Bamboo’s Livechat!

"I raik oppai!"

Hey everybody! So last night (or very early this morning if you’re European…), MG’s awesome Japanese producer bamboo came on ustream to talk to foreign fans. For those of you who missed it, here are some of the things which were discussed. Remember to thank Evospace, Kouryuu, Agi, and Shini for their help in translating, organising the event, moderating chat, and so on.

First off, we had 170 unique viewers watching the channel, maxing out the Ustream limits. If you couldn’t make it in, we’ll be attempting to hold another event in the future. We’re still working out how/if we can show the recording.

At the start, bamboo gave an introduction, and apologised for the delays on certain games such as ef.

First and most frequent on the agenda was the nature of acquisitions, stated that MangaGamer choose titles “based on companies that are interested overseas and who are willing to invest in the project”, and mentioned that “the most difficult part of my job is negotiating with the game companies.” In response to a question on where MG begins, he said that titles are pursued “based on user opinions and also companies who are interested”, but pointed out that “it still takes a long time till we can convince the game companies to make them interested in the overseas market.” Despite MangaGamer being in business for around for three years, he predicts it will still be a long time before more companies fully are on board.

Taking questions, bamboo first addressed the issue of getting titles with interactive gameplay, citing the difficulty in porting them over: “Games with gameplay are difficult to develop at this time.  We need a lot of cooperation with the game companies to make it a reality.”

Responding to a question on bamboo’s taste in Western games from the team at Inside AX, he replied that he plays quite a few western games, but his favourite is Fallout 3, comparing it to the current situation in Japan.

bamboo followed up by asking his own question, asking the fans what they call our genre: Bishoujo games? Visual novels? “Visual Novel” and “Eroge” won out on chat, but please continue leaving your opinion in the blog comments.

When asked if he’s ever cried over an eroge, bamboo confesesd that “Yes, I cry a lot when I play these games~”

Responding to multiple questions about simultaneous releases, bamboo expressed his desire to release games in Japan and the west at the same time, “except we don’t have the money to do that yet”, confirming that doing so would be incredibly expensive. Discussing the nature of negotiation, he also pointed out that most VN companies in Japan are quite small, with most only having about ten full time staff, hence the preference to focus on Japan and the difficulty in appointing staff to focus on deal with overseas licensing.

When asked if Japnaese companies are pleased with the sales of Western editions, bamboo confiessed that they still aren’t selling up to expectation, and the companies “are practially doing it as a free service atm. [Games] need to sell over 2000-3000 [copies] to make an actual profit. [...] It might still take time to make [MangaGamer] into a [profitible] business, but sales and members have been steadily increasing.” Currently, MangaGamer’s best selling title is Koihime Musou.

Taking a break from questions, bamboo announced that MangaGamer is currently negotiating for Navel’s Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, and that negotiations are “going steadily.”

Getting back to acquistions and release plans, bamboo fielded a question about low price bargain titles, to which he replied: “Depends on the titles and its contents, but if the game companies are interested…” and pointed out that while he’d like to create a Steam-type service for VN distribution, the market isn’t large enough to support it, and that while otome games are a possibility, they aren’t his expertise and would require further research. Likewise, if demand was high enough, it would be possible to see doujin games coming out from MangaGamer in the future, reminding viewers that “MangaGamer is still small, so what we negotiate depends on demands from the fans.”

Fans with Android phones will also be pleased to note that while there are no plans for MangaGamer to begin releasing on the Android marketplace, OVERDRIVE will be releasing the English edition of KiraKira on the platform in-house.

When asked where he sees MangaGamer being in five years, he replied: “It might be gone, or it might still be here five years from now. If it is, i imagine there will be a lot more titles by then.” (Those of us on staff hope so too!) He also touched on the costs of localisation, pointing out that testing and voice licensing are the most expensive aspects, and that they can often cost more than everything else combined, depending on the contracts.

Touching on the tenuous subject of fan-translations, bamboo feels that they have just recently begun helping the industry, starting with NNL reaching out ot minori regarding ef, and the success of the MG/Minori/NNL deal shows that “cooperating with fan translators is an effective way to develop the market” though he still feels negatively towards those working entirely without permission.

Discussing development at OVERDRIVE, bamboo confirmed that he’s had a great experience with all of his writers. He’s also currently promoting the upcoming Japanese release of Dengeki Stryker, a comedic superhero action themed VN, and mentioned that the West was kept in mind during its development. (editor’s note: A couple of us on staff have played through the demo. It’s frickin’ brilliant.) When asked about a rumour that DEARDROPS was less than successful, bamboo quickly pointed out that the game was profitable and OVERDRIVE were happy with its performance.

