series. There will always be bad shows, but there are great ones too.

        • gregory

          Dont get me wrong those are good anime, but 2013 has been the best in a while. what happened to the days when we had code geass, full metal alchemist, cowboy bebop, eureka seven, outlaw star like anime with a plot that actually was entertaining. Ever since the whole Kyoto Animation crap, japanese animation studios realized that all they had to do was slap cute little girls or tits on something and it would sell huge in japan. And from like when K-on came out till around now, the only anime i have really enjoyed have been the remakes, like berserk, fma brotherhood, and evangelion (3.33 was crap tho imo). Like dont get me wrong i loved psycho pass and kyousogiga, but the days of geass and eureka seven when the characters felt so much more alive and real are gone.

          • Saraneth

            Those series didn’t all come out in the same year, though, whereas the ones I listed did. I don’t know what you’re talking about, I loved the characters of Psyco Pass just as much those of Eureka Seven and better than the ones of Fullmetal Alchemist. I liked Code Geass too, but it had some writing issues compared to the shows I mentioned.

          • gregory

            thats true. but here 2004 for example. Monster, ghost in the shell season 2, gantz, samurai champloo, elfen lied, gankutsuo, desert punk, and beck. like back then good anime with great plots and characters came out so often. Like even though i disagree and think full metal alchemist and eureka seven ones were better than psycho pass’s, and that code geass was great other than the minor issue with suzaku changing sides so suddenly. I really dont think its possible to argue with what types of anime we got back then compared too now.

          • British_Otaku

            Many of the things you like or hate are adaptations of other works. You just happened to get lucky and the industry was “saved” by Ghost in the Shell getting another one, Desert Punk making a big break then (before disappearing and reappearing now) and in non-adaptation cases, directors with good ideas making a good concept.

            Today, the exact same thing is happening. Watanabe is working on Space Dandy. Kill la Kill sounds great. Another love story from the writer of Toradora? Yep, Golden Time is a good watch even with an iffy director. Hunter X Hunter is getting another adaptation covering new content and with Madhouse at the helm great. A proper Sailor Moon adaptation could be here? Great.

            Since you are only seeing so little of the industry (no one has enough time to see all of it) and not everything gets a TV show (I bet you haven’t looked at much of Makoto Shinkai and Mamoru Hosoda’s stuff, even if you know what a Ghibli is). You simply project your nostalgia out like this.

          • gregory

            In the case of Watanabe i liked Sakamichi no apollon and space dandy hasnt had enough episodes for me to decide, but imo Cowboy bebop and Samurai Champloo were better. The thing is that its different with the movie industry, Miyazaki, Shinkai, and Hosoda with the wind rises, kotonoha no niwa, and wolf children. The movies they make now are just as good and popular as they were before. While the anime tv series has taken a lot bigger of a direction change. The really popular animes of the past have had insanely good stories to tell, while there still have been good anime to come out, none of them make me feel that rush of excitement as the ones in past. And nostalgia has nothing to play with this really. I started anime 3 years ago and have just been watching them like crazy.

            Edit: in case you didnt understand what im trying to say, is that roughly the movie directors have been consistent in their work and they are just as popular now as they were before. While the tv industry has alot more new directors and directors like watanabe and i forget his name the guy who did ghost in the shell(not masamune shirow) have not been able to keep up their quality work nowadays.

          • Nightmare637

            two things…
            1.Glad to see that someone else likes Monster.(one my favorite anime
            2.there are ALOT of things wrong with Suzaku, that I’m not even to go into.(most of its personal so its nothing really important)

          • Doctor Nebula

            Many of the anime you have described are mecha anime, and I just don’t care much for these. There are exceptions like Evangelion, but I really didn’t feel much toward Geass and Eureka.

          • Notquitesure?

            Have you checked out Hyouka it was slice of life/mystery by KyoAni, honestly one of my favourite animes. But honestly i haven’t seen anything from then other then hyouka and haruhi

        • Suzaku

          Even with the occasional decent show, the anime industry has been in a state of overall decline since the anime boom in the late 90s / early 00s, with 2006 being its peak.

          This is due to many factors, among them the rise of digital distribution and piracy, declining sales for third party licensed products, an economic downturn, and major demographic shifts.

          The most egregious probably being those demogaphic shifts, as studios have increasingly targeted single adult hikikomori/NEET males with niche ‘moe’ shows that have virtually no appeal outside that niche, domestically or abroad.

      • otakumike

        Um…

        • http://blackstar2661.deviantart.com/ SilverSpades

          That’s just ONE show.

      • samsneeze

        You have to realize a lot people have no idea the amount of anime that comes out every year. Four or five good shows out of thirty or forty isn’t exactly good. That and most people’s interpretation of available anime and what’s good is filtered by the provider.

      • mirumu

        What exactly doesn’t suffer from this though? Genre stagnation and the general disinterest it brings are rife through every form of popular content. Anime’s not exactly special in this regard.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          TV shows seem to be doing just fine to me, as do comics. Videogames in the west aren’t doing too badly either, outside of being in a transition phase where they need to manage their budgets better. That’s a very different kind of problem.

          Japan’s issue is that their entertainment is becoming more and more insular as the years go by, and the people that make excuses for this are only adding to the problem. I see some people pretend that this is completely okay, because, “Oh, it’s what makes them special!” I think we can agree this is a terrible excuse.

          And unlike some people like to pretend, it isn’t deliberate either. It’s happening because new talent isn’t being fostered and because new directors have a very narrow view of the world and life. There are obviously societal reasons and a number of other factors that play into this, but it’s something we’re seeing both in anime and videogames on the Japan side.

          • $51888021

            I wholly agree, and I wish you had opened up with that! The anime community (myself included) is hella defensive about the nature and status of the industry/culture, so you gotta come hard with those facts and complete thoughts at the beginning if you intend to speak ill of it on any level. Otherwise, it’ll just get caught in the sea of knee-jerk backlash.

          • mirumu

            Are TV, comics and games really doing better? I look at them these days and see the same genres, ideas and tired tropes being regurgitated again and again ad infinitum. TV especially has got so bad in my view that I can’t even be bothered to sift through the crud any more for the few gems. The only fictional TV shows I watch are on disc or streams long after the shows aired. Even those I know who are watching shows as they air, only seem to have been talking of watching Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.

            Comics have largely lost me too in recent years despite me being an avid reader of them for many years. The reasons are much the same as people give when complaining about anime. It’s a different set of conventions and tropes. I’m especially comfortable in saying games (made wherever) aren’t really any different either. I do play quite a lot of western games, but in my experience the hit ratio really isn’t any better than a typical anime season.

            I certainly don’t claim to represent everyone, and I definitely don’t share the same tastes as everyone, but that’s really part of my point. I don’t delude myself into thinking anime is especially unique. I look at it and I see the flaws anyone being honest with themselves will. Many are so bad I can’t watch more than a single episode. Even the old shows people love to reminisce about are full of flaws, although a different set of them. Now I may still enjoy some them despite the flaws, but that’s just my tastes coming into play. It’s exactly the same with other forms of content. I can’t stand all those trope ridden bunk science TV forensic shows for example, but others can see past that and find something they can enjoy. Set pieces and QTEs in games have much the same effect on me but others love this stuff. There’s very little content out there that doesn’t have glaringly obvious flaws for people who want to find it. Books, music, even things like paintings and sculptures.

            In my experience, Sturgeon’s law (90% of everything is crap) is pretty much on the money. Maybe the percentage varies a little, but I can’t say I’ve ever seen a form of content where it doesn’t appear to apply.

            I do take your point about the insularity of Japan’s entertainment however. That’s something that can be seen rather clearly in both anime and games at times. I don’t think it’s an especially new phenomenon, and on occasions I think it can actually improve a work such as providing a unique perspective on a non-Japanese concept. Not a healthy thing in general though I’d agree.

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            I do think you’re in the minority in this case. There are a lot of great TV shows to be found nowadays, and the ones that aren’t great… well, at the very least, they aren’t offensive the way a lot of anime can be.

