S.EXE: Hentai Edition (NSFW)

By Cara Ellison on July 18th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.

Nina and I are NSFWI have been aware, for a while at least, that for S.EXE you wanted me to do something on Hentai/eroge/H games, and so this week I fulfilled your wish with Da Capo.

For a pretty long time I didn’t want to cover Hentai, the main reason being that I couldn’t find one that appealed to my personal libido and I am very selfish. (Though when living in Japan I did spend a lot of time in manga shops and in sex shops merely attempting to understand the discourse around sex in Japan (I wasn’t getting laid at all).) (Maybe my lurking in those places was the reason?) But the other reasons I didn’t negotiate these waters sooner is that I find them full of problematic approaches to youth, incest, to consent, and to sex that even as an adult who enjoys a perverse fantasy or two it breaks me out of that and into the ‘this isn’t hot this is a nightmare’ mindset. It turns out even Hentai games with all men in them can be predicated on sexual assault scenarios. But I delve into Da Capo just for you, my dears.

‘Hentai’ in Japanese is just a shortened form of ‘hentai seiyoku’ which means a bizarre sexual perversion or desire, but internationally speaking ‘Hentai’ can mean any media that includes recognisably Japanese-styled sexual situations, usually anime or manga that includes pornographic material. Hand-drawn naked women presenting themselves as if they were feline, looking slightly blushy and ‘oh you just found me with my clothes off’, indicating that now is the time the player should get their joystick out and start going Mario Party on it. As I am currently in the residence of Nina Freeman, prolific maker of games about sex and who purports to have a PHD in Hentai (according to her Twitter handle), I asked her if we could play through one together. Nina explored Hentai back in her youth when it took bloody ages to download pictures of cute semi-naked manga women. I admire her commitment.

Da Capo is a Hentai visual novel that was released in 2002 on PC, and was described by publishers Circus as a “ticklish school romance adventure” whatever that means (is it a school of tickling/is it a ticklish school/do the schools romance?). In this game you play a young dork called Junichi, a schoolboy who has a mop of dark hair and some trousers that (as you will see later in the video) refuse to fully come off even though he is desperate to do the bad thing with one of seven adorable schoolgirls.

There are really only very few choices you can make in the narrative, because narrative in Hentai games, though they are about graphic sex scenes, usually have an emphasis on text-based storytelling. Da Capo is very text-heavy, a game that isn’t afraid to waste hours and hours of your time on the pontifications and neuroticisms of small talk conceived by a small boy who is desperately trying to distract the girl he is looking at from the Empire State building of an erection he is nursing.

Da Capo’s curiously flirtatious with the player in that it will often try to trick you into thinking something sexy will happen with a girl, and then it doesn’t. This is easily the most enjoyable part of the game: the part where the narrative becomes meta-narrative, the self-awareness of the dialogue. Often you feel like the writer is winking at you behind the screen.

The structure of Da Capo is actually one of the most frustrating things about it: it isn’t obvious when you are making a choice, and you have to set your ‘alarm’ for one of three times each morning which is, unbeknownst to the player, also setting a course for which girl you might pursue successfully into the sack (Kotori likes you to get to school on time). (This begs the question, am I getting up early enough in the morning to bang my crush of choice? Is this how it works? I am fucking awful at mornings and this is why I am single.) You also have to try to predict where in the school your crush will be hanging out in order to speak to her, which can be annoying to try and figure out.

Halfway through the game Junichi takes a pop quiz in class and has to answer several questions, one of which is about which girl he is interested in.

Only three girls are listed in the pop quiz – it is multiple choice – but alas, there is not room for seven. It was not clear as to how the game chooses these three girls to put into the quiz, but it seems likely it has something to do with how early I got up. Which is not early. As I have previously said.

Aside from the fact that the teacher who put this question in the quiz probably needs to be fired, and coupled with the weird alarm clock systems, this seems like a very clumsy, nay frustrating way to make a game, determine choices, conduct your wang-whereabouts. It seems like not a particularly well though through structure, because this paces the game so that it seems hopeless trial and error unless you use a walkthrough to choose your favourite girl to pursue from the start.