On the subject of character goods, bamboo stated that COSPA are already doing international sales for most game publishers, but MG may make a few of their own exclusives in the future for conventions, but there’s nowhere to really ship them from long term. There will also be more hard copies coming soon from MangaGamer, though bamboo can’t announce what the titles are.

In terms of expanding the market, bamboo says it’s unlikely to make a sudden expansion, but he hopes that a low price all-ages title like Go Go Nippon (OVERDRIVE’s Western exclusive) will be a good place to start. He also confirmed that Go Go Nippon has been delayed, and while it will not be available in time for AX and the summer convention circuit, it should be ready in early fall. His recommendations for people looking to start playing eroge? OVERDRIVE games, of course!

Once again, bamboo repeated tha “Sales of  English VN’s are steadily increasing, but it’s not enough to convince the companies.  We aren’t getting paid to do this by the way ><” (Editor’s note: He’s referring to the executive level. All the MG freelancers *do* get paid.) Case in point, Bamboo confirmed that “Visual Arts isn’t currently interested in the overseas market… but since their president is a business person, if there is a high demand for it…?”

On a personal note, bamboo likes natto and prefers breasts (ideally mid-sized) to butts, but does not like yandere girls as he’s afraid of ending up like the MC at the end of School Days.

In terms of MangaGamer’s profitability, bamboo said: “Titles like Shuffle and Koihime were pretty profitable. So I guess well known titles do better. Kira Kira surprisingly did well too.” Regarding pricing, “We are adjusting the price of the games based on the price of the original and in consideration of costs. Of course, if the market expands, we can set it lower… “

Bamboo also confirmed that while he hasn’t been to Otakon (but would like to), he will be attending this year’s Anime Expo (albeit with fewer guests this year) and hopes to answer more questions in person, confirming that he wishes to be more hands-on in dealing with the Western fans as well as continuing with Ustream chats about twice a month.

Wrapping things up, bamboo thanked everybody for participating, and reminded the viewers that “Like I said before, Japanese companies are small, so its hard to answer to demands such as, “Release the games quicker!” but we are working hard on it!” and reminded the viewers to support MangaGamer before asking where everyone was from and signing off.

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59 Responses to Bamboo’s Livechat!

  1. justinizhere says:

    “Visual Arts isn’t currently interested in the overseas market… but since their president is a business person, if there is a high demand for it…?”

    i died a little on the inside xD (not that i wasn’t expecting it)

    “On a personal note, bamboo likes natto and prefers breasts (ideally mid-sized) to butts, but does not like yandere girls as he’s afraid of ending up like the MC at the end of School Days.”

    good to know this….

    this was a nice change of pace to read xD i wish i would have known about the stream tho D:

    • justinizhere says:

      side note: butts > breast X3

      dem DFC’s <3

    • Nurio says:

      Yeah, that was my question, I just needed to know what Bamboo had to say about it…

      Also, Boobs > Butts

      • Nurio says:

        I mean the Visual Arts question. That was my question. I’m a Kanon fan, so I just needed to know if there was any chance for an official Western release.

        • justinizhere says:

          i honestly think key would fair very well branching into the west market.

          if they released rewrite with an officiate English translation they would come out a lot richer xD

          oh well i dont mind waiting for the inevitable fan translation *shrugs*

          • moetaku says:

            “… but since their president is a business person, if there is a high demand for it…?”

            I haven’t seen much work from visual arts except Angel Beats!(don’t need to go into the details right?) so I mostly know them through the amount of foreign fans they have so I guess this might shed some light to them. But that is to say how many of the fans would be able/willing to follow up?

            On another note, I hope Ef gets a physical copy especially since the art is so pretty.

          • kouryuu9 says:

            One thing to note, is that Visual Arts =/= Key. Key is but one of (and the most well known) of almost 30 or more different brands and companies which operate under the Visual Arts umbrella. Some of the companies under visual arts also include Spray, which published the popular BL game, Gakuen Heaven. So try to keep that in mind. While Key would obviously be one of the first brands under Visual Arts which we would like to work with, Visual Arts = Key + 30 some odd other brands as well.

  2. Nurio says:

    Nice summary of what was discussed in the Live Stream chat. Of course, it’s nothing new for me since I was there at the time.

    I’m looking forward to the next time!

  3. Anon says:

    “bamboo announced that MangaGamer is currently negotiating for Navel’s Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, and that negotiations are “going steadily.”

    I hope these negotiations continue to go smoothly. I would love to see this brought over.

    • Draneor says:

      Me too. I’d definitely rebuy it.