            Meanwhile, comics have managed to expand their reach greatly in the past ten years, not only reaching out to more people across the world but also branching out into television, movies and games very successfully. Comic books are, for all intents and purposes, the mythology that our generation is growing up on. That sounds a tad dramatic, but it’s true. They’re still inspiring millions of people all over the world and teaching them things that preaching can’t.

            The thing is, comics and TV and movies are all doing slightly different things, so when they intersect, they exchange ideas and give birth to something that’s very enjoyable and appreciated by a lot of people. When that happens, it effectively inspires a large number of people and creates a desire within them to make something just as good if not better. These people then grow up to be the next generation of creators.

            In the case of Japan, this isn’t really happening. Most anime is happy enough pandering to the lowest common denominator (or, if you prefer, even lower), and it isn’t particularly inspiring either. I don’t think anyone looks at all the harem and incest and loli shows and goes, “Oh man, I want to be just like that when I grow up!”

            If anything, a lot of anime just gives you the impression that it’s okay to be a loser. It’s meant to make people feel better about themselves rather than actually inspire them to be better.

          • http://resettears.wordpress.com/ Reset Tears

            It’s pretty clear you’re using a very limited number of anime in your “analysis” here. Obviously if you pick ten bad anime as your prime examples, then of course you won’t think highly of any of it. You can do that with anything though. I actually turned to anime and manga in recent years though because it’s so much more experimental than any other medium of storytelling I’ve encountered. On top of that, there’s been several series I’ve found wholly inspiring. That’s just my opinion though. It’s obviously one you disagree with. And that’s fine by me. I just don’t really care for your insinuation that everyone who doesn’t share your opinion is an ignoramus though.

            I also have to note I’m a bit surprised a Siliconera article would belittle the entire anime industry in passing as it did here. Anime is kind of… something most everyone here likes. A lot. Props for saying precisely what’s on your mind, at least.

          • anarchy_panty

            I actually turned to anime and manga in recent years though because it’s
            so much more experimental than any other medium of storytelling I’ve
            encountered.

            You need to watch more movies and read more books.

          • mirumu

            I can only think things must be very different where you are. Even at conventions the only people I see looking at comics are in my 30+ age bracket. The younger generations seem to have no interest in them at all. Here at least the popularity of comic-based movies has not translated to popularity for the original medium. Those in the industry I talk to say the same things and consider it a problem so it’s not a warped view of the situation. I could believe it’s a localized problem to this region however and that the situation is more positive elsewhere. I hope that is the case.

            I do think you’d giving other media too much credit though. A lot of movies and TV are targeted to the lowest common denominator too. Some TV execs have freely admitted this in the past. So called “Reality TV” regularly plumbs the depths going well beyond anything in anime. For every Boardwalk Empire there’s a Jeremy Kyle, Duck Dynasty, Here comes Honey Boo Boo and more. There’s plenty that’s genuinely offensive on TV and the ratios don’t really seem that different. There are a few good TV shows around for sure, but the same is true of anime as well.

            It’s not hard to make a similar argument for movies. A mention of say “Adam Sandler” would only be scraping the barrel. I wouldn’t argue that popularity is bad in itself, but the fact that something is popular with a large number of people often only means they’ve targeted the lowest common denominator more effectively. I think the superhero sub-genre of comic adaptations is above that level, but it’s still full of vapid cliché ridden fluff. Not all, but a significant percentage. I’m not saying it’s bad to like these things, but I think holding them up as being somehow better does us all a disservice and sets the bar far too low. I wish people were more willing to admit things they like aren’t great works, but just enjoy them for what they are. I don’t consider Attack on Titan anything amazing either, it’s simply a bit of fun, but in many regards it’s quite comparable to the typical comic-based movies outside of the obvious differences in presentation.

            I think anyone who’s taken more than a casual glance at anime would know harem and incest shows aren’t exactly common. Suggesting they are is a bit like suggesting Sharknado or Piranha 3DD represent the typical Hollywood movie. In the current anime season for example the only show that fits in either category would be “Saikin, Imouto no Yousu ga Chotto Okashiinda ga” which most, including myself, seem to be avoiding like the plague. It’s disc pre-order sales in Japan are so poor it has yet to even show up in Oricon’s rankings. It’s hardly representative of anime in general.Those who bring those terms up are only showing their own lack of familiarity with the medium. I would concede loli elements are more common for whatever reason (cultural, insularity, etc). It’s not something I’d excuse off-hand, I honestly would rather there was less of it, but in many cases it isn’t sexual and again there’s plenty of anime without it. One doesn’t have to do much research to verify that.

          • Nana

            “Japan’s issue is that their entertainment is becoming more and more insular as the years go by”
            This is different from western comics and US-American TV series how, exactly? :o

          • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

            This is different from western comics and US-American TV series how, exactly? :o

            In that American pop-culture is enjoyed all around the world and Japanese pop-culture isn’t. Look at comics. Look at the movies based on those comics. Look at regular Hollywood movies. People enjoy those around the world. The same cannot be said of Japanese entertainment.

          • seiya19

            As someone that lives in a South American country, I would argue that said difference in popularity has a lot more to do with the language barrier, the established distribution and marketing channels, and the fact of the US being far more proactive in exporting their culture overseas, rather than any actual evaluation of quality and appeal. After all, how can people evaluate something when they don’t even know it exists ?

            Our region has had plenty of mainstream anime hits in the past, and to this day many people follow the medium through fansubs and the like. The problem is that the industry hasn’t managed to capitalize on this, for one reason or another. There’s really no reason why something like Shingeki no Kyojin couldn’t find a place through one of the around 40 cable channels available in my country, yet it doesn’t happen. On the other hand, we do get Game of Thrones premiers simultaneously with the US, and we get most of what the US produces, even things of rather questionable quality/appeal like TMZ or Duck Dynasty…

            We did get one big push for anime around here through Animax, but that was poorly executed in many ways. Between not getting an option for the original dub (something important in a post-fansub era), including several non-anime shows/movies despite advertising the channel as entirely devoted to anime, and other criticism, it’s no wonder why it didn’t last long.

            It’s obvious that things like Queen’s Blade and the like would never be able to find mainstream success in the West, but to put them as representative of the entire medium is disingeneous. Japan still produces other types of anime that could very well get more exposure, and with things like Family Guy, Dexter and Black Mirror being successful in different degrees outside their countries, it’s not like the line for “offensive” content is that low anyway…

            I would also argue that the popularity of many Japanese franchises in gaming today definitely qualifies here…

          • Guest

            Cause USA loves being an attention whore, but that’s just my opinion.

          • Shippoyasha

            I’m not sure I can agree that it’s ‘excusing’ the insular nature of anime. Most anime can be easily enjoyed by a broader demographic but there are a lot of barriers including a lot of preconceptions against them that gets in the way.

      • Shippoyasha

        I don’t know how much more research I need to be doing when I was in the thick of anime fandom for years. I am not lightly saying that the anime medium is strong. Most anime that are sports, action, mecha, magical girl, for kids, for families, crime drama and sci fi release nowadays aren’t major event releases the same way it may have been in the 90s and early 2000s because the anime output nowadays is multiple times that in comparison. There are tons of amazing shows that harken back to oldschool shows too, such as the proper JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure TV adaptation, Magi, Yamato and Hunter x Hunter. Stuff like Build Gundam and Valvrave were some of the best mecha shows I have ever seen as well. Then there are surprises like Shin Sekaiyori, Eccentric Family, Space Brothers, Mushishi, Chihayafuru and Madoka. Most these shows is only the last year or two. There are many, many more including the odd ecchi or moe or slice of life shows that are far more charming and surprising than they initially appear. The variety and vibrancy of anime as a medium is amazing. It’s not even like I dislike oldschool anime either. I totally get why people love 90s and early 2000s fare. Some of my favorites are in there as well.

        It’s just that perhaps the glut of content is why so many gems are overlooked and even anime localization is always a year behind when it comes down to a proper disc release. Anime on TV is always on premium or in anemic in demand channels too. So the only way to get gems in the rough is to go the fansub route for many. Even at that, not all great shows are subtitled. There are always several amazing shows each year that is overlooked even by diehard anime fans.

        I never intended to say that original comment offhand because you can see, I have plenty to say in support of the anime scene even despite the popular western sentiment being that anime is in some decline. Content wise and variety wise, the medium practically speaks for itself. It’s just a shame that too few shows get a lot of visibility outside Japan in a major way. But it’s not because of some decline of the industry.

