Wot I Think – Recettear: An Item Shop’s Tale

By Alec Meer on September 11th, 2010 at 4:26 pm.

Shop-keeping/monster-biffing indie RPG Recettear is out at last, following Carpe Fulgur’s elaborate translation of EasyGameStation’s 2007 Japanese game. It arrived on Steam, Impulse and Gamersgate yesterday, and I’ve been playing it on and off during the last week. It seems prudent to report my findings.

What I think is that this whimsical indie tale of manning the tills of a semi-stereotypical RPG item shop is about ten times bigger than I’d imagined. I thought I’d got the measure of it from the demo, but what seemed a small and simple thing unravelled and expanded throughout – every time I sat back and thought “that’s it, I’m ready to write this up” it threw in a little something else.

The key effect of this is that “An Item Shop’s Tale” isn’t all that accurate a description. “A Surprisingly Enormous, Sprawling Roleplaying Game” would be far more relevant, if less neat.

Let’s do the context thing, anyway. Recettear is the tale of Recette, daughter of a hapless and now missing adventurer, whose only legacy is a nauseating amount of debt. To pay this off, Recette’s talked into running a loot shop for an apparently kill-crazed (but otherwise rather genteel) town. Advised by scowly fairy/bailiff Tear, the girl must master buy low, sell high, plus the rather more complicated acquisition of rarefied swords, helms et al.

It’s a translation of a Japanese title from a few years back, which explains the love it/hate it/oh grow up and just accept it look. J-RPGs generally inspire boredom and oh-get-on-with it impatience in me, being as I am something of a PC gamer archetype, but that’s not something Recettear ever inspired, in either its play or its big-eyed, oft-sexualised cartoon characters. Look, I’m about to show you the trailer, just to demonstrate some of the game’s broader features, and it’s only fair to warn you that it’s going to play you a really awful song. But I promise you, I promise you that kind of thing does not define the game, and you do not need to worry about it for even a second:

Recettear is massively compulsive, having successfully blended the twin deadly obsessions of earning more money and upgrading characters. Its great deception is that while shop management is the skin around its surprisingly immense bones, it ends up occupying only a fraction of your headspace. Partly that’s because the other mechanics are so cleverly intertwined with the broader need for profit anyway, and partly it’s because Recettear is Diablo in disguise.

I’ve been all over the place in my thinking on this. That so much of the game becomes dungeoneering, levelling up, accruing special abilities and mastering boss fights can seem to ruin the joke. The stereotypical RPG shop doesn’t know where its stock comes from or what in God’s name its scarred, near-suicidal customers are really up to. By doing the dungeon runs yourself, and especially by getting the keep the loot rather than the adventurer trying to sell it to you, the fiction and the gag become a little flimsy.

Ultimately, though, it makes sense. Buy/sell by itself would have quickly become tiresome, and ensured Recettear wouldn’t constitute much more than a mini-game. It’s the RPG element, slightly thin and not entirely serious as it may be, which justifies both the game’s size and its price. With around a half-dozen distinct heroes – some of which are semi-secret – and a fat hierarchy of loot and abilities, running the dungeons gradually turns from a slightly confused chore into a diverse pleasure unto itself. From rote, inauspicious slime-ball and kobold beginnings, the enemies evolve into clever, thoughtful creations that each require slightly different tactics to best.

The bean-shaped rabbity things that must be backed into a corner before you can attack them, the tendril-waving horrors that absorb your health if they get in range, the flying eyeballs that spam Mysteron-like doom-circles at you, the God-so-annoying flying pumpkins… The bosses shine marvellously too – I’ll resist the urge to spoil them, but again it’s about Recettear being quietly surprising for all the simplicity of its core mechanics.

It’s clearly a game that its developers enjoyed making. Don’t expect something super-slick, as rigid controls (play with a gamepad if possible) and an erring towards the unfair means it can frustrate, but the evident enthusiasm and desire to entertain more than compensates. The great perversity of Recettear is that the pull to go beat up some monsters gradually outgrows the cheesy thrill of shop management.

Throw in the creation of uber-items – both for profit and to equip your hired dungeon-runners with – and it’s almost fully into Proper RPG territory. It suits the game entirely, and elevates it from good-natured gag to something that’s better than half of the RPGs it’s affectionately lampooning.

Surprisingly, given the satirical nature of both the concept and the dialogue, Recettear can get pretty brutal. The debts to pay off every in-game week (which take an hour or two to complete) become immense, and seems quickly damned near impossible unless you’re the type to write lengthy FAQs and tell everyone else that they’re useless noobs and it was too easy anyway and you’re so alone, God so alone.

The mistake I made, and one of the reasons this WIT didn’t hit ahead of Recettear’s release date, was in thinking that failure means game over, take it from the top. So I reloaded and replayed loads, desperately selling everything I had for crazy, knock-down prices in the vain hope of somehow raising 200,000 gold before day 29. By Christ, I got angry.

Then I realised that the game loops. Fail to pay off the debt and you’ll be bumped back to the start of the whole process- but with your Merchant level (which affects what you can buy, create and modify, essentially), shop upgrades and much of your inventory intact, as well as the first of the available heroes retaining his level and gear. This means you start off with a massive advantage, and the fun of the fantasy comes back, rather than being chased away by the stressful deadlines.

That’s what I wanted from Recettear – to enjoy the silliness and to explore its surprising depths, not to have the axe hanging over me. But for those who do thrive under ultra-pressure, beating the game first time around is entirely possible. I suspect more so once you’ve been through the campaign at least once and learned some of the less-documented finer points, or have already spent time on forums learning some of the more oblique tricks.

A trawl through the Steam forums dug up a ton of nuances I wasn’t aware of during my early forays – it is, after all, in the Final Fantasy vein in that respect. Secrets and tricks and mega-stuff abound, while the really high-end abilities, items and upgrades are unlikely to crop up until you’ve either looped a couple of times or beaten the campaign (i.e. paid off the debt) and moved into the sandbox profiteering that follows.

So it’s the hugeness and complexity that sings – but not quite so much the dialogue, which surprised me. I was tickled and impressed by the cheerful chatter of the demo, but it gets pretty flabby over the 15-odd hours of the full game. Which isn’t the fault of the translators, but of the game itself – it’s too heavy with time-wasting cutscenes and incidental vignettes which, once the pressure’s on, simply steal focus and irritate. Some of the characters and lines really shine – explaining the concept of commercialism to a baffled robo-woman, for instance – but there’s a lot of filler conversation, repetition and over-stretched humour that’s very hard to avoid skipping. Which, again, moves Recettear surprisingly far into the J-RPG conventions it’s spoofing. Not that that’s a reason to avoid playing it, but it’s most certainly a game that stands prouder in deeds than words.

Recettear, essentially, is not what I thought it would be. I thought it was this slim, charming gag, but in fact it’s one of the most unusual and ingenious games I’ve played this year. It’s a shoe-in to be revisited regularly, mined for new challenges, new items and the heroes I’ve yet to use. It’s splendid, it’s compulsive and it’s far more than the sum of its simple parts. I’ll eat my Warrior’s Helm +2 if I’m not jabbering wildly on about it in whatever we do for our Games Of The Year stuff come December. Capitalism, ho!

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245 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    This afternoon, I beat the main story. No looping, no FAQs. Hell, I only did about 25 dungeon levels in total.

    Here’s the trick: Don’t be brutally capitalist. Be nice to your customers, and figure out what prices they like – you’ll get an XP bonus when you find it. The more XP you earn, the wider the range of stock you can buy, and the more upgrades you can buy for the store. Also, repeatedly selling at fair prices to customers increases their willingness to buy larger items from you.

    By all means haggle on the big make-or-break deals, but if you’re too cutthroat about business, you’ll back yourself into a corner. Now, this didn’t make it EASY on that first loop for me. In fact, weeks 4 & 5 I only JUST scraped through, but it made it doable. Now, keep in mind that I’m a moron when it comes to management/business games. Never had a head for em, so it’s not too hard. Just remember that you’re not trying to bankrupt your customers.

    Of course, once you beat the story, the game really opens up. Four new playmodes, new dungeons, new heroes to recruit (there’s 8 in total) and generally more stuff to do. It’s a big game for sure.

    • AndrewC says:

      So alooooone

    • Bret says:

      You’re not alone.

      You’re just having a stupid dream.

    • karry says:

      No looping ? You’re such a dirty liar. Raising 30k is easy enough, but 80 ? In one week without looping ? No way, impossible, doesnt matter how much people love your shop, there’s just not enough costly items to sell, and to get to those expensive items you must scum the dungeon for ingridients, which doesnt leave you any time to actually sell things. Nope, not possible.

      Thats not to mention that its way too random with the timed events, i’ve been trying to catch Charme in a pub for 2 weeks now, no luck.

    • Serenegoose says:

      @ Karry

      I managed the 80k, just – but that was because of misfortune. I had 70k on the 30k week, but luck didn’t go my way and I only managed to scrape together another 40k in an entire week. This is admittedly because the game is on a pretty tight time limit, and certain things like fusing items I have (evidently unwisely) been skipping on just because keeping everything straight in my mind is a challenge and to be honest, I could use a little more time… but then that’s the point, isn’t it.

    • Seol says:

      @Dominic White: And I think that’s one of the failings of the game (the other being the grind), that the “haggling” minigame (and all that buy low sell high bullshit) is not about haggling at all, but about selling at the price the customer wants on the first try (even when it’s below 100%, as it happens often with the generic item requests), so you keep on getting the 30 + combo XP bonus.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I haven’t been dungeon-delving a lot, so I haven’t seen much use out of item fusions. There’s a few where you can make a 17K necklace from a 2K one with an ingredient, or something similar, but most of the recipes require crazy amounts of looted stuff. On week five right now, without looping.