      • esca says:

        The problem with ore-tachi is alot of people are going to judge it by the anime weather they’ll buy it or not i think. The anime is widely considered to be pretty bad.

        I reckon that’s one of the reason’s Shuffle did so well compared to Soul Link.

    • I’d definitely buy it up in a heartbeat…

      I hear the writing is tricky on that one? In my opinion, to really bring out its potential we need someone who can professionally meet expectations…

      A cross between Demonbane/G-senjou’s writing, Insani’s Fate/stay night trial, Ryuusoul’s Utawarerumono and Ixrec’s style.

      I haven’t actually played it though, so I can’t really guess what kind of writer/writing would suit it best.
      Also, haven’t tried the newest MG games, except the Koihime demo so I don’t know exactly where MG stands.

    • yagamisan says:

      I’ll be want Shuffle! Essence+ much more XD

  4. Stephanie says:

    I would love it if bamboo came to Otakon. And also if MangaGamer made otome games (at least I recently discovered Winter Wolves’ games to help satisfy that craving). But I am really glad to hear that we might be getting Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa nai over here. Oh, and I call these games “Visual Novel”, especially since I don’t even like the ero part!

    • Anon says:

      Have you tried Starry Sky or Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side? They have translations. It would be nice to see some otome games officially translated but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

      • Stephanie says:

        I tried Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side, but I had a hard time getting into it for some reason. I think Starry Sky looks good, but the chances of me importing it are slim, and pirating/installing/patching it are too much trouble. I like games that I can just pay for and download easily.

  5. L-rouge says:

    I always call them “visual novels”. The ero is a bonus, but isn’t a required part of the content (unless you’re playing a nukige, then there would be very little left!).

    Some interesting things talked about it seems, but a question I would’ve liked to ask is about US vs worldwide translation. Obviously the largest single English speaking audience is in North America, but worldwide there are a huge number of native (UK, Ireland, Australia, etc) and non-native speakers who don’t understand all the US style nuances that might otherwise help with the understanding of the translation.

    As for the continuation of future live chats, what are the odds of the times being different? For me these very early morning chats are nigh on impossible as I work every weekday and turning up to work half asleep wouldn’t be viewed in a very positive light.

    • Choux says:

      During the talk, the topic shifted for location for a while. There were people from quite a few countries,and we could all communicate with each other. In my mind, trying to make Japanese nuances decipherable makes more of a difference than fixing the difference between the US/UK/whatever regional differences. Plus, I don’t think that the translation is American to begin with.
      Also, it’s early morning to you, but it’s early evening to us on the North American west coast. If they changed the time, that would cut us off. Maybe they should do a shift? One week earlier and and the next later?

      • Torugu says:

        A shift would be a good idea, but ultimately that depends on bamboo’s schedule I guess.

        And I agree that it doesn’t really matter whether the translation follows British or American standards as long as it can still be called international (so no idioms etc. that could be understood only by Americans and no conversion to American measurements etc.).

        Especially since I believe most of MG’s translators are American and I know that many American’s aren’t very good at imitating British English…

        • Jinnai says:

          Yea it doesn’t matter too much. Exceptions would be if the setting or character(s) was/were clearly American or British.

          • Rillania says:

            Honestly the biggest difference between British and American English is slang. I have quite a few friends who live in Ireland and Britan and we talk frequently online (Chats, emails, etc), so a lot of “written word” is spoken between us and I use a lot of American slang….And it never got in the way of us understanding each other.

            The only time we’ve ever had an issue is when my buddy from Ireland came to actually visit the US and we went to a restaurant and tried to order chips…Since the British/Irish version of chips is French Fries here, etc. British and American english is very close though if you discount slangs, and it’s easy enough to find out about slang.

        • Nurio says:


          Especially since I believe most of MG’s translators are American and I know that many American’s aren’t very good at imitating British English…

          Actually, the editor is British, which is why sometimes British words/spelling end up in there.

        • Nurio says:


          (so no idioms etc. that could be understood only by Americans and no conversion to American measurements etc.)

          I’m not sure I agree with “no idioms”. Sometimes they really give color to a conversation, and at times they’re almost mandatory to efficiently say something.

          An example for the former: “I am rubber and you are glue”. I have to admit, I at first didn’t know what this meant, but when I looked it up, I laughed, since it fit the scene it appeared in perfectly. And I wouldn’t want it to be changed to something more literal.

          An example of the latter: “Beating around/about the bush”. Most people who know English probably already know what this means, and it’s a very effective way of saying that you’re not being straightforward.

          • Torugu says:

            I didn’t say “no idioms”, I said “no idioms that only Americans could understand”. A A translation without any idioms whatsoever would be colorless and absolutely boring to read.