        • Lucky Dan

          As soon as I read Shin Seikai Yori as one of the top anime of the year and most of you agree, none of you don’t know what you taking about.

          It sold like crap, it place amongst the garbage shit piles in Japan is well deserved because who was it aimed for? I was watching it through and thought it might explore more on How, Why, What, When, Where, Who about the powers when they acquired them how they did enquire them who suppiled them.

          It was hinted at Episode 4 with great animation and a girl appearing when all the monster rats died then it went to complete shit completely ignoring everything it built up to that point.

          The story is absolutely broken, just focused on a civil war in one village when one person could of sacrificed them selves and saved everyone since all they had to do is have a shock troop to kill anyone who went out of line which was unlikely. (this was show during the civil war)

          The animation was broken past Episode 4, where it was done very well then they ran out of budget and the animation came shitpoor and missing almost every essential plot point in the book sorry but if you think this is a remotely good anime this should of been bought like hot cakes but I’m siding with the Japanese on this one.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          If you’re so vehemently denying that the anime industry has been declining, I’m afraid I don’t know how I can possibly convince you otherwise.

          I think that is a fact that has been accepted the world over, including in Japan. The quality of animation has gone down; a number of the best, most experienced directors have moved into other industries (including games) because they’re far more lucrative; working conditions are a far cry from ideal; perception in the west is very different and far more niche than a few years ago; and the obsession with themes like incest and just downright pathetic protagonists is very disturbing.

          Yes, there are a few gems, but that doesn’t change what anime as a whole has become. There have always been bad shows, but in the past, the best shows were enough to outweigh the bad ones. Nowadays, this is no longer the case. There’s too much of a focus on the hyper-otaku and too much unnecessary fanservice.

          Now, I know there are some people in these comments that will defend fanservice and sexualization to their dying breath and others who will support anything that comes out of Japan just because it’s Japanese, but any old average Joe could take one look at the state of the anime industry at large and tell you things are not A-OK.

          • Ethan_Twain

            Wait, there are anime directors that have jumped ship to video games? That’s interesting info! Do you know of any specific examples? I’m always interested to see when video games are made under an actual creative talent from another industry, since the medium has fostered so few of it’s own.

            Or is it just that Namco has a building full of ex-anime directors making their Super Robot Wars and Tales of games :/

          • Shippoyasha

            I really wish you would stop attacking me as ‘vehemently denying’ and using tons of accusatory language to get a point across. I’m not saying your perception doesn’t exist or isn’t valid to a degree, but a lot of negativity flung at the anime industry is quite frankly overblown in my eyes and a good case can be made FOR the industry as well.

            “The quality of animation has gone down”

            I don’t think I can agree with this. There’s plenty of amazingly well done animation out there. It may not be the absolute norm due most shows being relatively smaller projects with a limited budget, but there’s always the surprisingly well done shows each season.

            “perception in the west is very different and far more niche than a few years ago; and the obsession with themes like incest and just downright pathetic protagonists is very disturbing.”

            That’s the problem. It’s just a perception. The one you’re pushing out is extremely accusatory and one sided to boot. Themes like incest really isn’t prevalent as you may think it is (and can easily be avoided with even the most basic of research) and the ‘pathetic protagonist’ thing is more of an early 2000s trope. Which kind of makes me think you just gave up on the medium and is clinging to old stereotypes about it.

            ‘Yes, there are a few gems, but that doesn’t change what anime as a whole has become. There have always been bad shows, but in the past, the best shows were enough to outweigh the bad ones. Nowadays, this is no longer the case. There’s too much of a focus on the hyper-otaku and too much unnecessary fanservice’

            I really disagree with that, because the sheer number of good shows in a given year these days easily overweighs the bad or mediocre ones. Like I said, not all anime is an event release anymore. There’s just a way bigger pool of content and it’s a lot easier to stick with the great and rare content that’s ironically not rare anymore because there’s so much being released in a given year. Even if you dislike fanservice entirely, you can still get by perfectly fine considering most shows do NOT have fanservice that’s worth censoring (as most shows that are risky are nowadays).

            And I’m not sure I can agree all fanservice is just ‘unnecessary’ out of the bat. Some shows that wants to be fanservice oriented should have the freedom to do so. And again, purely fanservicey shows are a small minority in a given anime season. Very easy to avoid if it’s not your thing.

            ‘Now, I know there are some people in these comments that will defend fanservice and sexualization to their dying breath and others who will support anything that comes out of Japan just because it’s Japanese, but any old average Joe could take one look at the state of the anime industry at large and tell you things are not A-OK.’

            Fanservice and sexualization are not some deathknell or even morally or societally wrong as it’s always been made out. A case can be made that they can be enjoyed in safe and respectful manner both. It’s not a matter of enjoying Japanese content just because it’s Japanese. It’s because the content allows for more freedom than a lot of western media allows. And that’s perfectly fine, because most anime content really isn’t sexualized or is concentrating on fanservice.
            And it’s ridiculous to say some ‘average Joe’ is the correct judge to trash the industry precisely when there’s preconceptions like the ones you keep dishing out.
            Seriously, I’d rather like to discuss something without constant personal jabbings. I am only making the case that the otaku fandom is not some destructive influence like you are constantly convincing yourself that it is. And by that extension, you keep making these broad attacks my way. It’s not even like I don’t sympathize with a lot of your points either. But it’s really hard to discuss anything when you’re so convinced otaku like myself are some disease to be wiped out. Despite what you may think, there are many perspectives to a lot of the anime industry. I don’t even disagree that it has its issues, but I feel it’s a bit much to go with ‘because fanservice = bad’ and end the case there. I’m starting to feel it’s not safe posting things in this site anymore because you’d come barging in with these shamings and misinformation. It’s a shame too, because I always respected your point of view even if they don’t always coincide with mine. But I think this otaku/anime business is really touching some raw nerve with you. I think I’ll just leave it at that. It’s not my job to convince your or change your mind at your stances. I’m only voicing mine.

          • Ric Vazquez

            Chin up, you are not alone on this.

          • Shippoyasha

            Thanks, though, I just wish I can reach out to Ishaan eventually, because I’m not being sarcastic about respecting alternative opinions including Ishaan’s. Ishaan can sound harsh but I’m pretty sure we all want the best for the animation medium.. I just feel the perception of anime tends to be very split nowadays and sometimes the ‘otaku perspective’ is seen like we’re destructive influences in the cartooning world or that we’re somehow more perverse or ‘lonely loser types’ than deemed necessary. I just think it’s worth being positive about the good things in anime (and again, there’s bad things about it too. Ishaan actually raises some good points, no doubt about it).

            I kind of think there’s a lot working against the distribution of anime too, as the excitement over it kind of popped when the DVD started being phased out. And the perception being that anime is ‘inaccessible’ because the popular media tends to focus on the craziest content and not the good, earnest storytelling that any oldschool anime fan could appreciate.

            Again, I really didn’t intend to start a fight or anything. I apologize to Ishaan and anyone else if I came off across as combative here.

          • Ric Vazquez

            I’m one of those oldschool anime fans even though I’m only 24 because I grew up with my uncle and his 70′s and 80′s anime like Mazinger z, Fist of The North Star etc. And while I think that anime has become somewhat too cheesy nowadays but the comedy aspect has gotten better and I’m still as much of a fan as ever(not just anime, but japanese stuff in general), I’m currently watching over 10 ongoing anime including Kill la Kill, Tokyo Ravens, Nisekoi, Golden TIme, Noragami etc., I really don’t see how western stuff lilke marvel and dc comics which have too many spin-offs and crossovers and are lo longers understandable can be better, only the movies I can say are on par.

        • $51888021

          So how does being in “the thick of the fandom” mean you know a damn thing about the health of the industry? If I play video games long enough, should I be qualified to work as an advisor over at Sony?

          You’re mistaking your enjoyment of the entertainment you derive from an entertainment medium for its status as lucrative field of business and an international culture. In fact, being “in the thick of the random” actually makes you the worst judge of how well anime is doing.