    • Warskull says:

      @Seol:
      Customers pretty much never want you to sell them an item below 100%. If they refuse to pay 100% that means you suggested items that exceed their budget and they simply can’t afford them. As they begin to like you, their budgets increase.

    • Archonsod says:

      “but 80 ? In one week without looping ? No way, impossible, doesnt matter how much people love your shop, there’s just not enough costly items to sell, and to get to those expensive items you must scum the dungeon for ingridients, which doesnt leave you any time to actually sell things. Nope, not possible.”

      I make one dungeon run every two days for the first few levels, running either five or ten levels depending on loot, and never sell any ingredients. Spend the entire of the next day in the store selling the loot. The other part of the trick is to visit the rest of the town either before or after you head off to the dungeon and stock up (smart move is to do it after so you can see if you have enough ingredients for a fusion) before returning to the store which doesn’t waste any further time slots. Keeping stocked with the basic version of everything (they’re normally cheap and plentiful) helps fulfil requests and orders, and can turn into a goldmine when you start getting price fluctuations.
      80K is pretty easy once you start taking advance orders, since customers will happily pay well above what they usually would. Honey is a good example, IIRC it’s base value is 2600, which is quite a lot considering it’s fairly common. Someone asks you to provide two food you can give them two honey (base value 5200) and they’ll happily turn over 6.5 – 7K without haggling. Strike lucky with a price increase affecting the honey and you can be raking in 10K on that one deal alone, and still getting a good rating from the customer.
      You have to start making your customers happy from week one though, otherwise their budgets won’t increase enough for you to start making serious money when you need to. It also seems to me it affects what they try and buy themselves too – the higher your relationship with the guild master, the more likely he is to try and buy a thankful statue (and pay for it) rather than an unthankful one.

    • Ringwraith says:

      I was only a fifth short on the final repayment on my first loop, and that was after checking everything out of the shop into the stingy guild. On my second loop though (after not selling everything this time, even though I didn’t know about the carried-over inventory) I easily had triple the last payment, and that was after I had just bought a load more stuff. Admittedly, I ended up not doing that many dungeon runs and usually kept stocking up on anything that was going cheap and made sure I had a bit of everything in stock to take advantage of any price hikes.
      That, and stocking lots of food, lots and lots of food, it sells well and when a food/sweet demand crops up you can end up raking in pix.
      That’s my experience with the game anyway. Thus far at least.
      Just… one… more… day…

    • Sir Derpicus says:

      First loop, last week, 40000 (that’s right, 4 zeros) in my pocket, 500000 (five zeroes) to pay, obsidian tower not unlocked until 5th day.
      I had 420000 (4 zeroes) by the end of the 4th day.
      How I did it? Fusion and price rises. A rise in food prices earned me 160000, I got a special ~45000 price knife to use in a dungeon while its price was low, then its price soared, and I made 50000 of that. Treasures rised in price too, and there was a book boom that I took advantage of. That was another 100000 (picking up treasure, even when they’re at a high sale price, and saving it in your inventory really pays off, and the book thing I moved on my own). Got the rest 100000 off dungeon loots and fusing them.
      Getting people to actually buy things when they’re expensive is the hard part; that’s why you build up their experience points at the beginning, when everything is nice and cheap and everyone can afford everything. Then, when prices soar and those idiots trust you…nail them, especially on orders of high-trend items. Easily (more than) doubles your funds.
      Don’t go looking for treasure unless you have an order though – just buy them from your customers. They usually sell it to you at a cheaper price than the market, especially when they’re in low trend.
      If you have a load of useless ingredients you want to get rid of (even if they’re 1500 dollar bat wings), sell them in the vending machine. Do this with items on a low trend too.
      Make your atmosphere as neutral as possible for the most amount of customers (not too sure on this one, I think it mostly affects the special, non-generic characters).

      …so, so, very alone.

  2. Dominic White says:

    As for the dialogue, I loved the whole lot of it. Maybe I’m just simple/easily amused, but I will always chuckle at Louies broke-ass antics.

  3. TotalBiscuit says:

    This game basically owns and you should all buy it. I’d like to see more weird Asian games make their way over here and onto PC.

  4. ZIGS says:

    I’d play this game if it weren’t for the Japanese voices and art style

    • Wulf says:

      *beats ZIGS with the colour appreciation mallet!*

      (Don’t worry, it’s a foam mallet! :D)

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Get over it, basically. It rubs me the wrong way as well but it doesn’t matter because it’s awesome and unique.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      Good. Go back to bed and hug your big, bad, American, brown & gray Marcus Fenix pillow and let us have all the playfulness and charm in the world.

    • Skinlo says:

      I agree with ZIGS, if I wanted that cartoon style, anime style graphics, I’d watch Pokemon. And I hate Pokemon.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m not a big fan of the art style, or I wasn’t till I tried it. Reminds me of my Megadrive. My problem is the dialogue. All the story banter in the Demo was boring as hell. It didn’t seem much like a spoof to me. Though the things your customers say are quite funny. But the game itself is great and really addictive.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @Skinlo

      Does that mean in your world there is no difference between say, Pokemon and Akira?

    • ZIGS says:

      @icupnimpn2

      I’m actually European (Portuguese to be more precise) and I happen to hate Gears of War

    • Xercies says:

      Maybe i’m to into the world(i do watch a lot of anime, read a bit of manga and actually quite like a few JRPGs) but i seriously don’t get why people have suce a hate of this kind of art sty;e. i don’t get it. Its different sure ut what is there that is so hateful about it?

    • Vinraith says:

      So, to be clear, I can either like games featuring creepily sexualized androgynous 8 year olds with saucer-shaped eyes 2/3 the size of their head OR giant hulking space marines with disproportionately tiny heads in a grimdark future with no colors whatsoever, but I have to like one or the other and no other options exist? I’m just trying to get the rules straight, here.

      Personally, I like colorful graphics in many games, when it suits them. I like muted palettes in other games, when it suits them. I like anime art style in no games, though I’m willing to put up with it in cases (like the one) where the game is good enough to put up with it.

    • Miko says:

      Personally, I’m fine with the androgynous bug-eyed mutant alien children, but the breathless squealing ‘moe’ voice some character always has in games that look like this sounds remarkably like raking a fork down a blackboard.

      Full disclosure: I bought and am enjoying Recettear, but the lead character’s asthmatic shrieking is driving me up the goddamn wall.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Quite, personal taste is personal taste. There’s absolutely no reason to get pissy with people because they’re not into what your into. Personally I find this particular style of amine (cutesy or whatever its called) both disturbing and annoying in equal measure. Although the gameplay does indeed sound interesting.

    • Red Avatar says:

      I used to love the Japanese art style but that art style has just not enough variation and after having played SNES, Gameboy, etc. games all my life, it’s become old and repetitive. While I used to love jRPGs, I now loathe them for being so unoriginal: identical interface, identical style, identical combat mechanics, very similar story about some prophecy or some big mystical evil. This game gets away with it for being different but if the dungeon fights had been turn based again, I’d have thrown it aside in disgust.

    • Simon says:

      Going to echo the recommendations for the Ghost in the Shell TV series and Patlabor here. Patlabor is an interesting concept- Yeah, it’s a giant robot anime, but the giant robots in question are just freaking police cars. Mecha are -normal- and what I’ve seen of it has been more about the characters and politics than ‘OMG giant robots save the world again’.

      I can also recommend Berserk, albeit a little hesitantly, because my God is it ever violent. And bleak. Very bleak. There are very few laughs for the duration of the series but the story is, in my opinion, incredibly well told. At it’s core it’s a war story spanning several years of the lives of a group of mercenaries, in a world that turns out not to be your typical cod-medieval setting at all. And sadly it takes a little while to get going so the first episode can put people off, but give it time and I think it’ll reward you.

  5. Wulf says:

    I love this game, really. This is one of those rare games where I can honestly say that the one thing that would make it better is the one personally-related thing I look for in all games: peculiar non-human characters. I’d love to see the Japanese developer go Shining Force with the heroes, perhaps a werewolf, an armadillo in a steampunk suit, bird people, centaurs, dragonfolk, even as DLC. Humans get a bit boring after a while.

    But think, when that’s the only complaint I can make, the game has to be pretty damn special, and this game really is. I agree with Alec’s take, count for count, and possibly the best thing about the game is the translation, which is exceptional. Have you played the Phoenix Wright games? Did you like them? You’ll adore this for the same reason. Play the demo, no excuses, just do it! If Phoenix Wright amused you then I can assure you that this will not fail to, at any point.

    The game itself is just fun too, and you can put it down and come back to it at any point. The adventuring is a blast because it’s streamlined and not ridiculously menu-heavy, the running of the item shop is the most intuitive way of running a shop I’ve seen in a game, and even in how the game makes itself so highly accessible is just, quite simply, exceedingly clever. Even if you don’t like management games or RPGs then there’s a good chance you’ll love this game, and the only way you could hate this game is if you hate colour and wished you perceived the world in shades of brown.

    I love this game, it’s charming, it’s lovely, it has my personal stamp of approval, and the PC needs more like it.

    That is all.

  6. Shadrach says:

    Alouette, gentille Alouette
    Alouette, je te plumerai
    Je te plumerai la tête
    :D

    • drewski says:

      I love that song.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      LOLing at the idea of Gears of War being, of all things, homophobic.

      The whole “brown is bad” line is empty nonsense, though. Gears, for example, is a game with fantastic art design. So is TF2. Its not the colour, its the quality, stupid.

    • DrGonzo says:

      How can it be homophobic when the lead character is gay?

  7. Mr. Brand says:

    Damn it, you bastards! I’m supposed to be working on a game, not playing quirky Japanese games! But now the temptation is hard to resist :(

  8. Fumarole says:

    I find the comment about loading to avoid failure amusing. Is it sad that we gamers have been programmed to avoid failure at any cost, or it it sad that so few games give us the option to continue after setbacks? Probably a mixture of both.