In any case, there are some problems with the way sexual encounters are portrayed. First of all there’s the fact that this is an adult game, and ostensibly you are looking at pictures of school-age girls. This doesn’t feel okay to me, but part of me is willing to at least entertain the thought that it is a fantasy about your school days, when you first started having feelings for women, and when I think of it like that I start to feel a bit better about it.

From the beginning you are invited to fantasise about a young girl who says she is your sister (incest is a common theme in Hentai games). In the beginning it’s a dream sequence in which she tells you ‘gochisosama’ (which is the Japanese phrase for ‘Thanks for the nice meal’, which in the bedroom context is stated after oral sex.) This is obviously meant to be humorous, though then you wake up and your sister is downstairs where you can have further awkward conversations with her in which you flirt and try to touch her in inappropriate manners.

NSFW video, featuring slight cartoon nudity and lots and lots of naughty words and themes.

As Nina and I played, we felt like we were spying on, watching, and generally finding ways for our character to touch girls. Each day we went to school trying to stalk our girl of choice, which was Kotori, the popular new girl with the raspberry hair. (In our pursuit of Kotori, the raspberry-haired girl, Junichi adjusts her hat when she’s singing in the park, and we are a total stranger to her.) By the time we were ten minutes into the game, we felt like we had almost been conditioned into possessing the listless libidos of those old men that sit at the back of the bus and make comments about the shortness girls’ skirts. We were annoyed that each girl wasn’t just lying down for us as if we were completely entitled to see them naked.

Da Capo is about ‘winning’ via nakedness. It is predicated on the idea that you are entitled to sex, entitled to see sex, entitled to see naked women. The reward is sexy pictures of naked women; that is the implicit aim. You can lose this game by hanging out too much with your male friend, who despite being perfectly cute, when he hits on Junichi after graduation Junichi brushes him off, horrified, and you get the ‘bad’ ending – no sexy naked bodies, no women for you. Compulsory heterosexuality is such a downer.

This isn’t particularly unusual for a Hentai game: most Hentai games are founded on the idea that man is entitled to naked womanreward. Junichi can undertake a cheeky manipulation to see Kotori when she is sick in bed by making the conversation choice to tell her older sister you love her. This might seem innocent if you were a boy, but as an adult playing a video game it seems sinister and intrusive. This is unfortunate, because I feel that in a global culture of victim blaming, objectification, trivialising of rape, and sexual harassment, this genre of game both illustrates (and may contribute to) the idea that women ‘gatekeep’ sex.

But it’s more complicated than that still: Hentai games supply a safe space in which to explore a lot of things that might otherwise be completely off limits for polite society. Sexuality in Japan is still something that is only discussed in particular discourses; many love hotels (hourly hotels adults can visit to have sex either because they still live with their parents, are cheating, or who have nosy neighbours) are automated so there are no witnesses to your desire. Kissing in public was completely taboo where I lived in Kagoshima. Once I was walking by the beachfront drunk at dawn and was completely struck by the high schoolers making out by the shore – 6am was makeout time because no one is around to see and judge.

Perhaps the most difficult part of Hentai for me is that teenage girls’ bodies, when naked in these games, are not really the sort of teen girl bodies that seem ready for sex, if you get my meaning. They seem pre-puberty. It always seems shocking to me, because, well, I just don’t think that should or could be hot.

I guess it’s that thing I always go on about: I wish there were more Hentai made for me, centred on thirty-something tall dudes with low voices who hang out in computer labs smirking at each other. Now that dating sim I’d play.

Til next time!

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238 Comments »

  1. lordcooper says:

    ey bb ill smirk 4 u

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    That trailer – what is it about the juxtaposition between girls and food that is so titillating in Japanese pop-culture? “A cute girl who binges on food? So hilarious! And now she is daintily eating sushi? OMG so hot!” Great article. If you allow me to a bit pedantic though:

    >This begs the question, am I getting up early enough in the morning to bang my crush of choice?