          • Shippoyasha

            Just being in the know and catching up with a lot of the stuff available certainly helps. Not to mention the variety of anime today compared to 10, 20 years ago is definitely in favor of today, despite some popular opinion the opposite that. I’m not saying that the anime culture is perfect or that it hasn’t taken some beatings on the international front, because a lot of anime aren’t being put out to the international arenas. But I’d argue that is way beyond the content of anime itself.

        • Mirin

          Sorry but I think it’s clear from this post and others you have made that your standards are down the drain. If Valverave is one of the best mecha shows you’ve ever seen then I pity you and suggest you go out and watch more. You quoted NNB as having ‘broken into the mainstream’. I really don’t know where you get that idea from or what your idea of ‘mainstream’ is (Hint: it’s not everything outside of your chosen online anime community).

          There have certainly been some good anime in the past few months/years, it’s not all bad news. (Chihayafuru springs to mind) but trying to pretend that shows like NNB, Shin Sekai Yori, Valvrave, Madoka, TWGOK, Log Horizon and Saki are worthwhile just makes you look like you only started watching anime in the past decade or so. There are sleeper hits and completely unsuccessful series from 03 which wipe the floor with those series. The only reason people assume they are good is because the other shows that are worse are practically unwatchable. If Madoka had aired alongside the plethora of exciting series we got in 2006-2007 alone it would have vanished into the background.

          And you say A-1 are doing exciting things? Where? A-1 are one of the most predictable studios out there right now, exactly what you’d expect from a subsidary of Sony.

          • Shippoyasha

            Personal taste, fella. Everybody can have it. I have enjoyed a ton of quality shows way beyond just Valvrave and I fully realize the opinion of the show isn’t set in stone at all. It’s a very divisive show.
            And I disagree with this idea of some older anime automatically ‘wiping the floor’ of something especially when they are nothing alike in premise. I just don’t understand the need to categorically define anime on the years they came out of. Some years are pretty strong no doubt, but it’s disingenuous to say the entirety of the medium is in a singular decline.
            I’ve been watching anime far longer than just the last 10 years just saying. And I have said it before, but some of my favorite anime span many eras and decades. A lot of my shows I’m currently watching are from the 70′s and 80′s too.
            A1 IS doing exciting things because they do a lot of riskier adaptations than usual. Sometimes they will make concessions towards making an interesting anime than being the perfect adaptation and I have always respected them for that.
            But sure, keep wailing on me like I’m wrong to have that viewpoint.

          • Mirin

            It’s not really about personal taste when the shows you are talking about are objectively and undeniably worse than their predecessors. I have favorite anime from all eras too, and perhaps surprisingly, I don’t rate the 1980s as being a particularly great decade. For someone who claims to have watched anime for longer than 10 years (I’m assuming you mean you’ve actively been following airing TV anime, not just shows like Pokemon or Sailor Moon) you obviously haven’t watched much anime in that time else you would be able to see the huge difference in quality. It’s not about disliking an arbitrary year for no reason, it’s about observation and quality and understanding that in the past 6 years, the quality has been lower than that before. I wouldn’t necessarily use the word ‘decline’ because I feel that the quality between 2008-2013 has fluctuated within those years, but yes I absolutely stand by the fact that those collective years have been much worse than prior years and I have made it very clear as to why this has happened. You’re far too keen to assume that everyone who disagrees with you is nostalgia-blinded and stuck in the past because it’s easier for you to disregard their argument without doing your own research, but unfortunately for you, this is not the case. The trends, sales and quality of anime correlates directly with the shift in demographic and the changes at ground level with ‘otaku’ culture and even Akihabara itself (if you are observant enough to notice). I don’t believe it is game over for anime because when the demographic inevitably shifts again the quality will change. I’m not saying anime will never be the same or that it’ll never be good, I’m saying right now it is not good and that x and y are the reasons for this. You can ignore it, refuse to believe it, throw up strawman arguments or downvote it in hopes that you don’t have to confront it, but it does not and will not change the facts. End of.

            And finally, A1 hasn’t done any ‘risky adaptions’ at all recently. I’d like some specific examples of that. It shouldn’t really come as any surprise that they don’t take risks, they’re a subsidary of Sony and are there exclusively for the money, not to take risks in the medium of animation. Madhouse however I would probably agree with you on, Chihayafuru is in the small handful of great shows that have come out in the aforementioned period.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            End the insulting posts now and move on. This has as noted before gone on too long. Warned.

          • Mirin

            Yes let’s warn everyone who doesn’t agree with you, excellent moderation. There was nothing in that post that was even remotely insulting, stop grasping at straws and finding reasons to ‘warn’ me just because you don’t agree with what I say. You’re a terrible moderator.

          • Shippoyasha

            I just don’t know about the otaku influence happening much at all because the anime content don’t seem to reflect that. There’s still a lot of shows that isn’t focused on moe and even shows that ARE moe tends to be self deprecating comedies. Pure ‘moe’ is very early 2000s in idea and I can’t really think of that many shows each year that does the moe aspect with a straight face. Most always add something on top like Girls und Panzer that adds tank battles and tactics for example. It doesn’t mean the otaku elements aren’t there, but I am not so sure about it overtaking the creator content off the bat.

            Also, I think you’re not factoring in how during the 80′s and 90′s, there were a handful of anime released in a given year. Meaning longer runs (26 episodes or more being normal) with bigger budgets. Give any modern show a decent budget and the results are extremely impressive. Even shows like Heartcatch Pretty Cure had some amazing fight scenes because they obviously put aside some budget for the one season. OVAs and movies just blow a lot of older shows away in terms of animation fidelity by effortlessly using modern techniques.

            As for A-1, about half of their works are ORIGINAL, meaning that’s just pure risk as it gets out in the anime industry. They don’t just do run of the mill adaptations like you say. Even if they do adaptations, they put in their own touches in most shows, sometimes daring to do the ‘dangerous’ thing like showing the Japanese soldiers sabotaging their own trains in a historical segment of WW2. They knew the political risks and just did it anyway. Stuff like Mighty Birdy basically had no real ‘resurgence’ of any sort but they decided to make two seasons of it just because they damn felt like it. They’re a pretty daring studio. I don’t see why them being Sony subsidiary means anything. They clearly do a great job being a proud anime studio regardless.

            Speaking of all this ‘decline’ though, the major factor is the way Japanese media in general (games included) where they’re tightening their belts. Meaning more shows are only 10-13 in length and they can’t splurge all budget on every episode. That has some impact on the anime scene but even then the anime medium is still very healthy despite that. A lot of shows not going overboard with budget is not some malicious attempt to hold back the anime medium. It’s just the economics of the situation. One they still do very well despite it.

            And going back to the otaku deal, for one, hardcore otaku fandom has singlehandedly kept the anime industry alive so it deserves at least some thanks (I’d argue, a LOT of thanks) that the anime industry is still going pretty strong. The sad fact is that not all anime is going to get a huge budget like they may have in the 90′s. And not sure why you’re dissing 80′s anime there. There’s some amazing shows from that time period.

            Anyway, I don’t think you’re wrong to have the negative perceptions. It can be easy to think that at times. I just think a good case can be made that the industry is still relatively thriving despite the natural setbacks of the industry (and the scarcer budgets in Japanese media in general). Sorry if this sounds crass, but I think you’re getting too caught up in ‘blame the otaku’ for all this. I just don’t think that’s fair. Again, for a demographic that could have potentially saved the medium in Japan’s tougher economic days.Surely they can make the effort to sell discs/merchandise a bit cheaper and to the greater audience, but apparently that business doesn’t seem to appear viable.

      • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

        Agreed. Every anime I tried to watch last year, aside from Gatchaman Crowds, was incomprehensible drivel.

      • Nana

        Many people in their right mind would say so.

        It’s people with issues that make claims like “No one in their right mind”. Please understand that your opinion is just that – an opinion. And a pretty silly one at that.

      • Ric Vazquez

        ….

    • Ladius

      I have to agree with most of what you said, during the seventh hardware generation jrpgs surely had a shift because of many factors (Japanese gamers and developers going handheld, production values dropping making said games more niche, some key developers damaging their reputation and the whole genre with controversial outings such as FF13), but that has nothing to do with the genre’s quality or with its accessibility.