            Anyway, I think we are blowing this out of proportion…

          • Nurio says:

            You’re right… However, I am not completely against using idioms that non-Americans won’t immediately understand, as I showed in my “I am rubber, you are glue” example.

            If anything, it helps learn people some idioms.

            I don’t see how it’s blowing out of proportion. The arguments and examples don’t really seem extreme.

          • Torugu says:

            I’m saying we are blowing it out of proportion because we are discussing it as if it was problem even though I have never been bothered by excessive amounts of “Americanization” in MG’s translations. Or in any other VN translation for that matter.

          • Nurio says:

            Ah, you mean it like that. Yeah, you’re right about that.

            So, I guess it ends here, huh? =P

      • Nurio says:

        You could shift it to 11 PM for Japan
        Which would be 5/4/3 PM for Europe
        And 11/10/9/8 AM for the USA

        Hmm, yeah, that might pose a problem, as quite some Americans probably have obligations around that time.

    • L-rouge says:

      I wasn’t trying to say that the translations should be changed to British English, for example, but rather as Torugu says “no idioms etc” or even words that aren’t even used internationally (one I brought up with Kouryuu a while ago being “bangs”).
      I was trying to get at the point that the use of such language can be a difficulty for some non-US English speakers, but as MG’s main thrust, at present, would appear to be for the US market were they concerned that the apparent marketing of US English over, for example International English, might harm their sales internationally or are they, at present, aiming to secure themselves as a supplier for the US market over and above any attempts of breaking the international market.

      As for the live chats, a changing shift would be a good compromise, assuming Bamboo-san or any other “presenter” was available without harming their daily routine. Late evening wouldn’t be too much of a problem either, but as I said, 1am doesn’t seem too bad on paper but I’ve a full day of work before and a full day after (up at 6am on an average day) so there is no way I’m going to get enough sleep to do a days work if I stay up. Not that I expect them to change it just so I can take part, I’m not THAT self centred.

  6. Torugu says:

    I was surprised how many Europeans woke up at 4am just to watch this (including myself). Not that it wasn’t worth it. Now to get a ustream account so I can actually participate in the discussion next time..

    BTW, I use Visual Novel when I refer to Visual Novels (duh) in general, eroge when I wan’t to talk specifically about H-games (as opposed to all-ages games) and galge if I want to refer to daiting sims specifically (think Da Capo rather than Demonbane).

    • ManaYagami says:

      “I was surprised how many Europeans woke up at 4am just to watch this”

      Implying that most of us weren’t woke up at that time.

  7. David Sh says:

    So, when do we expect natto to appear in a Mangagamer-translated VN?

  8. zed says:

    Time to come up with some good questions for AX then

  9. kouryuu9 says:

    Here’s a question from me to all the Europeans who missed the live stream:

    Would you have been able to watch, and would you have joined in the live stream if it had been held at the same time, but on Friday instead of Monday?

    A lot of the complaints seem to be due to work the next day, but timezone-wise it’s difficult to reach everyone at once. 12AM GMT would be 8PM for me and Agi, 5 PM for Shini and those on the west coast, but a bright-and-early just-rolled-out-of-bed 9AM for Bamboo and Evospace.

    • L-rouge says:

      Contrary to how some seem to be trying to take my point (and I admit to being one of the most vocal about the whole time issue) I do understand the difficulties in trying to catch everyone at once, especially considering the international time implications.

      Speaking only for myself, whilst I would obviously have liked slightly earlier (even an hour earlier would have made quite a significant difference at present as the UK isn’t on GMT at the moment, it’s BST which is GMT +1) if the event had happened on a Friday I would have made every effort to not only watch but to try and be actively involved as I am already one of the few (stupid?) people who wake early to watch F1 races in Australia or around the world (including Japan).

      So, in summary, although the ideal from my point of view would be a time change, a Friday compromise would be greatly appreciated.

    • ManaYagami says:

      If I was working, I probably wouldn’t have been able to watch it live, so it’s worth a try for all the people who actually do something with their lives and are free during the weekends.

      On another matter, this was a good PR move that MG was needing. Thumbs up!

  10. SilverCitizen says:

    “I raik oppai!” When I heard that, I busted out laughing. Can I get a recording of that? I’d love to use it as a ringtone. You rock bamboo and your preference of mid-size oppai is commendable. I wholeheartedly agree.

  11. DarkFusion says:

    If we do get Oretsuba, then what about the Prelude game?