    Thanks for the write up; I had pretty much blown this game off but now I shall look more into it.

  9. Mordiceius says:

    The guys that did the translation of this game are awesome guys as well. I guess that they put together Carpe Fulgar as a little side project to bring in a little extra income. They were saying that if this game ends up selling well enough, they might be able to make it a full time venture and start translating even more Japanese games for release over here.

  10. DoucheMullet says:

    If I don’t like an art style, why should I “GET OVER IT” Anime is so overused and boring, as well as uninspired. It barely leaves room for creativity in the style as almost every artist in Japan seems to draw it in the same exact damn way. Compare Western animation to Japanese animation. It is never boring because the art styles vary so much here. Go to Japan and everything is a carbon copy.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Except the idea that all Japanese art styles look the same is just total blindness, man. I’m not the biggest fan of a hyper-cute look, but to reject any game with it is just cutting me off from enormous numbers of brilliant, clever games. Sometimes it really is worth forcing yourself to go beyond your comfortable aesthetic window. You just widen your horizons and let more of the good stuff into your life.

      KG

    • Mordiceius says:

      This is seriously one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard. Sure, from someone not interested in the genre, all Japanese animation may seem the same, but would you like to know a spoiler? From the outside, as someone not interested in the genre, all American animation looks the same as well.

    • Dominic White says:

      “Compare Western animation to Japanese animation. It is never boring because the art styles vary so much here”

      http://www.asianpopcorn.com/fanpages_images/Crayon_Shinchan-0.jpg

      vs

      http://fansub.guckies.com/images/WitchHunterRobin1.jpg

      vs

      http://www.insidesocal.com/modernmyth/TengenToppaGurrenLagann.jpg

      vs

      http://i.animecrazy.net/4uy0s46.jpg

      It’s all completely identical, huh?

    • Wulf says:

      I could spend hours showing examples of anime which don’t look the same and Western animation that does, but really, it’s not worth it. Your opening sentence makes it blatantly obvious that this isn’t about Japanese versus Western animation, you don’t like any of it, if you did then you’d know that your argument applies to every nation. If you look at Disney, you’ll see a lot of samey stuff, it doesn’t make it any less brilliant in my opinion, though.

      I wish people would just admit that they have an allergy to colour and cuteness rather than coming up with blatantly nonsensical reasons for disliking something. At least be honest about it. The thing is though is that this sort of attitude is what’s holding us back, this is why we’ll have another gritty, dark RPGs and more World War shooters than we shake a stick at, as opposed to delightfully bizarre games like this one. You’re in the majority, my good man, as is reflected by the state of gaming right now.

    • Wulf says:

      Wow, I thought I’d be fighting the ‘Japanese art is all the same about as much as Western art is all the same‘ fight myself.

      Guess not.

      Well done those people above me.

    • Freud says:

      I find it odd that the “get over it crowd” don’t seem to miss a chance at complaining about the bland, brown graphic style of western games. I guess getting over it only works one way.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Freud: You don’t get people refusing to play the game as much just on that alone. And if you’ve got a really imaginative game with a brown colour scheme ,and someone refuses it on the brown alone, I dare say they’ll be treated in exactly the same way.

      KG

    • AndrewC says:

      I guess they don’t define an entire country’s artistic output as just one thing. That might be it.

    • TCM says:

      An art style can sell a game to me, but it will never prevent me from buying one.

    • Skinlo says:

      I semi-agree with OP. Whilst I don’t know much about variation in Japanese drawings and animation, I simply don’t like the childish bright happy happy cartoon style they use in the game.

    • Dominic White says:

      Amen, KG. I even like the Gears of War series. It’d make me an enormous hypocrite (and a jackass) if I just went ‘Too brown, don’t care’ whenever someone mentioned it.

      Meanwhile, show any Japanese game around certain quarters, and you’ve got a whole crowd who immediately turn their noses up and start spewing garbage, like ‘It all looks the same to me’.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s not the art style that bothers me so much as the typical Japanese gaming tropes. Endless cutscenes that go nowhere, annoyingly twee one hat characters and equipment being heavily restricted per character and doing nothing more than increasing the numbers, which always feels wasteful in an action oriented game.

      Also, what is with the Guildmaster? You buy stuff off him, and you can guarantee he’ll be straight around the shop to buy it back at a ridiculous mark up. Is he laundering money or something?

    • Wulf says:

      The incredibly obvious element of this that you’re missing, Freud, is that the reason it works that way is because the vast majority of gaming at the moment is set in desaturated, brown-grey locations, with gruff manly men doing things. And some people are sick of it, some remember a time when gaming wasn’t so amazingly homophobic (yes, I did go there) and thus wasn’t afraid to be a little colourful, even gay. :p And I get to do that because I AM gay.

      Anyway, the point is is that gaming seems to have become terrified of any kind of meaningful expressionism, artistic, story-wise… I long for stories that make me question my very self, like I did in Mask of the Betrayer, I miss games that are as colourful and vibrant as Okami was, and on both PC and consoles these games are actually the vast minority at the moment.

      This is one game that isn’t afraid. It isn’t a scared little girl about colour, it isn’t terrified about being charming, it doesn’t even question its sexuality and blatantly flaunts its quirky nature, it doesn’t feel it has to shoehorn you into the body of a manly man or a busty woman just to enforce that we’re normal, everyday, average demographic males. It just is. It’s brazen. It’s fun.

      And that’s the vibe I get, is that gaming is afraid of having its sexuality called into question by being cute, and colourful, charming, and quirky. It’s an average 18-25 straight male, honest guv, nothing to see here, really, look, I’m a military man with a shaved head who likes to shout a lot and hang out in ruined grey-brown areas. Yep, perfectly average and normal. THAT is what people need to get over, so that gaming can actually be allowed to be colourful, and charming, and quirky again.

      If gaming had as much of one sort as it did the other, I wouldn’t need to tell gamers to get over anything. But that it’s dominated by this ludicrous fear is… getting annoying. Gaming, grow up.

    • Freud says:

      I don’t know all the mechanics which makes us decide to try or not to try a game. Sometimes a screenshot is all it takes. Personally I get really turned off by the dialog screenies/videos (don’t like the graphics, hate the sound effect). But on the other hand the action graphics looks quite nice and very easy on the eyes. I have no idea if that is typical eastern action graphics or not, of course.

      I might try the game out after reading this WIT, because the difficulty level of the thing seems to be something I might be enjoying. I’ll still think the dialog graphics is poo poo.

    • Skinlo says:

      Saying that, download the demo off Steam now.

    • Dean says:

      In total agreement with Douche. I for one am completely fed up with all the anime-styled PC games being released in the West these days.

    • Schaulustiger says:

      Great post, Wulf, that pretty much sums it up.
      I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant, too, because of the anime style of Recettear. I do like me some mangas once in a while, but I’m not overly fond of them. Now after playing for a while, it really is refreshing. And Mask of the Betrayer is another good example, because it broke with the standard Fâerun setting of the original game and showed how vibrant and interesting more unusual characters can be compared to the cardboard cutouts á la Elanee.

    • Archonsod says:

      “The incredibly obvious element of this that you’re missing, Freud, is that the reason it works that way is because the vast majority of gaming at the moment is set in desaturated, brown-grey locations, with gruff manly men doing things. ”

      Only in the FPS/3rd person market. Which in my eyes makes you one step removed from a console owner, which means you should therefore be publicly flogged around the streets of London and locked in the stocks for three days until you learn the error of your ways.

      And before anyone complains about elitism, yes I am an elitist. That’s because I’m better than you.

    • Wulf says:

      Archonsod, do I have to explain this very, very slowly? The FPS/3rd person markets are absolutely gigantic compared to everyone else. Yes, there are niche alternatives, but that’s the point, they’re niche. I’ve probably played more games outside of the FPS and 3rd-person genres than you have, but the problem is is that they’re rare, and there’s only so much you can play of those. For every one game that’s genuinely unique, charming, and interesting, and actually has a plot (and plot is important to me), there are 80 FPS/3rd person games.

      If we could devote half of the effort that’s going into FPS/3rd person games to actually working on other sorts of games, then gaming would be a better place. Look at the latest XCOM, it isn’t an XCOM, it’s another shooter and frankly a boring looking one. If this had been ten years ago, it would’ve been another XCOM. And frankly? Going back a while we had colourful shooters, too, we had FPS and 3rd-person games which were unique and quirky, we don’t see anything like Redneck Rampage these days, which is a damn shame, because that game was appreciably absurd.

      Oh and what about RPGs? To make the point I made previously again, originally RPGs had interesting plots that could make us question our very sense of self, Planescape: Torment and Mask of the Betrayer to name a couple, and we don’t get that any more, we now get gritty RPGs with blingbling monsters and flat characters, because that’s all developers think that people can handle. So clearly, Archonsod, your view of gaming is incredibly oversimplified. If you’re elitist and I’m not the same as you, then I’m glad that I’m not elitist.

    • mlaskus says:

      I always get incredibly irritated when people say not liking anime is an equivalent of being a dull, manly man who only likes shades of brown and grey. You are just as ignorant as the guy who said that all anime is the same.

    • Robert says:

      Can’t we all get along? Some people like anime, some people like western. Some people like ***, some people don’t. Some people like both. Can’t we just end it there? Instead of going in the territory of “if you dont like, you suck” and “my opinion is superior to yours”.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Archonsod, do I have to explain this very, very slowly? The FPS/3rd person markets are absolutely gigantic compared to everyone else. ”

      So they’re base, common and popular. I’m not seeing the point here, the Rom Com market is likewise huge compared to other genres, but nobody would claim it was in any way representative of Hollywood films in general. In fact, it fails so spectacularly at being representative of them we categorise it into a separate sub genre.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      The quick solidarity for Japanese art styles in this thread is shocking (pleasantly!). I figured there would be far more single-minded responses like DoucheMullet’s here.