      Lots of those criticisms seems to be from people that aren’t actively invested in playing jrpgs, either because they aren’t on their platforms of choice (how many great DS and PSP jrpgs were ignored by people who would have probably loved them), or because they have shifted to different genres (the seventh generation marked the return of western developers to a console market that previously saw Japan as the major player), or because they adhered to the post-FF13 narrative that transformed the downfall of one of the most well known jrpg series in that of the genre itself, ending up ignoring other series and developers.

      Those who have continued to follow the genre just as they did in the previous generations have found a lot of great, enjoyable games on practically every platform, from DS to PSP, from Wii to X360 and PS3, and now even PCs. Actually, the fact that lots of good to great games were ignored outside of the enthusiast press and forum goers meant most of them remained niche and some of them underperformed, creating a sort of negative loop between media coverage, consumer awareness, sales and the perception about the genre’s health.

      Accessibility is another trait that is often overblown due to misperceptions: there are actually an extremely small number of jrpgs that are actually hard to approach, while most of them lend themselves pretty well to different playstyles and levels of commitment. Some of them can have complex systems, or require walkthroughs to be enjoyed fully, but the same was true of jrpgs in the past generations, the so-called golden ages (if anything, jrpgs are a lot more straightforward now compared to the SNES or PS1 ages, and even PS2 had a lot of obscure, complex titles).

      Another trait that makes me love jrpgs (and wrpgs) is the diverisity you can find in the genre’s series and developers: from epic stories to slice of life to parody, from fantasy to steampunk to sci-fi, from gritty to moe, from turn based to action, from high production values to stylized sprites, you have so much variety you could only focus on jrpgs and still ending up playing games that are virtually completely different.

      As for animes, while late night slots and the incentives for BR sales have made fanservice and ecchi a viable business strategy there are still lots of good and great shows airing each year, and ignoring how harem comedies, ecchi, kawaiimoe and fanservice have been there since long ago makes little sense.

      • chroma816

        To be fair, anime went through a bit of a slump between 2000 to, like, 2008. It’s not that there were no good shows at all, but there was so much generic shit (and a few really bad things too) that the medium suffered – although it’s definitely been bouncing back.

        JRPGs suffered the same way in the past decade. There were definitely a number of very good, now classic and beloved games but there was also a large number of generic and outright bad JRPGs that came to the market, Add in that Japanese developers (and anime directors) seemed to have tried playing it very safe and risk-free during this period and you get a pretty pessimistic look at the state of both medium for last decade,

        • Ladius

          I see your point, but I also think the same could be said of the previous jrpg lineups once you consider them as a whole.

          If you evaluate every single jrpg released on NESFamicom, Super Nintendo, Mega Drive, Sega CD, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, GB, GBA, GC and PlayStation 2 (just to name the most relevant in the western markets) you will see an astounding number of games that have been completely forgotten, either because they were too niche to be relevant despite their quality, because they weren’t localized or because they were actually forgettable (which doesn’t mean they couldn’t be enjoyed at the time) or even bad. Even then, some of those who are actually remembered fondly by today’s fanbase were far from being big seller.

          Before the start of the seventh generation, jrpgs were still roughly on the same page as most other genres in terms of production values, technical advancements and relevance (Japan having a major role in the console space obviously helped), so people didn’t consider the existence of mediocre games as a sign of the genre’s crisis.

          On the other hand, since the beginning of the seventh generation the race to handhelds from Japanese developers and the sharp lowering of production values made lots of jrpg fans unable to keep following the genre or uninterested in anything except for a few of highmid budget titles on home consoles, especially considering the competition by wrpgs, a genre that was just starting to gain relevance on consoles after a long period of PC exclusivity (aside from some 6th gen ports).

          This was especially true for DS and PSP jrpgs, which were mostly ignored outside our niche regardless of their quality.

          I’m thinking about games like Infinite Space, Radiant Historia, Devil Survivor, Strange Journey, Rondo of Swords, Fire Emblem 12, Soma Bringer, Laevatein, Growlanser WoT, Persona 2 IS, Valkyria Chronicles 2, the Dragon Quest remakes, Valkyrie Profile CotP, Ys Seven, ZHP, Suikoden Tierkreis, TWEWY, Trails in the Sky,Tactics Ogre LUCT, the Etrian series, the Rune Factory games, Knights in the Nightmare and plenty of others. This isn’t even mentioning other games that are still entertaining while not being as good (imho, obviously), or the vast number of unlocalized titles like Final Fantasy Type 0, Valkyria Chronicles 3 which only recently got patched, Tales of Hearts, Growlanser 1, Oreshika and Persona 2 EP’s PSP remakes, the 7th Dragon games, Front Mission 2089, Blaze Union, Shining Force Feather, Shining Blade, Shining Ark, Sol Trigger, the Radiant Mythology games, the ports ot Trails in the Sky SC (thankfully that one is coming) and The 3rd, Zero no Kiseki, Ao no Kiseki, Nayuta and many others.

          Meanwhile, even home consoles had more interesting, diverse jrpgs than lots of people gave them credit for: Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn, Valkyria Chronicles, Xenoblade, Resonance of Fate, Tales of Vesperia, Nier, Lost Odyssey, Fragile, Tales of Graces f, Ni no Kuni, Tales of Xillia, Disgaea 3 and 4, The Last Story, The Guided Fate Paradox or Atelier Ayesha (same for the last two games in the Arland trilogy), not to mention promising games like Tales of Xillia 2, Persona 5, Tales of Zestiria, Drakengard 3, Atelier Escha & Logy and The Witch and the Hundred Knight.

          All this crazy listing (sorry, by the way) was simply meant to show how many legitimately interesting games were waiting for those who were still invested in jrpgs this last gen, regardless of the changes the market underwent in that timeframe.

          • chroma816

            Oh, trust me, I know all about a lot of those games and their relevance and whatnot – you’re preaching to the choir.

            The problem is that many people don’t, or they think Final Fantasy is the epitome of JRPG nowadays or something. COD and other FPS’s doesn’t really help, and games being so expensive also hurts the JRPG genre, especially in the West where companies have to wager sales against cost for translation and other such things. Most market are still playing it safe because the world economy still isn’t back to normal.

            That said, it’s plain to see that there are still tons and tons of JRPG fans the world over, so I’m sure we won’t be left in the dust here in the West – we just need to show our love more, so companies know we’re open for more.

    • KingGunblader

      Can I just say, as someone who doesn’t watch anime at all – I find it immensely off-putting.

      The only time I ever watch it, or deal with it at all really, is if I’m playing a JRPG that uses the style (which these days is most of them).

      Because I’m not a consumer of anime, I’m not going to try and argue whether it’s good or bad, but I think that JRPGs could have a healthier reputation worldwide if Japanese developers were more willing to move away from it.

      Now, before anyone replies to this comment: I am NOT saying developers shouldn’t be allowed to use whatever art style they want, nor should anime itself not exist – however, many people like me have the same views on anime which can be a huge barrier of entry to JRPGs – especially nowadays when most of them use the style.

      • Shippoyasha

        Personally, I think peoples’ misconception of anime is the one that could use some work instead. I don’t think it’s offbase to have these viewpoints as yours. Just saying, the anime style is often too vilified right out of the gate if for no other reason than the preconceptions being so strong against it. Also, not all ‘anime styles’ are the same. There’s plenty that have a manga/comic styling or even a super realistic styling. Such as El Shaddai, JoJo games and more. I feel a more open dialogue to the various styles of art even within the anime styling can help. Again, I don’t mean to diss your perspective.

    • Jeffrey Thrash

      I agree, though I think the reason people tend not to take anime seriously is because a lot of people briefly watch it purely because it is different from western cartoons, then realize that they don’t like the actual plot or something. I especially agree that video games have become too diverse for any one genre to completely dominate and the perceived downturn of JRPGs is probably more from the fact that they finally have some competition, especially in terms of story. Of course, because some Japanese companies (Square Enix and Nintendo, to name names) are practically denying the existence of this competition, I personally wouldn’t give them too much slack.