  12. drakestike says:

    is ther even any chance we can se leaf/aquaplus game localized(especially in disc release their upcoming PS3 game like TH2DX+,TtT series, utawarerumono2, and already released White album)????

  13. drakestike says:

    btw i use Visual novel to refer the game in jeneral (which include bishoujo game,galge, eroge, date-sim, love sim, avg etc )

    and only use eroge or h-games for game with ero/h content

  14. NKH says:

    Would love to see Visualarts to join in the overseas market. I’m very interested with their latest work, Rewrite.
    But hey, Oretsuba is fine too :D

    • kouryuu9 says:

      Well, the Key to getting Visual Arts interested is in showing them that there is a market for these games over here in the west. Which means giving us the [sales] numbers to prove it to them.

  15. cutiebunny says:

    “Bamboo also confirmed that.. he will be attending this year’s Anime Expo (albeit with fewer guests this year)..”

    How many fewer guests are we talking about? Can MG provide us with an update as to who will be at AX this year?

    • kouryuu9 says:

      We’re planning to run the announcements just like we did last year, so you’ll hear of them once I start getting final confirmations.

      I’m pretty sure we won’t have any VAs this year though.

  16. CLownory says:

    I reali loved Koihime Musou ~A Heart-Throbbing, Maidenly Romance of the Three Kingdoms~

    And I wanted to known if you were going to translate Shin Koihime † Musou ~Otome Ryouran ☆ Sangokushi Engi~?

  17. Swiftnissity says:

    Are you going to reveal what the 2 new hard copies are? (Mentioned here: http://twitter.com/#!/MangaGamer/status/73836871557459968 )

    and will they be available online?

  18. Unknown says:

    Hi, first of all thank you to Bamboo and everyone involved with mangagamer.

    Starting of with answering the question, I usualy refer to them as visual novels, though I don’t throw a fit at other names.

    This was quite an interesting read and I am glad to see more information on how things work over in Japan/the visual novel “industry”.

    The link for the Navel game sends you back to the main page, I think this should have been the link: http://www.project-navel.com/oretsuba/

  19. yagamisan says:

    The correct term is ever visual novel,eroge is only for VNs with a moderate number of ero-scenes u.u
    Nukige is for VNs with more eroge than history,nakige is for VNs who had make cry…

  20. LIGHTDX says:

    I hope we can see “Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai” in english some day it really look interesting ^^. We have to support the visual novel as much we can if we want to see more games in the future. Do your best MG, well help you as much we can.^^

    I usualy use the words “Visual novel” when i talk abouth VN, Bishoujo games, Galges,etc. The only exception i make is with erogames. I wonder how are the sales abouth them.

    Maybe MG should afiliate with others companies bring this kind of games in english in order to rise the sold of all this games. Is a Small market but if Games companies begin to see more sales all in the games in general then they’ll get more interested in this market.

  21. railtracer says:

    Funny enough a number of us on the stream continued chatting long after it was over.

    It was a very interesting chat although not all the questions could be answered/asked/translated due to the vast amount of people in the chat at the time.

    Dengeki Strykers, Ef, and the navel game ore tachi are the games I’m most interested in for the immediate future although I have an interest in a few other games. I’m not a fan of nukige (usually) so any of those games are basically out for me. Kara no Shoujo and Deardrops might also be a buy for me but I will have to wait and see. I prefer visual novels with story rather than eroge.

  22. Aria says:

    @Kouryuu9

    You guys should license the Gakuen Heaven game, we girls are highly anticipating it. :3

    Girls want eroge too, but this site seems to only publish the male-oriented ones.

    • Aria says:

      Well, have been highly anticipating it, you guys should also get Hanamachi Monogatari, Togainu no Chi and some of the others. ^^

      *squeeeee*

    • kouryuu9 says:

      We did actually look into Gakuen Heaven a bit, but the problem with that game is that Spray is one of the many brands under the Visual Arts umbrella.

      So in order to even start getting at Gakuen Heaven, we would need to convince Visual Arts first, and Key’s works would almost definitely before Gakuen Heaven in that case.

    • fuji says:

      3 votes total, average 5.33 (so-so)Otome games are always quality!

      How is Kara no Shoujo male oriented?How is ef male oriented? Then again those aren’t out!

  23. denvise says:

    VN for me, eroge is only with ero and many of these games are not ero, so VN I use the most.

    And Bamboo seams like a really nice guy, now why can’t VA/KEY be more like that:(.

    And what about the other Osaka based VN maker Leaf/Aquaplus, could we ever see any of their games on MG?
    I have not played a Leaf game yet, but To heart2 and some others looks very inviting/cool.

    And hard copies of EF please, such a beautiful game can not be download only!

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