      And yeah, I do agree with Wulf’s responses. This increasingly prudish attitude in gaming towards anything colorful, quirky, or bombastic as far as style goes is getting hard to stomach. Granted, I don’t particularly favor the bright, wide-eyed anime art style of Recettear, but to blow off what is apparently a genuinely entertaining game because of looks alone would be just stupid of me.

      @ Robert
      The argument here isn’t as simple as “if you dont like, you suck”. It’s more that anyone showing blatant ignorance on a subject (in this case, Japanese art styles) the way DoucheMullet did shouldn’t be arguing against it in the first place.

    • Ozzie says:

      Well, Recettear doesn’t have an original anime style, to be sure, with the cute huge eyes and the small tippy noises, the funky hair…it’s really nothing special.
      But that doesn’t make the game bad, does it?
      What annoyed me of the demo though was the endless tutorial text. I realized later on that you could skip those explanations with Esc, but since I played with the gamepad I tried all the buttons on it, but none made it possible to skip, which is weird. Why do I have to reach over to the keyboard to skip? Ugh…
      But otherwise, when the game actually started, it was quite fun.

    • Cooper says:

      All anime all looks the same as all other anime.

      But then all Asian people all look the same as all other Asian people too.

    • Cooper says:

      The internet really needs a sarcasm tag. I’m therefore going to lampshade my sarcasm, thereby defeating the point of the sarcasm. It’s that or have some idiot confuse me for a bigot. But please feel free to reply in mock shock at my mock bigotry.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      So, if I’m getting it right, your second post was sarcastic, so your first post is genuine. Banned forever! Out! Out!

      KG

    • psyk says:

      Beautiful Katamari

    • DiamondDog says:

      Sorry I can’t think of a much more contructive way of putting this Wulf but, you don’t half talk some rubbish. Gaming culture is not defined by Modern Warfare. You’re association of creativity and innovation with anything that has colour is just so stupid it makes my brain hurt.

      Some people just have different opinions on art styles.

      There’s a strong wiff of superiority coming off all this. Oh, you don’t anime? I see….

    • Archonsod says:

      Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve bought an FPS since Borderlands.

    • Zwebbie says:

      @Anyone defending the art style: While I wouldn’t want to make such statements that every anime looks the same, more often than not, everything in one anime looks the same. Taking a look at the screenshots above, all the faces are the same (except for Charme’s, who has a different nose). You identify them by hair and clothing, but rarely by face… that always struck me as odd and boring.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Well that was depressing. Is it really so hard to believe that some people have different aesthetic taste to yourself and are not, in fact, dull sociopaths? Human beings are complex creatures in a complex world and getting preachy on something as subjective as taste in art styles is utterly daft. and doesn’t do you any credit, wulf and others.

    • YogSo says:

      I’m not going to call names, and I’m not going to criticize people for their different tastes, but if anyone’s distaste for anime in general prevents them from enjoying absolute cinematographic masterpieces like “Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro”, “Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind” or “Princess Mononoke”… Well, what can I say? That’s just sad.

    • Carolina says:

      @ Wulf

      The incredibly obvious element of this that you’re missing, Freud, is that the reason it works that way is because the vast majority of gaming at the moment is set in desaturated, brown-grey locations, with gruff manly men doing things. And some people are sick of it, some remember a time when gaming wasn’t so amazingly homophobic (yes, I did go there) and thus wasn’t afraid to be a little colourful, even gay.

      When you say that, I think of games like Gears of Wars. And I think you’re being unfair with Gears of Wars. In anything, I found the “gruff manly men doing things theme quite… fraternal.

    • Lightbulb says:

      I think you have all missed the point here. Firstly don’t start an argument like this on the internet it creates a black hole. Oh and a faerie dies each time you do it too.

      The main point is that its supposed to be an ironic game poking fun at the standard genre tropes. It could not possibly have another art style than this since its mocking games which look exactly like this.

      Now a man (woman? Who knows? Hopefully DoucheMullet else they must be living a very unhappy life) doesn’t like the art style. So what? I don’t like the art style. Doesn’t make the game any less good; and furthermore the only goal for arguing could be to convince them to play it – which is almost impossible since the person expressed such a ludicrous statement in the first place…

      tl;dr

      You like it. They don’t. Don’t feed the troll.

    • IfIMay says:

      The biggest problem with japanese animation is not it’s similiarity in looks, but in immaturity.

      If I can’t even watch 5% of all series without constantly getting gratuituous PANTSU moments thrown at me, or not even have a “West meets East” anime like Afro Samurai without getting the obligatory dorky-retarded-always-annoying sidekick character shoved down my throat
      or
      or
      or 50 other examples of annoying, generic items, behaviors, characters in JAnime,

      then clearly something is W R O N G.

      I have watched anything from Appleseed to Ghost In The Shell and Vampire Hunter D, and even tried series like Bebop, Hellsing and various others that initially SEEMED to try and be more mature / grownup.

      They all displayed similiar effects of xyz type character (it’s just as bad as in videogames, where you must have this and that and that guy), and only very, very, verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry rarely do you get a Janime that actually actually actually deviates from all of this terrifyingly immature, childish bollocks.

      So yes, if you need to sift through more BS to find a single independent, mature title in Janime than when sifting through Hollywood romantic comedies and Bruckheimers to find a Rear Window, then there is definitely something very, very wrong with Janime.
      But it’s 100% not the fault of the visuals, unless you count having to do X-eye-faces and PANTSU moments as visuals. Then maybe. But I would categorize that under what you do with the format, not the format itself, and file it under above decried immaturity and overall shitness of what’s being done with it, not the visuals themselves.
      Which can be utterly astounding, great and wonderful (The Matrix / Animatrix animations, for example, or various other high end render projects with related style, or Peter Chung, etc).

      It’s the content that makes most of the shit shit. Not the artstyle. And that I will agree on with anyone throwing at the Anime / Manga genre.
      And in those points it indeed is like defending the “Dude where’s my car” genre as high end art by saying don’t dismiss it.

      So, yea. Hope it shows that I’ve actually watched and liked some of that stuff(also loved Aeon Flux since day 1 etc) and am all the more sad for near 100% of the “mass” stuff being distinguishably utter crud.
      If all that talent and energy that went into PANTSU and zomg lulz sidekick moment an liek over teh top smash lower rank person into wawl hurr durr animation actually went more into something like the animated version of Bladerunner, then I’d be with “you guys”, defending the honor of Janime.

      As it is, no. Schoolgirls playing volleyball or soccer or w/e, just not cutting it.

      Oh, almost forgot: Desu.

    • Dominic White says:

      Dear god, man.. Did anime run over your dog or something?

  11. Schaulustiger says:

    The great thing about Recettear is not that it’s lovely, well-translated and filled with lots of content. The great thing is that the game is so accessible but still manages to not only provide a rather steep learning curve but also lots of subtle gameplay rules that you slowly discover.
    Unfortunately, the tutorial bits are not really helpful as they instruct you to sell everything at 130% which ultimately leads to your doom in the long run. As Dominic already said above, don’t go all Capitalism, Ho! but rather keep your customers happy by often selling with a tiny margin (104%). This not only gives you the combos for increasing your XP but also makes the customers have more money in their pocket.

    All in all, a fantastic game. At least try the demo, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed if you have only the slightest interest in RPGs or strategy games.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think it’s more that people forget that they’re playing as Recette here. You’re not meant to be destroying all competition and bleeding people dry. That’s just not nice.

      Sure, you can (and should) haggle when someone is trying to buy a rare golden artifact during a rare-metals boom, but it just feels wrong to try and charge a litle girl extra (and 100% is RRP, not what you paid for it – you’ll still be turning a 100-ish profit) when all she wants is a piece of candy.

    • Archonsod says:

      I find 110% is an agreeable value. It also seems they have endless buckets of cash when they pre-order items; I managed to get over 20K out of the guildmaster by selling him the vase and an unthankful stature when he asked me to provide two treasures. Even the little girl went up to 2K for two bracelets.
      Staying low with the normal sales, tailoring requests to the customers purse and gouging them on advance orders seems to be the way to do it.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep, that’s what I found too. And I felt better about it, if an old guy comes in looking to buy something for a grand-daughter, and it’s not something that’s especially valuable, if I crank the profit margin up then I feel crappy about it. Yes, I’m a big old softy, I always have been, but the joy of it is is that the game sort of seems to expect me to be. By being fair, as Dominic suggested, I actually turned a better profit. Being fair does seem to be both better in an ethical sense (as in, I’ll feel better about myself), and it actually turns a better profit too, because people notice that I’m not trying to con them.

    • Archonsod says:

      I’m not entirely sure of the ethics when said Grandfather pops into the store and says “My grand daughter asked me to get her this” and brandishes a spear though.

    • Devenger says:

      Haven’t bought the game, but I spent the demo working out precisely how far I could push the different characters and still manage to get them to buy items without haggling. I now feel a little soulless, since applying morality to the game didn’t even occur to me.

      Maybe I’m not meant to play nice, happy games. ;(

    • Xercies says:

      So it doesn’t work like real life then?

    • drewski says:

      Archonsod – in JRPG-world, young women get their first spear at 10 and are legally required to have taken up with a slightly older, but still adolescent, “tortured” misanthrope by the age of 12, in order that they may develop a token back story of angst in time to save the world by the time they’re 14.

    • CC says:

      I agree, the great thing about Recettear is that it is basically 90% pressing a single keyboard button while near an enemy for a near infinite amount of times, and then 10% selling your loot in the game name defining store for a secondary just-as-superficial-as-in-the-dungeon-adventuring leveling and moneymaking endless loop.

      Man-oh-man, what well spent money.

      Ripemoffism, ho!