    • H_Floyd

      Please list for me any recent excellent, turn-based, home console Japanese RPGs you know of. I’m not being facetious, I’m asking because your sunny outlook on the state of JRPGs seems to imply that you know something I don’t.

      • Shippoyasha

        That’s kind of the thing though…. most Japanese gaming has moved entirely to handhelds. Sadly, home console front, all of Japanese game looks sparse, not just JRPGs. Even then, at least we still get a fair share of JRPGs on home consoles as well.

    • http://LevelUpGeneration.blogspot.com/ KALiverin

      I agree. I think JRPGs are doing well enough in recent years that the perceived decline in popularity has more to do with the fact that mainstream franchises like Final Fantasy aren’t as popular as they used to be. It’s sort of like how some people say all FPS games are bad when they mostly pick on Call of Duty. It’s very easy to look at the most popular franchise in a certain genre and then declare it dead as a result.

      I think the problem is that people want to continue playing JRPGs the way they used to, on a console on a big screen, but clearly a lot of developers these days have different ideas and prefer to make smaller scale games on systems like the 3DS. I’ve known people who refuse to buy a portable system based on the size of the screen. While I like home console RPGs, some people don’t have realistic expectations as to how a game of that scale can still be made in HD and still generate enough of a profit to be successful enough to make it worth doing. A lot of JRPGs on the PS2 don’t even have great visuals, but it’s hard to say whether developers could get away with making games that looked like that on modern systems.

      There’s still lots of great JRPGs being made today. Last year saw the release of several great RPGs, but some people will miss out on them just because they come out on a particular system instead of the one they want it to.

    • Ric Vazquez

      Agreed, JRPG games are the only ones that make me feel like I got my money back x4

  • Kango234

    “It’s been a rough DECADE for the JRPG.”

    Jesus, I know it’s true, but to see it written out like that…

    It really has been a long time hasn’t it.

    • Ladius

      If you wanted high budget, traditional turn based jrpgs on home console then I can see your point, but if you are invested in the jrpg genre as a whole and aren’t ignoring handheld games or titles that can’t match Final Fantasy’s budget, then this generation provided lots of good or even great games on practically every hardware you could name.

      • Warboss Aohd

        Xenoblade Chronicles, how you proved JRPGs could be great in this generation/

        • Linhua

          … THIS.

          … OH MY GOD THIS.

          … that game gave me hope.

          … it truly did.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Xenoblade’s one of those games, where every single aspect and mechanic feeds into the others and it creates an absolute brilliant synergistic adventure.

          • Warboss Aohd

            i know, it was glorious!

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Seriously. The game rewards exploration, so what do they do? They make the environments glorious with equally glorious musical scores playing, they make it easy to traverse the map( but beware, High level daemons everywhere!) they litter the map with blue items for you to find and acquire, then give you a bunch of quests to do while you’re on your way.Then they add the heart to hearts all over the place which are pivotal for your social relationships which get you more quests, skills and affinity points for your combos, which also gets you items, which you can give to your team mates to also increase your affinity. In Xenoblade, you dont grind levels, the way the level system is set up makes it sort of pointless to do that, they want you to explore and you do so gladly.

            Then you get to level 99 and take the challenge of bashing in some level 120 enemies in with your expert form of strategy. That stuff is seriously difficult and oh so satisfying. That is why Xenoblade’s RTATB combat is amazing. All about those affinity combos.

            Not to mention the fact that the writing is absolutely brilliant. You have to play through the game twice, the first time you play through it in sheer awe of it, then you play through it again and see how well connected everything is.

            I call Xenoblade Chronicles a Chrono Trigger successor for that very reason

            This is also why people are super excited for X

          • Nintendojitsu

            This man gets it.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Well we got a Real Time ATB game in Xenoblade

    • Kaetsu

      I would disagree. Squeenix, Atlus, Nintendo and a bunch of other companies have been making a lot of great JRPGs in the past decade.

    • Kango234

      Yeah I guess I jumped the gun writing this comment. I was partially referring to high budget home console releases, but you guys are right, there were some shining gems this generation.

    • Ethan_Twain

      Amen. There have been good JRPGs in the past decade to be sure, but it’s been at least 10 years since a new JRPG captured the market’s imagination and really spread via word of mouth as a game that you’ve just gotta play.

      Persona 4 is the closest we’ve come, and that was a really interesting case. It was embraced by the genre purists immediately upon launch, and then only slowly did word spread that hey, this game is actually amazingly good. You’ve got to play it. You’ve ALL got to play it. It could have almost been a phenomenon, except by the time the wider world realized that this was a JRPG not just for the JRPG crowd, the PS2 was expired history. And the recent remake on Vita isn’t reaching too many new people either, since Vitas have basically sold to… the JRPG crowd :/

      We’re at the point now that regardless of quality, a JRPG just can’t compete with the top tier releases in the Western market. A far cry from ruling that market once upon a time.

  • https://www.facebook.com/mike.degroodt Mike de Groodt

    YAY I’m not the only one who doesn’t like the Wind Vestal.

    Ringabel and Edea are just so much better in comparison.

  • Altumn

    Im so mad that after waiting so long they finally release it… right before Lightning Returns. Plus I got a whole bunch of games to beat before I can play Lightning Returns.
    At least it did get localized though!

    • Syltique

      Go for LR first, and play this when you use the bathroom.

      • Altumn

        I don’t know why you have 3 down votes I thought that was funny. Thats the greatness of portability!

  • Prinny Dood

    This game is fun, I played the demo to death max out all the class per char, grinded them to level 26.Oh by the way you can level up much faster on map near the ocean make sure you have at least two maxed out black mages. I level up up real quick doing this :-)

  • MrTyrant

    Sadly my preference is always plot related, I like good storylines and character interactions or decision stuff but I’m aware that Bravely Default biggest flaw is in the story.

    However I like the return of the turn based battles that I loved so much and now with interesting tweaks to keep playing for hours.

    • Ash_Riot

      At least the storyline didn’t offend me with the stupid unlike certain console JRPGs this gen or were completely forgettable. Star Ocean 4, FFXIII, Ninokuni, Infinite Undiscovery, The Last Story and so on and so forth.

      • MrTyrant

        I don’t know dude I think it’s about the same feeling as the ones you mentioned kind of…however some of those you did mention not just bored me but irritated me…like SO4…

        • Ash_Riot

          Yeah, SO4 was really irritating. I wouldn’t put BD in the same ballpark as SO4 or Infinite Undiscovery though; they’re on a whole other level of bad. Ah well, the Atlus/Yasumi Matsuno/Yoko Taro’s of the JRPG world (as in, good writers in the genre) are where I head to when I want a good JRPG story nowadays. Sakaguchi used to be good, but his best days are behind him. I’d even argue the same for Takahashi (Xenoblade’s story wasn’t bad, just okay).

          • Anime10121

            I’d say Takahashi’s still great, but Xenoblade was a game he made wanting to focus more on gameplay and playability than an epic plot (and it shows), as he realized that the story driven games weren’t doing well enough in sales. But I’d still put it above your average jrpg console story these days…

  • Slickyslacker

    “Honestly, I’m not even sure I would want to play this game on hard mode or under any other sort of artificially challenging settings.”

    “Artificially challenging.”

    That combination of words just made me cringe. I’m not going to launch into a tirade about it, but if this game’s hardest difficulty setting isn’t actually challenging, then what is it?

    • mikanko

      I won’t comment about this game specifically, as I haven’t played it yet, but the term itself does often have merit.

      There are games like Ninja Gaiden Black where harder levels of difficulty throw new enemies at you with better AI and new attacks that require you to find new ways of approaching encounters. Contrary to that there are several games where increasing the difficulty just give all the enemies more health, or make the player take more dmg. While sure it might be considered more difficult to some, it often just makes things longer and needlessly frustrating(if it’s a game that is heavily RNG influenced) without really challenging the player more than what was found on easier difficulty.

      • Slickyslacker

        I see what you mean.

        Nor have I played the game yet, sans the demo (which one can’t judge the game itself for). I suppose such plain enhancements to enemies, such as augmenting their HP or stats, can be considered “artificially challenging” and simply pushes the player to grind more or something in order to meet the game’s expectations. Tiamat in FF XII is a useful example of this: the most conventional method of defeating it involves not actively playing the game at all!