    That “raises” the question. “Begging the question” is a rhetorical fallacy where a dubious premise is stated as a fact – i.e. ” Why is it that poor people are so lazy?”.

    Hang on, you may have used it correctly when I think about it. I just assumed, since even BBC science programs get it wrong rhese days. Ahem. Carry on!

  3. SuicideKing says:

    Interesting stuff! Really appreciate you and RPS running this column, Cara.

  4. Arglebargle says:

    Always felt there was a lot of cultural impediment there. The male protaganists are almost uniformaly jerks, along with a ton of the other characters, male and female. A response to particular cultural pressure, I always assumed, but it made playing those things uncomfortable.

    When I had some friends who could guide me through the interminable maze of genre straightjackets that accompany a lot of these stories/games, it helped somewhat. Reminded me of the pickiness of the most ardent electronic music fans who can somehow define a style morph by something like a change in dotted eigthth notes. But there is this tendancy to design games around a strict schedule, so that if you don’t go to a particular place at a particular time, the game/story can hose you. Regardless of whether that particular move has any logic, meaning, or story element attached to it. Reminds me of the worst elements Infocomm/Sierra ‘Guess the Verb!’ games.

    I wasn’t raised on manga/anime, so I put the blame on the cultural distance, but maybe it’s just old fartism on my part.

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      keithzg says:

      I dunno, I think being critical and harsh on problematic conceptual approaches and orientations is entirely justifiable; the trick is being able to turn that same harsh, unrelenting eye towards cultural artifacts that one is familiar with as well. We should always be striving to be better and less straightjacketed by arbitrary tradition, especially in our art.

  5. God is Dog Backwards says:

    Is this game even legal in the UK? I thought cartoon depictions of naked under-18s/sexual were banned now.

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      Chaz says:

      Considering that they barely look human, I think it could be argued that it’s hard to say what age they are supposed to be. Paint the skin grey, fill the eyes in black. Aliens!

      • God is Dog Backwards says:

        Fair point.

      • mickygor says:

        A lot of things can be argued in court, sure. Good luck convincing a jury of your peers (who statistically are more likely to read The Sun than they aren’t) that it’s ok because these 15 year olds don’t look human enough to count as 15 year olds, though.

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          Chaz says:

          Well if they read the Sun then they’d be used to ogling topless 15 year olds on page 3. Not that it would stop them from their hypocritical self-righteousness.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          I don’t think objecting to porn involving depictions of children is a trait restricted to Sun readers.

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      Anthile says:

      I think the general practice is to just make them over 18 in the rare cases they do get translated even if it makes not much sense.

      • BTAxis says:

        No. The general practice is to painstakingly NOT mention their age and on the surface pretend everyone is a legal age when the context makes it very clear they’re not.

  6. The Laughing Owl says:

    Why only women are allowed to talk about sex and sex related things on gaming websites nowadays?

    • SuicideKing says:

      I could twist and distort reality and say “just cause men like it”, and suddenly you’d not know what to do.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      What you really meant is “Why do I feel uncomfortable talking about sex on gaming related websites nowadays?”. What you actually said made no fucking sense.

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        RedViv says:

        No no no, RPS is the only gaming website, and the only gaming erotica column on it is done by Cara. Totally checks out!

    • Text_Fish says:

      You took a wrong turn with the word “allowed” there.

      The fact that the chaps of RPS don’t have a column about sex related gaming probably comes down to two factors:

      1) RPS doesn’t need more than one sex games column.
      2) Judging by their choices of game reviews and coverage, I’d say most of the male RPS regulars aren’t that interested in sex games.

      • The_B says:

        Yup, I believe it’s just “Cara pitched a regular monthly column to RPS about sex and relationships in games and RPS agreed and are running it”

        Heck, here’s Richard Cobbett covering BoneCraft and going further back, here’s Kieron Gillen covering sex in The Sims and further still Kieron interviewing Leigh Alexander in an old RPS podcast about her background on sex games.