  12. Eight Rooks says:

    Alternatively, if you hate Phoenix Wright and find it largely unfunny, unfulfilling, over-rated nonsense you may well still like this. I do, and so far I’m enjoying the game.

    And yes, the idea that hur hur all anime look teh saem is rubbish. If anyone seriously thinks the harem crap that makes up most of what’s currently screening on TV over there really typifies the medium, they’re either ignorant, xenophobic or both. Well, okay, there is a hell of a lot of that stuff at the moment, but still… anyway, the art here isn’t amazing, but it’s solid, appealing stuff and they could have gone far, far cuter, so count yourselves lucky.

    I also wonder how well the gag will stretch over twenty hours plus – I’m only a couple of hours in – but I’m still liking it. And finding the dialogue/localisation pretty good, too. So far it looks like the review I’m supposed to be writing will be fairly kind.

    It’s still bloody weird seeing a doujin circle game on Steam, though. Kind of appropriate, I guess. Capitalism, ho!

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, but that there’s “a lot of that crap” is true everywhere. Look at how many animated feature producers tried to mimic Disney at its height, and look how incredibly samey all CG animated films are today, in fact, CG is getting me down because the methods used to produce are so similar that they all have the same kind of end result. Toy Story looks rather like Invincibles looks rather like Bolt looks at least a little bit like Shrek and so on. This is why I’m actually glad that we have smaller studios doing CG now, because they’re bringing fresh styles to it, the quality isn’t the same but it looks different. Alpha and Omega is a great example of this, because it looks different to most of the previous CG films I’d seen.

      So yeah, this happens everywhere, I think it’s just that people are less inclined to see the sameyness of their home nation, or in the animation they like the best. It’s everywhere, it’s not just a Japanese thing. There’s a lot of different stuff out there, yes, but usually the stuff that’s most different is fringe. I mean, look at Disney’s most visually unique animated feature, the Emporer’s New Groove, was probably one of their least popular (even though it’s one of my all time favourites).

      But yes, point made?

    • Archonsod says:

      Well yes, but then in my home nation I’ve been exposed to everything from Cosgrove Hall to Joel Veitch, whereas when it comes to Japan I’m only exposed to whatever someone has decided to import, which naturally all looks the same because that’s what sells. Probably the main reason I spent the nineties thinking tentacle rape scenes were mandatory.

    • Devenger says:

      So glad I’m not the only one who loved The Emperor’s New Groove. So, so glad. And for anyone reading this who hasn’t seen it, find a way to. It’s wonderful. [/off-topic]

  13. Navagon says:

    It’s a bit too cutesy and anime styled for my taste. I’m not being critical. It’s purely down to personal taste. But it sounds like a great concept and it’s good to see it doing well.

  14. fuggles says:

    So that song is about someone sitting on a candlestick?

  15. Jaaaaaaaames says:

    I don’t have a problem with anime art in general, but I think it’s pretty lazy and uninspired to use it in video games. Anime/cartoony art is designed to be ANIMATED. The bright, contrasting colors, simplified forms and exaggerated features all work really well in animation, when each frame is on the screen for a fraction of a second. But when your character is a single still frame that cycles through a handful of poses throughout the entire game, it just doesn’t work as well.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, but by contrast, you could say that about anything that uses still frames. I mean, Civ IV was a great game, but the leaders were nightmare puppets. It all depends on how much you appreciate the art style in question, and I really like Recettear’s style.

    • Jaaaaaaaames says:

      Civ 4′s leaders had backdrops and they shuffled around a bit to give them some character, but yeah they were pretty dull and creepy overall. My problem with Recettear’s are isn’t that it’s anime, it’s that it’s boring anime. I’m not one of those “ALL ANIME LOOKS THE SAME” guys, but when you think of generic boring anime, there’s a certain style that comes to mind, and Recettear fits.

      That said, it’s fun, interesting, unique and definitely worth the $20 I spent, even though I don’t like the art.

  16. noodlecake says:

    I played the demo of this and thought it was fantastic. Definitely the most inspired game I’ve played this year and I’m generally not a fan of action-JRPGs. Currently waiting for it to download on steam. I have a bunch of artsy things that need doing this evening that are getting pushed to one side by this. :/

  17. Skinlo says:

    Ok, just tried it, couldn’t get passed the first cut scene.

  18. Leon says:

    Thanks for the headsup about not meeting the debts on time thing. Awesome to know. I was definitely frustratedly reloading again adn again because of this lol!

  19. Eight Rooks says:

    To tangent – not going to try and directly reply – no, Wulf, you misunderstand me somewhat. The anime industry is currently in dire financial straits and a lot of people, creators, critics and fans, have been complaining about the amount of new shows coming out which are all generic copies of the same few basic plots, usually piling on the fanservice (sexual or otherwise) because studios know it’s the one sure way left to squeeze that bit more money out of the hardcore demographic. There’s usually one or two genuinely innovative productions every season, stuff that’s artistically original and/or where an auteur of some description gets to do their thing (Tatami Galaxy, House of Leaves, Katanagatari et al) but they’ve been getting less and less in number for ages. And I can’t think of one thing showing right now that isn’t ‘loser guy hooks up with bevy of attractive females’, ‘gag every five seconds’, ‘brainless popcorn action’, ‘disturbingly over-sexualised’ – or all of the above.

    So my point was more slightly that if someone looked at the state of anime right now I could at least be slightly tolerant of them assuming it was all the same crap, because the commercial side of the medium’s really not in a great state of health. But obviously someone assuming that was representative of everything everyone had ever done in Japan would be being silly.

    And – different post – of course this stuff doesn’t have to be animated. Recettear’s obviously done on the cheap to some extent, and the character illustrations aren’t that detailed or expressive. But they are good, solid designs that aren’t thrust front and centre all the time, and I don’t get tired of looking at them. You might as well just say comic books are pointless because they don’t move.

    Anyway, that’s probably way too much rambling for one post, I’ll shut up again.

    • Ozzie says:

      Hey, if you’re at it, since it’s so hard to find really good anime, could you recommend some more?
      I remember in the last discussion that focused on anime here Paranoia Agent was mentioned. I looked for it, watched it and liked it a lot! Watched the films of the director then, like most of them.

      Nodame Cantabile was a great recent anime. Otherwise I’m also rather fed up with the harem animes since most of the time the characters are shallow and fall in one of very few stereotypes. Boring, predictable. Clannad was aggravating in this way.
      Baccano! was an over the top, extremely bloody, violent anime, with some witty dialogues though, loved it just for Isaac and Miriam! Hm, watch Tecxhnolyze (or similar) at the moment, which is rather sober, shows a world that is destroyed by the selfishness of human beings. Quite good, if confusing.

      Most anime sites are worthless for recommendations. anidb.net doesn’t help at all to find something you like. The top rated stuff is rarely that good.

    • Dominic White says:

      “Hey, if you’re at it, since it’s so hard to find really good anime, could you recommend some more?”

      The Ghost in The Shell series (Stand Alone Complex, ran for two seasons) is pretty much Neuromancer in animated form. Well worth watching. Far more fleshed out than the movies.

      Planetes is a serious hard sci-fi/drama series about a small company that clears out orbital garbage, as it has become a huge threat to space travel. Set in a time just after the whole astronaut-worship thing has died down and space travel is becoming fairly common.

      If you liked Paranoia Agent, Serial Experiments Lain is another good one.

      As for comedy, So Long, Mr. Despair is about as brutally sharp as you can get. About a depressive/suicidal teacher ruling over a class of freaks and weirdoes, including an internet troll who communicates solely through insulting text messages. It seems very international in its humor, too – one episode took a sideswipe at Signs being the minimum possible quality of script-writing a film can get away with.

      And for an oddball reccomendation, Gankutsou. It’s The Count of Monte Cristo, retold as a psychadelic space opera with a super-freaky art style where rather than inking the characters, everything is painted in layered, stationary textures that the lines move over and reveal. Beautiful to look at.

    • Ozzie says:

      Hey thanks! Haven’t heard of any of those, except for Serial Experiments Lain.
      Will take a look at those recommendations!

    • Taillefer says:

      I’d like to recommend ‘Hajime no Ippo’ (there are 2 series so far, I think) and ‘Akagi’ since they’re not very typical subjects.

      The former is a boxing comedy/drama. Genuinely funny, great characters. An underdog story of a bullied kid becoming a boxer. Fights are unnecessarily drawn out, naturally (it doesn’t escape all the anime cliches), but it’s ultimately a very ‘human’ anime.

      Akagi is about Mahjong. More precisely, a Mahjong prodigy who walks into a Yakuza game one night having never played before. Ends up winning and things escalate into higher risk stake games as the series progresses. The ending is horrible. The soundtrack is amazing. Again, a ‘human’ anime; no magic powers and mechs.

    • elyscape says:

      Monster is the best thing I have ever seen ever ever ever.

      Death Note is pretty good, but the last arc flounders a bit, and the anime screws up the very end.

      Ergo Proxy was pretty neat, set in a weird, dystopian, cyberpunk future.

      Gungrave was based on a PS2 game but was actually pretty good. I hear the game wasn’t even close in quality.

      If there’s other genres you’re interested in (e.g. romance, comedy, drama) , let me know and I can provide some examples of mastery in the craft.

    • Ozzie says:

      Thanks again for all the suggestions!
      I think these are enough for now.
      If I need more I better register for the forum and ask there again for some more! :)

    • Dominic White says:

      A couple more artistic triumphs.

      Mononoke (not to be confused with Pricess Mononoke), is a series of traditional Japanese-style ghost stories, mostly based around old shinto myths, tied together by the character that solves them, a wandering medicine seller/exorcist. It’s beautifully animated, done in the style of old japanese woodblock prints. It’s very quiet and understated, and just a feast for the eyes.