        There’s quite a clear line, though. If an enemy challenges the player to formulate strategies or use foresight during a battle, then that is real difficulty. Simply bursting through a boss because the player is over-leveled or has extremely powerful equipment trivializes the difficulty that the game initially poses, therefore causing it to be “artificial”.

      • Asura

        Problem with RPGs and difficulty is, assuming the battle system is complex in the first place and not super straight-forward, is that it is very tough for somebody to find that perfect sweetspot of level/gear to face a boss to make the challenge need thought and be really rewarding, but not have the odds be so stacked against you it comes down to luck or be overleveled to make the boss boring.

        I typically find that the harder difficulties allow for easier location of this sweetspot, as I prefer to be underleveled than overleveled, since you can always level up a bit if defeating the boss is not feasible. Once you overlevel the fun is drained though.

  • Elliott Moon

    ive put 100 hours in an im almost at the end its worth your time and money its the final fantasy game we deserve (spoilers) at least one of the endings

  • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

    Even so…I’m still going to play the game the old-fashion way.

    Getting this will be no problem (I hope not…), since I still got that $25 Gamestop Giftcard.

  • BaoZakeruga

    I must have it ._.

  • Kazekage Gaara

    This game should be great :D I’ll stick to the “Default” settings lol

  • Solomon_Kano

    > But I’m still sad that I can’t turn Agnès’ speech into gibberish. I just do not like her.

    Haha. Now I’m interested in seeing what Agnes is all about if she warranted that.

    • Ferrick

      well… let’s just say that you should(n’t) be sitting next to someone else while playing, because her text can make you go and strangle the nearest person next to you

      • Solomon_Kano

        Or perhaps I should just sit next to the right person… Hehe. Hehehe. Hoho. Ahem.

    • Göran Isacson

      Ha ha, while I am just at the fourth chapter sop far I can say this: Agnes is an interesting character IN CONCEPT… in execution things get far less interesting. I won’t blame the voice actress for it, both English and Japanese voices are good in my book, but the plot has a certain level of melodrama that does the character who gets hit the HARDEST by the games surprisingly dark plot no favors.

      I kid you not, you look at these happy little noseless blobs but the games goes to DARK effing places all the time, and Agnes spends most of her screen-time getting pretty much non-stop destroyed by the game so far. And so… well, while she doesn’t sit around and complain and do nothing ala Evangelion but actually actively works for the solution she thinks is best, she is VERY gloomy and moody and depressive to be around, and if the drama of the events surrounding her doesn’t convince you, then her resulting depression won’t really endear her to you. Polarizing, and she may get better (since yes, still just fourth chapter here), or she may just become a void who sucks all the joy out of the game. Not sure what it’s gonna end up as.

      • Solomon_Kano

        Hm. Moody does sound kinda… eh. Well, guess I’ll see if I can deal with her or not come February (which totes needs to come sooner).

        • Göran Isacson

          Yeah, if you want active and energetic protagonists, I think you’ll much prefer Edea over Agnes.

          WARNING TL;DR rant about plot in the fourth chapter here, not REALLY spoiler-ish tho.

          See, the thing here is that I kind of WANT to like Agnes. I can see what the writers were going for, a character who DOES get worn down by being the worlds chew toy and reacts pretty much as one could expect for someone without a lot of confidence in themselves constantly being shat on by the whole world. Her suffering isn’t meant to be moe or something that makes her supersympathetic as she oh so nobly soldiers on with a heart so pure as the driven snow, regardless of any injustices aimed at her~.

          No, eff that shit, Agnes gets mad, she gets sad, she gets depressed and cynical and unpleasant, and it feels RAW. It feels a bit more REAL than so many nobly suffering little girls who remain the purest of pure so otaku won’t be upset by a woman who actually has her own feelings and personality. I like that.

          Now… if I could only like the CIRCUMSTANCES that bring her to that point. At best unfortunate, at worst contrived, the game seems to be hinting that there’s grey in this conflict that would merit her cynicism but so far all the enemies are just heinous babyeating abusive horrible ridiculous monsters and the heroes so incorruptibly pure and good that when Agnes tries to introduce shades of grey and moral questions into the plot, she stands out like a sore thumb against the rest of the games tone. At the chapter I’m in right now she tries to focus on her main mission and ignore a war going on so they can get the mission done, but the game chastises her for not taking the time out to help the war-effort by making the enemy comically over the top evil and the allies so incredibly good and virtuous that ANYONE would look like an asshole if they refused them.

          I guess that they want to show Agnes opening up and learning to care about others after suffering so many misfortunes, but it comes off so clumsy: Agnes comes off as unpleasant, and the war feels contrived and it feels like the game is chastising her for a very human reaction to misfortune.. idk. I’ll have to see how things develop.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Well, that’s better than what I was expecting. Sounds like she’s fine, but the disconnect between her and her surroundings chafes.

          • Göran Isacson

            Pretty much. I should also say that at games start she often acts pretty self-sacrificial, to the point where the every-man character Tiz actually just straight up tells her to rein in her martyr complex. I don’t doubt that her introduction wins her no favors for those who are tired of the “holy girl who sacrifices herself for others wellbeing” trope since it first seems to hammer it PRETTY DARN HARD, but as time goes on I kinda start to get where they’re going with it, that it’s not meant to make her look sympathetic but hint at her deeper issues. And considering just how almost unrelentingly dark the game goes after that, it kinda makes SENSE that she’s so depressed all the time: this world IS totally depressing!

            But for everyone who saw the advertisements for the game and went “aw sweet, a spiritual sequel to Final Fantasy V! Charming heroes with charming personalities going on wacky, light-hearted adventures! Caloo Callay, oh frabjous day!”, I don’t doubt that Agnes actual personality sunk their expectations, and sunk them HARD.

            So, yeah. I can see where the developers were going, and I think that my ability to adjust my expectations of the game as I played it helped me adapt to Agnes much faster. But if you really want a spiritual sequel to FFV and will accept no divergences, yeeaaaah Agnes is gonna be your least favorite character.

            Ha ha also I hope all these discussions aren’t spoiling your expectations/fun/desire to get the game. I still think it’s awesome so far, but it’s pretty interesting in how much it ran counter to my expectations. Just let me know if I’m being too wordy about this.

          • Solomon_Kano

            No, no. Not at all. I’ve somehow managed to avoid nigh everything about the game that wasn’t pertaining to its gameplay, so I didn’t have much of any expectations one way or the other on the front of the game’s story or characters. So this is a something of a primer for me haha. So thanks.

            But, no, no worries on impacting my intentions for the game. I’ve had the CE pre-ordered for some time now, so I’ll be diving right in.

  • Callonia

    Grinding? There’s grinding in JRPG?
    I didn’t notice it O_o

    Most of the times my characters is overleveled for the bosses they face because I have too much fun exploring.

    One cannot see Millia Stab people unless you’re in a battle.

    Me suspects I’m in a minority.

  • British_Otaku

    I’ve been putting off For the Sequel for a while and highly considering getting some other imports in it’s place, but I think I’ll order a copy for myself in early February now. I need another 3DS RPG and Haseyo seems to have had a lot of fun with it as well.

  • vileBrenman

    I’m pretty excited for This game. Sadly I never beat the.demo but playing the demo gave me a good idea of what features that are available in the full game that i want to use

  • s07195

    I see you’re bravely forging ahead using default settings. ;)

  • Adrian Duran

    “but the defaults suit me just fine.”

    BUT I CHOOSE TO BE BRAVE

  • Guest

    cool

  • TGS Babay (Umar)

    37 hours in and not even done with chapter 3, loving the hell out of this game.

    In all honesty, I’ve been losing my passion for the genre. I really feel that JRPGs have gone down in quality , especially on the home console (Besides the few gems out there). And before anyone jumps down my throat, I’ve been playing JRPGs ALL my life, since I was a kid. Hell I even used to play those RPGMaker games that you find randomly on the net (Exit Fate for example was flippin amazing!) . But I’ve grown so tired of the same cliches and tropes, I honestly can’t take it. Now, this is my opinion after all, but JRPGs on home console was just horrible this gen. I took time off work last year, and I had a bunch of JRPGS saved up, but just couldn’t stomach it. Magna Carta 2, Star Ocean, FF13-2, Eternal Sonata, Blue Dragon, Infinite Undiscovery, Ar Tornelico…Gosh……..If it’s not stale dialog , it’s crappy acting and a weak story filled with numerous bouncy breasts or you’re left babysitting lil kids (Star Ocean, yes you)…Then I look at Nier and Valkyria Chronicles…And I just realize that I don’t have to put up with these cookie cutter copy and paste games when the genre is capable of giving us such masterpieces like Nier….