      Kemonozume is similarly impressive, artistically, but in a different kinda way. It has a super-sketchy, squishy, flexible and smooth art style that switches gears from scene to scene. The more action going on, the less it adheres to any kind of logical rules. It’s a bizarre romance/drama about a modern-day ninja who falls in love with a beautiful woman who also happens to regularly transform into a hideous flesh-eating demon-beast. It gets VERY trippy.

      Casshern: Sins is a remake/reimagining of a classic 70s series, about a cyborg who battles to save the last humans from robotic oppression in the post-apocalyptic future. The remake actually somehow makes that even grimmer than it sounds. It’s almost up there with Texhnolyze when it comes to characters having just given up the will to live. The art is detailed and smooth, with some stunning vistas. If you can find it in HD, it looks even better. Pin-sharp art, for the most part.

      Three shows there with wildly different art-styles, too.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Equally, If your interested in manga, I would highly recommend Junji Ito’s Uzmaki. As a genuinely unnerving lovecraftian horror series (Though of a Ramsey Campbell hue)

    • elyscape says:

      Anything by Junji Ito is weird Lovecraftian horror. He’s also the source of that shark knocking on your door.

    • YogSo says:

      Another vote from me to Planetes. The first episodes may appear awkward and full of “weird japanese humor”, and if you don’t like anime you will be probably tempted to just quit watching the show right there. Don’t. If you love science-fiction, and I mean “real, serious” science-fiction, with political themes and deep, complex characters with real, complex personalities and motivations, persevere. You will not regret it.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Uzmaki is an absolute phenomenon.

      To state another truism: the difference between manga and anime is worth restating. There’s massively less anime than Manga, due to cost/ease of production. As such, it can – not always, but can – gravitate to areas I don’t really have much interest in.

      Getting Sturgeon’s law on it, if 95% of everything is shit, the bigger the field, the more stuff that’ll interest you’ll find in it. I dare say I could find some manga for anyone to love if I knew what interests them, and it’s not the strongest part of my comic reading.

      (Flipping it to the topic, that’s why to reject a chunk of games on a simple aesthetic reason is a little sad – in that, it’s just reducing the amount of good stuff you can process. It’s not a moral failing or anything, unless you’re deliberately insulting about it.* All it ultimately is doing is hurting yourself. It’s like rejecting Dwarf Fortress because you can’t stand ASCII-esque graphics**. It’s probably worth the effort if you care about games to at least try to at least try and get over it. If it’s not a taste you have, it’ll widen your perspective if at least you try and acquire it.)

      I think TCM put it best: “An art style can sell a game to me, but it will never prevent me from buying one”. It’s the best way to get the best games.

      This is, as I said earlier, speaking as someone who naturally rolls my eyes at the hyper-cute. It’s improved my life and knowledge of games to get over myself a bit.

      KG

      *Which is the problem in this thread – the long threads have been precipitated by people being openly ignorant about it. That creates a counter-reaction, which means people who have reasonable “I just don’t like the look” response feel insulted in turn.

      **And, yes, I know.

    • Harlander says:

      Echoing the recommendations for Planetes – it’s brilliant, characterful hard sci-fi. A few other picks: Darker than Black, a faintly noirish tale of people who develop superpowers that have to be paid for with compulsions.

      also, Kaiba, which I tend to describe as “Richard Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs novels as illustrated by Dr. Seuss”

    • Gunsmith says:

      guys seriously, its all about PATLABOR

    • Quirk says:

      I’m heartened by the level of recommendations. I’ve seen far too much anime, and many of the ones mentioned are shows I rate.

      Akagi is very heavy on its mah-jong. I would strongly recommend Kaiji from the same writer/animation team. It’s a very smart strategy anime with a bleak view of human nature. You always have as much information as the protagonist; there are no deus ex machina here.

      Monster is as good as elyscape says it is. Really. The attention to detail and level of research would make it notable even without such high quality storytelling.

      Baccano is violent, but is also awesome. It isn’t told chronologically, if that’s likely to bother you; some people can’t get over that. They manage to catch everything they’ve thrown into the air over the course of the series in the last couple of episodes. Durarara from the same writer/team is less tightly plotted, and told in a more traditional fashion, but has the same level of awesomeness in its characters. First episode of Durarara’s weaker though.

      Goodbye Mr. Despair (Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei) is dangerously twisted and hilarious, though it peters out by the third or fourth series.

      Kino’s Journey is sci-fi more in the Philip K. Dick sense, though more coherent. Its reserved, thoughtful protagonist journeys among “countries” which serve as a pretext for a number of thought experiments.

      Cromartie High School seems barely to have had an animation budget, but the humour on display is a kind of surreal deadpan all of its own. The “Freddie” drinking rule is a must if watching with friends.

      Would also highly recommend Black Lagoon, which marries a lot of ideas, sharp action and well-defined characters, Code Geass, which quite fails to obscure its smartness by its flaunting of certain tropes (it’s from some of the same guys as worked on Planetes), and Detroit Metal City (if you can hack the animation style; also, caution, this is a recommendation along the same lines as Goodbye Mr. Despair). Haven’t seen Nodame Cantabile yet, but really liked Toradora which has similarities in premise.

      Planetes I haven’t seen in some time but I remember as being good. Gungrave was good, not great, but certainly not a waste of time to watch. Kemonozume is worth a watch too, but diverges from coherence by the end.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      @KG. It is truly something special, If you are interested in the inspiration, it would seem to stem directly from Cambells short story ‘The Voice of the Beach’ I believe its in the compilation ‘cold print’:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cold-Print-Ramsey-Campbell/dp/0747240590/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1284270548&sr=8-1

      Also, out of curiosity, have you heard of Guy Davis’ ‘Marquis’ series?

    • elyscape says:

      Going to second Quirk’s recommendation of Kino’s Journey (sometimes Kino no Tabi). It’s a hauntingly beautiful set of vignettes concerning the titular Kino’s travels. If you’ve read Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, it’s vaguely like that.

    • Nick says:

      Cowboy Bebop – strange space western about bounty hunters, always filled with some great music and quirkiness.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      Kino’s Journey is my favorite of all time. Very thoughtful and interesting.

    • elyscape says:

      You know what? I’m just going to make a webpage with my recommendations on it. That way, I won’t have to think in the future when recommending stuff to people.
      I’ll do that tomorrow and link it here.

    • tomeoftom says:

      You can apply KG’s post above to music, as well. I’d like to thank Mr. Gillen here for that, actually, seeing as it was reading his writing on lots of Britpop stuff (which I normally hate) that gave me the “broader tastes are more fun” epiphany. My increased appreciation of just about everything in life – not just art – has brought me huge amounts of joy from areas which I’d previously locked myself out of.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Tetragrammaton : Re: Guy Davis’ ‘Marquis’. Aware of it. Never actually read it. It does catch the eye though.

      KG

    • dethtoll says:

      I’d like to second Monster and Durarara. And if you like zombies and (comically oversized) tits, High School of the Dead is some good solid human drama. (The massive knockers are a callback to the original manga, which was drawn by a hentai artist as his “day job” ‘cuz he was trying to go legit.)

      Avoid anything Ghost in the Shell. It’s a load of pretentious wash.

      In light of the previous sentence I may seem hypocritical, but no delving of anime is complete without a foray into Neon Genesis Evangelion, essentially a deconstruction of the teen mecha pilot anime. It gets truly weird towards the end, and the ending movie (End of Evangelion) was rather controversial for its time, not least because of a thinly veiled slam on some of the creepier fans.

    • elyscape says:

      Okay, I got a very incomplete site up: http://elyscape.com/anime.html
      I’ll be finishing it this week, I hope.

  20. kai says:

    I don’t usually like the uber-cute anime style used in this game (note: I like other anime styles, just not the cutesy one), but the game is good enough for me to disregard that and play the hell out of it. Seriously, it kept me away from World of Tanks all day today. It’s really great.

  21. Jamesworkshop says:

    Could you edit the WIT to contain WIT the name should be pronounced like

  22. Vinraith says:

    Damn you sir, you’ve talked me into buying a second anime-inspired title in a single month, for which I shall curse you to the end of your days. I hate that damned art style, but sometimes the underlying game is so good it doesn’t matter, and this strikes me as one of those times.

    The first, by the way, it Etrian Odyssey 3 on the DS, which any fan of classic PC dungeon crawls should look into. The Etrian Odyssey games are literally the only reason I own a DS (which is not to say other interesting stuff hasn’t subsequently turned up for it, of course).

    • Spacewalk says:

      Have you come across The Dark Spire? It’s might be your thing since you really like Etrian Odyssey and especially if you’re a fan of Wizardy. It even has the option to change the visuals to wireframe if you don’t think the graphics are retro enough.

    • Nick says:

      EO3 is out now? Must. Get.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Spacewalk

      Yeah, I actually had that one preordered. :) Thanks for the mention, though, anyone that doesn’t know about Dark Spire certainly should!

      @Nick

      It’s out the 21st, to be exact. Might as well grab your preorder bonuses though, right?

  23. Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

    Right.

  24. Dave says:

    That has to be the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard anyone ask for out of a game.

  25. Paradox CEO Fred Wester says:

    Well I’m just going to say this is a great game and I’m glad RPS pointed me out to the demo which made me hold interest in this title.

  26. Berious says:

    Everyone should buy this game it frikken owns. Only downer is it’ll make you sad wondering about what other untranslated Japanese gems have passed us by.

  27. noobnob says:

    My biggest gripe with this game (played only the demo) was that it did not take advantage of the mouse at all. I’ve played a few games from japanese PC devs and I noticed that the awful trend is to mimick console controls as much as possible, unless it’s some sort of dating sim. With the top-down view and loads of menus, using the mouse to interact with the game would be really neat.

    • Ozzie says:

      It seems to work best with a gamepad indeed.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Technically this game is very poor indeed. Low maximum resolution, pixelization, no camera control (you can miss drops near the edge of dungeon’s corridor), I have to run it with administrative privileges (or there’s no sound and the game crashes after several seconds). And yes, gamepad is a must.

    • geldonyetich says:

      The way I see it, if graphics are your primary motivation to play a game, I know a fabulous application of unlimited enjoyment for you. It’s called Adobe Photoshop.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      It’s a port from a console game 3 years ago that used digital controls. There is no problem AT ALL using the keyboard, it’s easy as hell in fact. Why would you want a game based entirely on digital 4-way movement to use the mouse exactly?

  28. Serenegoose says:

    Argh! Seriously?! It LOOPS?! You don’t get game over for failing? I’m terrible at this game though. I frequently get killed in the dungeons, and I had no idea people had target prices… I mean I noticed that some people would be more cheap than others, but… No wonder I’m finding week 200k impossible. :( *sits at 29k on day 26 >>*

    Mind, I’m also getting terrible luck with the price fluctuations. 3 people walk in, and go “2 lots of armour in 2 days please?” 2 days later…. *news* ARMOUR NOW CHEAP. and even when I try and sell them it at 90% profit they laugh at me and storm out.

    *megagrumble*

    Still, I love this game, just because I’ve not played anything quite like it. And I love the art style. I almost forgot games had colours in them. More like this please!

    • Vinraith says:

      Art style != color palette.

    • Serenegoose says:

      I like both! Even if I didn’t make that especially clear. I like the style, and I like the colourfulness.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Serengoose

      Yeah, sorry, I’m just baffled by the number of folks in this thread who seem to think the only reason anyone dislikes anime art in games is because it’s bright and colorful. And yeah, I know you’ve neither said nor in any way implied that, so I’m going to go find some caffeine now…

  29. Snorri says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned the item shop minigame / origin story in Dragon Warrior IV, which was just long enough to be funny without wearing out the joke. I can’t believe someone tried to make a whole game out of it.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      What is Dragon Warrior IV? Is that a 3D shooter or other FPS? I play only on PC, and never heard about it. Maybe there’s more people who don’t know or don’t remember that game.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Thanks for admitting you haven’t actually played it.

  30. Iniudan says:

    To those that that disagree it is impossible without looping you really need to learn to play the game in an optimized state.

    You can easily make lot of money from a single item if the price is at a high (so you can sell at about 2 time the normal price the person would accept) and put it in the window to increase chance of sell. I even sold a breastplate for 80k one time (it was the one unlocked at level 18 if I remember right and sold at 250-260% the regular price)

    But I admit for the last week I barely scrapped the money for the 500k, since most of my money came from chest piece sale on the last 2 day since there was a high in their price, made like 300k profit on those last 2 day.

    Just learn which price each type of customer want and you will be grinding exp like nothing, the end of the sale combo is 128 exp bonus, make you go through level like a breeze. And thus unlock the good profit potential.

  31. HexagonalBolts says:

    What. In. The. Fuck. is that song!?

  32. pupsikaso says:

    And here I was thinking, “wow, a 100 comments in such a short time, did people like this game that much?”.
    Oh internet, how well you teach me to be cynical.

  33. Paradox, CEO of Fred Wester says:

    Right.

  34. Deacon Blues says:

    You spent so much of this review trying to convince me that it wasn’t generic JRPG schlock in spite of all the evidence that I really have no choice but to accept that that’s what it is and move on without playing it.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well I can’t stand JRPG’s and haven’t played one through in my life, but I loved this game.

  35. Robert says:

    @ Sigma
    “It’s more that anyone showing blatant ignorance on a subject (in this case, Japanese art styles) the way DoucheMullet did shouldn’t be arguing against it in the first place.”

    On the other hand, the opposition can be about as blinkered as what they’re arguing. I see a hell of a lot responses that seem to suggest that if you don’t like the anime art style (or yes, generalize it all into 1) you must be fond of brown/bland environments and Duke Nukem characterizations – which is as insulting and generalizing.

    It’s like Scissor Sister fans arguing with Dimmu Borgir fans. Or more accurate, people in between that happen to dislike either band get thrown in the heap of the other band. (I’m making it awfully abstractly analogous, but I hope you get my point

    In short, if people don’t like something. Let them. Let it be their loss. I just get sad with the need of some people to call other people ‘scared of their inner self’ because they don’t like an art style – however generalized the comment is.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      Even though you’re being somewhat pedantic with my post (I never said I approved of anyone on either end making generalizations), you made a fair point. I also understand the need to let these things go sometimes. These arguments usually elicit a “Who cares” and an eyeroll from me, but I needed to chime in this time.

  36. Little Tohya says:

    I vastly prefer the art style of the battle sprites to the out-of-battle ones (Because I prefer game sprite art to drawn animesque artwork), but it’s really a minor quibble about what it a fantastically lovely game. Eleven quid very well spent on the pre-order.

  37. SofS says:

    I think I’ll be picking this up as soon as I have some downtime. I have a fondness for games that build the possibility of failure into their design in such a way that you can actually lose and still have an effect on this.

    The art style debate provokes a thought: I like the style in the screenshots well enough (if it could be considered part of a style, it reminds me of the sort of thing that visual novels tend to do), but now I think that it’d be pretty cool to have a game with art more in the 70s-Bakshi vein. It’s a style that can incorporate bright colours and rounded cuteness into the same world as muted colours and angular grimness with aplomb. Of course, it’s best not to dip too much into the past, but I think it’d be a great springboard for something new.

  38. Derek says:

    First thing I thought of was that part of Dragon Warrior :)

    And yea, it is funny that someone tried to make a game of it, but I am glad they did, because this game, quite frankly, completely rocks.

  39. KarpaD says:

    Well, I’m convinced. I would normally avoid this game like the plague for its art style, but with all the good feelings here I gotta try it out.

    Curse you, RPS. You’re killing my bank account.

  40. Bozzley says:

    Possibly outside the remit of RPS (but then again the sequel is coming out on PC so I think I’ll get a pass) – the whole looping time structure thing, is it anywhere near the vicinity of being as shit as the looping time structure and positively vile save method of Dead Rising? (I’m not talking about having to piss to save the game, FYI)

  41. Krian says:

    @Bozzley: You don’t need any Loops at all to finish the storymode. Like Alec, I didn’t notice the looping feature and just restarted when I didn’t fulfill the quota, and I finished the game within two or three game-overs – though I really lucked out the last week when items I bought during the blue “no one likes it” stage suddenly became red (highly sought after) and I made like 400k during the last two days.

  42. Danorz says:

    @Vinraith: you thinking recette is in any way sexualised says volumes more about you than it does about the game. more capitalism, less ho please.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Danorz

      Take it up with Alec:

      J-RPGs generally inspire boredom and oh-get-on-with it impatience in me, being as I am something of a PC gamer archetype, but that’s not something Recettear ever inspired, in either its play or its big-eyed, oft-sexualised cartoon characters.

    • Wulf says:

      I won’t deny that it’s sexualised, but this is different to any current day AAA title outside of the indie scene… how? Pick just about any triple-A game and you’ll see women and even sometimes men sexualised to the same degree. We don’t notice it as much because we’re used to it by now, but it’s there, men are stereotypical musclebound masculine meatheads, and every single lady present has unusually perky breasts which the camera likes to give ample attention to. Bioware are perhaps more guilty of this than anyone, sometimes I rolled my eyes at just how much the camera drooled over Miranda, and I was sat here, looking around awkwardly, thinking pleeeease stoooop, I don’t want people to see this.

      In fact, I’d pretty much say that Recette is less sexualised than pretty much any female character in any Western RPG in, say… the last five years? If anyone has a contrary example, I’d be quite interested to see it. My point is is that it’s hypocritical to go on about this when our entertainment is just as bad, and sometimes worse. I can accept strong women, Jade and Samus are strong ladies, but sometimes we just turn them into sex bombs so that straight males can drool over them and squirm in their seats. If we’re going to attack games for this, then Bioware’s games need to be much closer to the #1 game we need to tackle than Recettear does.

      Just pointing out the hypocrisy, that’s all.

    • Vinraith says:

      I won’t deny that it’s sexualised, but this is different to any current day AAA title outside of the indie scene… how?

      The age of those being sexualized? Also, no one said anything about Recette in particular.

    • Wulf says:

      Danorz did, my bad.

      So let’s focus on you, Vin. What’s the age of the person you have a problem with being sexualised in Recettear? You tell me. This is just an interesting intellectual exercise, it should be illuminating.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Wulf

      Sorry to derail an intellectual exercise Wulf, but that question mark is there for a reason. I haven’t played the game yet (bought it earlier today) so cannot comment on any specifics with regards to this game (and have gone out of my way to avoid doing so in this thread). The comment that Danorz is responding to (and clearly misread) was a statement that disliking the anime style does not imply disliking color, nor does it imply liking the Gears of War art style, that was all.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      Curious passive aggression coming from wulf. The age of the characters are somewhat masked by the stylistic approach. However, they are, Im sure you would agree, symbolically representative of children. (large head to body ratio, large eyes) So frankly I d be shocked if there was ANY sexualisation going on. No?

    • Danorz says:

      yes i dun did misread it because i am a stupid, i apologize.

  43. BadHat says:

    Protip: turn voices off in options.

  44. drewski says:

    I like anime, but this art style is a bit of a turn off.

    Not enough to stop me getting the game when it becomes discounted, mind. But I wanted to stick up for (some of) the people turned off by the art – we’re not all ranting cultural bigots, you know.

  45. mpxd says:

    @Wulf
    pretty much any female character in any Western RPG in, say… the last five years
    If anyone has a contrary example, I’d be quite interested to see it.

    Haven’t played this, personally, but a few examples spring to mind. Kreia from KOTOR2 was an impressive female lead, and you would be hard-pressed to argue anything about her was sexual. Elanee, from NWN2, didn’t seem terribly sexualized, even though she was a love interest for the PC. Safiya from MotB also seemed reasonable. And you’d be hard-pressed to successfully sexualize _anything_ in Bethesda’s games.