    Anyway, end of [RANT] …. Bravely Default is awesome

  • Tiredman

    The problem isn’t that things changed.

    The problem is that there aren’t enough jrpg fans to satiate the suits in big business. Indies have been working jrpg style games remarkably well with the only downside being lack of length or a bunch of optional stuff. It is very hard to sell a jrpg style game to 5 million gamers, and that is why that business has been shrinking on the AAA , or even the normal developer studio, side of things. They don’t see enough money in it because they only want big numbers instead of keeping many smaller numbers of fans happy and buying their games.

    I feel that studios and publishers could make almost as much money if they would split up those 500 man AAA teams into 10 smaller groups and make 10 different games for different types of fans.

    • Anime10121

      This, heck the only ones ever capable of selling JRPG’s in the millions have been the same 2 or 3 series. Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts, if you’re not one of those three, it just aint happening :(

      Publishers want games that sell in the millonS not just barely a million, so they’ve left behind the AAA jrpg genre unfortunately :(

  • artemisthemp

    I presume this is a review for US version of Bravely Default.

    So have this game been Censored/altered similar to EU version or did Square Enix give US a unaltered version?

    • raven772

      The censorship is pretty disappointing. I don’t care what is censored. Words, ideas, imagery, fan service. If it is censored then I question whether I want to buy new or not.

      • artemisthemp

        1. Age alter from 15 to 18.
        2. Certain Costumes cover more of the body

        I have also heard that a scene, where they talk about one of the character breast size have been alter to fit talking about hair.

        • Kamakuma

          I probably shouldn’t go into it here but what was the reason for the age thingy? Curious… o.o

          • Göran Isacson

            At one point Edea dresses up in a bikini an old man gives Agnes, because he wants her to wear it to a beauty pageant (an idea she rejects when she figures out that it isn’t necessary to win it, it’s a whole story and the old man would come off as even more skeevy would Agnes still be 17 and not 20). Edea wears the bikini in order to convince a man Ringabel wants to track down to lead her to some secret base of his.

            *SPOILER WARNING NOT LIKE MASSIVE SPOILER BUT IT’S A PRETTY UNSETTLING TWIST JUST SO YOU KNOW HERE*

            The game takes a turn for the ENORMOUSLY UNCOMFORTABLE when we figure out the guy is wearing a cologne that lets him manipulate womens minds, so he can take them to his dungeon, extract their bodily fluids for wicked scientific purposes, and leaves them addicted to his mindcontrol cologne. My guess is that a fifteen year old almost being date-raped and wearing a very revealing bikini while doing so proved a bit too much to bear.

            And honestly? I APPROVE. Maybe because I’m tired of the whole “fifteen year olds save the world”, but the amount of skeeve surrounding this entire plotline, as well as Ringabel, a man in his twenties constantly hitting on Edea, who was fifteen in the original version, would have filled me with NOPE. Now that all the characters are legal adults, some of the things they say or do feels a bit easier to swallow.

            *END OF SPOILERS IT IS SAFE FROM SECRETS NOW*

          • Kamakuma

            Huh… I’ll leave it at that then. XD

          • artemisthemp

            UK

            UK Loli law: It’s illegal to sell/distrusted content with Underage girls in sexual context.

            Fail to comply to law and you end up jailing

  • Göran Isacson

    The article hits the nail on the head: this really is a game that lets the player customize the hell out of their experience.

    To a certain extent, its’ almost a bit addictive. After getting the Merchant job and the Big Pharma ability which lets you heal an enemy and receive every HP healed as money, I started farming massive amounts of moneys by hurting and healing my enemies with two characters and letting the other two mop them up. Training my characters use Sword Magic, Weapon Lores, all kinds of different tricks… you can get lost building your characters to the exact specifications you want. And then the enemies actually adapt to fit the challenge! Even when I thought I was overlevelled, bosses still managed to give me a run for my money, and even common enemies had to be managed with skill. Not that they could kill me, but I still had to plan and pick my Brave’d actions with care. I approve.

    As far as story is concerned… I’m still a bit iffy. The game seems like it could LEAD to interesting things (I’m still just on the fourth chapter), but the plot suffers a bit from a bad case of the melodramas so far. The voice actors are good and all, it’s the script I’m a bit iffy about. Also, the “censorship”. I thoroughly and fully approve! The characters all being over-age helps me ease into the game as I become more and more averse to the “teens save the day” plot, and helps them feel a little easier to take seriously. Also, it helps make Ringabel feel a little bit less skeevy, which is always a plus. I only wonder why some of the other characters didn’t get age-changed, like Jackal the Thief. Taking over a gang of vicious thieves at 16? Really? I’ll just say this: the alterations barely affect the plot thus far, and I didn’t even know the ages had been changed until someone here pointed it out. All the things that have been altered are so in a “blink and you’ll miss it” and if you absolutely HAVE to have your 3D models of girls in bikinis, fear not: the rest of the girls outfit are sure to emphasize their curves. Calm your thirst pervs of the nation, y’all will find a custome design to your liking here. I can guarantee it.

  • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

    Mine’s pre-ordered, but I just wanted to check with anybody who has a copy:

    I liked the demo and all, but I noticed a distinct lack of interior locations within town. Ie, menus instead of inns, shops, etc. Does this extend to the full game, or was that just for the demo’s sake?

    • Göran Isacson

      Alas… no. This dissapointed me too: When I saw the GORGEOUS town backgrounds I saw in my mind’s eye a return to the days of Final Fantasy IX, vast cities with gorgeously decorated and rendered inns and houses, each with their own unique spin and character to them.

      But alas. Most towns I’ve seen so far are two, three handpainted screens at most. There are no civilian homes you can enter, only places important to the story (which one might like or dislike depending how important it is to you that the game is “realistic” and doesn’t let the heroes barge in on random strangers) and shops, and the shops are only menues.

      To an extent, I guess I can see where they came from. The game most likely didn’t have the budget of Final Fantasy IX, so they did what they could with what they had. It’s something I hope they improve on in the sequel, at the very least.

      • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

        Boo. Even FF 4 Heroes of Light had a good number of interiors for the towns.

        Well, can’t have everything. I still enjoyed the demo a lot and can’t wait to play the full game. Thanks for clarifying!

        • Göran Isacson

          I actually didn’t play FF 4 heroes of light, never really caught my interest. Was it any good?

          Still, as I write below I too enjoy the game. Hope it can be fun for you as well :)

          • Ouch My Head Said Dionysus

            It was ok! A bit like a prototype version of Bravely Default. It had some really interesting ideas and some cute dialogue, but its quirks at imitating an 8-bit RPG lead to a lot of frustrating design choices.

  • UUDDLRLR BASTART

    The only JRPGs for me is the Demon’s/Dark Souls series and Vagrant story. Uncompromising focus on gameplay, and atmosphere that gives full control to the player and forgoes superfluous distractions such as narrative, and evolutionary deadends like menu based combat whic is driven by dice rolls in the background. That is not to say that the western variety is my thing as I would not even wipe my ass with the lot of them.

    Basically two people in the world ever catered to me, Matsuno and Miyazaki.

  • http://www.gamefaqs.com/features/recognition/21421.html?type=4 Kashell

    Anime is not in the gutter. I understand the need to write some fluff in order to lengthen the “introduction” in your review, but at least fluff it with some grounded facts.

  • Milton O’Bannon

    I can’t wait to pick up my collector’s edition. Even though I’m in the minority here, I really enjoyed the demo.

    • IshimaruKaito

      i liked it too!! lol i usually don’t care wat other ppl think as long as i like it

  • Ric Vazquez

    SO GLAD I PRE-ORDERED THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION.

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