    It’s true, many western RPGs and other games are very sexaulized, often to the point of facepalm. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call them (or JRPGs) out on it; I certainly do.

  46. Fwiffo says:

    Oooh, it’s not turn based is it? I’ve really gone off turn based JRPGS in recent years, but a hacky slashy adventure with a spin sounds like it’s worth a few quid.

  47. Torgen says:

    Not turn based.The “business day” is divided into segments, but that’s just to limit what you can do in one day. The combat is real time, and your basic button masher with special attack that uses skill points (that you replenish by eating sweets!)

    And in what other game are you going to find a “Foreclosure Fairy”?

  48. SquareWheel says:

    I played some of the demo. Recette is such a moron and it’s frustrating as heck. I just want to tell her to shut the hell up and let the fairy thing talk from now on.

    • rei says:

      The term for that is ‘moeblob’
      http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Moe

      Basically an effort to make a female character as helpless as possible in an effort to appeal to the predatory male instinct to own women.

    • elyscape says:

      Not exactly. Moe is a weird concept. Rather than appealing to the predatory aspect, it’s more appealing to the idea of being a protector. Also other things. It’s complicated, to say the least.

    • rei says:

      Yes, they need you to protect them, hence are dependent on you, and consequently you have power over them.

    • Phil Carlisle says:

      Rei: basically children then?

    • DeepSleeper says:

      What. The hell. Is wrong. With you.

      There is no “predatory male instinct” involved here. It’s a -kid- who runs a -store-. That’s IT. That’s all there is. You don’t need to drag whatever issues you have with females into it.

      More and more, I am becoming convinced that the Internet doesn’t deserve nice things.

    • Dominic White says:

      “What. The hell. Is wrong. With you.”

      Welcome to the internet, where EVERYONE is a pedophile until proven otherwise.

      Seriously, I’ve heard some ridiculous creepy theories from people trying waaaaay hard to project their hangups onto a cute little game about a little girl and a fairy that run a shop.

      I repeat. THIS IS A GAME ABOUT A LITTLE GIRL AND A FAIRY THAT RUN A SHOP. The only reasonable reaction to this is ‘Dawwwww’. If you feel otherwise, you might want to stop and think about why.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      A loan shark in disguise of a fairy and an innocent victim in disguise of a little girl.

      One of the thing I found amazing (not disturbing) was that the Booze of the World book (with samples) is almost guaranteed to be sold to the customer girls. So you little girl sells booze to minors. Shady dealings is the theme, not damn shop.

    • rei says:

      There is no “predatory male instinct” involved here. It’s a -kid- who runs a -store-. That’s IT.

      I wasn’t talking specifically about this game, as much as the roots of one aspect of the otaku culture. I’m sure the makers of this game had no such intentions. They put a helpless little girl in the game because it’s the sort of thing people expect from these things and it’ll sell. If you for a second doubt that there could be something a bit more to the moe phenomenon than the face value, however, I suggest you hit up google and educate yourself on the otaku culture (and I’m not talking about the diluted western concept, but the term as it’s perceived in Japan).

      Welcome to the internet, where EVERYONE is a pedophile until proven otherwise.

      Actually, I wasn’t talking about children at all.

      For what it’s worth, I have the game and enjoy it and don’t simmer in indignant rage at repugnant male pigs every time Recette pulls some caricaturish confused reaction. But welcome to the Internet, I guess, where everyone is absurdly defensive over things they enjoy.

    • spinks says:

      The little girl who came in for my ‘Booze of the World’ book wanted it as a present for her mother. Awww (I think?)

    • Wulf says:

      I had to poke my nose back into this thread, and does it ever deliver.

      First of all, I have massive amounts of respect for you, Dominic, but you might have figured that out by now. Reason being is that you seem to have the cognitive faculties to recognise that where a subjectively told story is involved, there’s legroom for a metric fuckton of unfettered, base interpretation, and therefore misinterpretation (but I’ll get back to that). What happens here is that people tend to take from their own understanding of self and the surrounding Universe to understand the story.

      Example: To tell it straight, I’m attracted to 10ft doombeasts, so I had no sexual investment in something like Recettear. What I found was an innocent game about a little girl and a fairy running an item shop.

      Example: Guild Wars 2 has the Charr, I’m attracted to them, sure. I’m not going to lie to you, that would be foolhardy, but I also recognise that ArenaNet didn’t go out of their way to sexualise them for them, nor would I even posit that theory, because I’d find it hilariously ridiculous.

      Point: Everything is sexy to someone.

      Further point: If you see something as potentially sexy in a game (or any other form of tale told), or something that you think might appeal to certain groups of people in a sexual way, this says more about you than it does about the game.

      Another example: I’ve talked about Mass Effect 2, no one kicked up a fuss about Jack. Quite frankly, if there was a large, muscly, tattooed man bound in leather straps in there, I’d be all for that and I’d find that sexy, mostly because I like leather straps. But this only says something about how I have an attraction to leather straps, not everyone finds this appealing, it would be genuinely entertaining to try to claim that they did.

      And this is what made me wonder about that recent brouhaha about the second Witcher game, and that tortured woman, people wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if it were a guy, they were getting offended because the scene was sexy to them. Just think about that for a moment. Said scene wouldn’t have been sexy to me, it would’ve been worrying, and baffling, and repugnant even, I’d have wanted to free said woman and get her out of there ASAP, I doubt having sex with her would’ve crossed my mind.

      Buuut… because there was an element there that some people found attractive, they flipped out.

      How is this relevant?

      “They put a helpless little girl in the game because it’s the sort of thing people expect from these things and it’ll sell.”

      Oooor they did it because the character is genuinely funny as a doofus and she fits the storyline. I mean, just because someone is clueless, do we have to apply some kind of sexual endeavour/correlation to them? Again, doing so is more telling about the person, unless you want to say that Joxer, the hopeless, clueless idiot from Xena, was sexualised for similar reasons, and was put in there to apply to… hm, what? Exactly who would the demographic be for Joxer?

      Are we really going to say that Joxer is our Recette, and intended to be the sexiest of sexy idiots?

      See, this is where arguments like this make me giggle.

      Yes, Joxer might be sexy to some people because he’s helpless, I don’t deny that, but to stipulate that the creators of the show put Joxer there just because he’d be sexy to a certain group of people is absolutely, patently ludicrous. Insinuating that Recette is there to apply to a certain group of people who might find her sexy is equally as ludicrous, and that’s the problem I have with your argument.

      If it applies to Recette, it applies to Joxer.

      Unless you’re going to say that the majority of Japan is made up of soulless stalking otakus, and that there’s a large enough demographic there to appeal to, the sort of which may or may not exist in the Western world. Are otakus the primary demographic? Would there be a Western equivalent so large that the inclusion of Joxer iis a worthwhile one for that reason? Are you saying that there are more perverts in Eastern countries than Western ones?

      You have to realise eventually that you’re projecting onto something, and draw the line at that. For whatever reason, you’re seeing how Recettear could be sexy, and you’re accusing folks like Dominic of being defensive to draw attention away from your own defensiveness. I find it interesting that you’re trying to be a scholar about this, and trying to claim that what you perceive in the game exists objectively, rather than subjectively and only within the scope of your mind.

      Frankly, I don’t find Recette attractive, nor can I see how she would be, simply because my mind doesn’t work quite that way. I’m more attracted to big, strong things, so I don’t find Recette appealing in the least, and I don’t really see that objectively there is anything sexy about her. You can subjectively apply sexy things to her, yes, but that’s pretty much my point.

      So at some point you have to realise that it’s all innocent, it’s just a doofus and a fairy, running an item shop. Nothing more to it. If you want to apply anything more to it, if you want to project anything onto it like Dominic pointed out, then at least have the decency to admit that you’re doing that.

      Otherwise we might as well claim that the Charr are sexualised, and pretty much everything that I find attractive has been sexualised just because either I find it sexy or because I can see how it might be sexy.

      We might as well also say that Joxer is sexualised because he’s a doofus and not very independent. We’ll just say that he’s sexualised because some people are turned on by that.

      Whilst we’re at it, let’s say that four-wheel drive cars are sexualised too, because some people are attracted to those.

      Or just that everything s sexualised because someone does or might find it sexy!

      *throws up his arms!*

      Really, where the hell does it end?

      It’s just a story about a doofus and a fairy running a shop, anything you add to that is your own business, but just because you see it, don’t try to say that your version of reality is the most valid and objective one, it might be true, but at the end of the day it’s very probably not. We all bring something to the table whenever we look at something like this. And again, it’s just like Dominic says, it shows certain people in a slightly creepy light more than it says anything about the game.

      (Yep, just playing devil’s advocate here, primarily because it might crack open a few minds, break down a few misconceptions, and create some very slight paradigm shifts. All too often people mix up subjectivity with objectivity, and it gets annoying after a while. Objectively, there is nothing sexy about Recettear, get over it.)

  49. bill says:

    It sounds worryingly like it’s just a generic JRPG.
    (albeit a good one with some humor).

  50. pafnucy says:

    So many replies and noone mentioned Mushishi or Eve No Jikan? I am disappoint, internets.

    • Dominic White says:

      They were on my list of things to get to eventually – especially Eve No Jikan, which is a story that Asimov would be proud of.

    • Ozzie says:

      He, already watched Mushishi. Great anime to calm down for a moment!
      I think it’s both its weakness and strength though that every episode stands on its own. Weakness because there’s no overarching storyline that keeps you interested in the anime, and it basically just ends with no proper conclusion, rather arbitrarily.
      It’s a strength because you can revisit your favorite episodes without having to watch the whole damn thing again. And there are some wonderful stories in it!