        The fact that the person currently the main writing about sex in games on RPS is in this column, and said columnist happens to be female at the current time is entirely coincidental, RPS has covered sex games plenty in the past. Just right now S.EXE is Cara’s column that she pitched, and she writes it. If one of the male writers want to say something on sex in games, they’ll do so or will pitch one but it just won’t likely be the S.EXE column specifically (unless Cara either retires from the column or she has a guest post.)

        There’s no “allowed” about it.

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          Gap Gen says:

          I was about to say that they’re probably too young to remember when Kieron was writing about games.

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            keithzg says:

            I miss Kieron. I miss him so much it hurts sometimes.

            [cue dialog choice to take advantage of me]

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          Big Murray says:

          I think that the way that Cara writes about actively deriving sexual gratification through games is different to the way any of the male writers have ever talked about it. And I agree that there’s this barrier where a man talking openly about getting sexual gratification from a video-game isn’t really as socially acceptable as a woman doing the same. Cara is unlikely to be accused of being “sad” or a “loser” for writing a column such as this, whereas I feel the social attitude would go that way if she was a man.

          So I’m saying that I understand where this comment is coming from. I don’t think it’s a particularly big issue though … I think RPS would happily have its male members write a column such as this if they felt the desire to.

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            keithzg says:

            Yeah, there’s definitely a freedom and personal frankness in regards to sex that Cara has in these columns that the male staff writers of late haven’t exhibited, and I agree that there’s probably subtle cultural pressures behind that—and I also agree that, overall, RPS isn’t the right target for a complaint about such things, as they’re generally quite unflinching.

          • The_B says:

            I don’t think it’s being disputed that Cara’s POV isn’t interesting though – that’s what makes it an interesting column and I dare say one of the reasons it was commissioned, because it’s a subject she covers well. Nor do I dispute that a female perspective isn’t going to be different and may be to some degree received differently. I do think her gender in relation to her being the current resident “RPS sex columnist” for want of a better way of phrasing it is coincidental and certainly doesn’t exclude any of the other members of RPS writing about sex as the OP implies.

    • ssh83 says:

      Girls confronting the uneasy topic of sex makes them brave and admirable.
      Guys talking about sex just means they’re disgusting and perverted.
      It’s called gender equality! Get with the program.

      • The Laughing Owl says:

        Oh. ok then. Seems kinda biased and one-sided, but if forfeiting logic and reason is what it takes to be considered acceptable, then I will comply.

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      Mo says:

      Sorry, but no. When Kieron was around he wrote a bunch of sex related stuff, both insightful and juvenile.

    • P.Funk says:

      This is actually a very interesting and valid question, so long as its not posed with the purposes of propping up some foul MRA agenda.

      My real question is not why is RPS’ single sex focused column exclusively operated by a female, but rather are there any males in all of gaming journalism or blogging or whatnot making a similar attempt to discuss sex in gaming?

      I think that’d be interesting to explore, if I could find a way to put together a search term that would bring me something other than porn. Maybe RPS can answer this for me, owing to deeper awareness of what happens in the world of gaming journalism beyond the level of the mainstream sell outs.

      I think its a valid question for some obvious reasons that I hope I don’t need to explain, valid posed differently than OP anyway.

      • The Laughing Owl says:

        A male writting about sex in a gaming website would have to walk on eggshells if he was willing to please everyone nowadays and not be considered “offensive” by anyone. A woman in the other hand, apparently, can say whatever she wants beause it’s “empowering” and “forward thinking”.

        • Bradamantium says:

          What a wonderful unprovable hypothesis. Theoretical man writing theoretically atop theoretical eggshells, while women get theoretical words in scare quotes like “empowering” thrown their way. Maybe this would work if there was a single example of a man writing about sex in games in recent years and being utterly taken down for it, but I’m hard pressed to think of even one. In fact, the last I can think of is Kieron as many of these comments helpfully point out, and that was all on this very site.

          Maybe the bigger question is why it seems there’s not much discourse at all around games about sex when they’ve been an underlying staple of gaming for decades.

          • Piecewise says:

            Actually it would be very easy to prove. Just try it out. Let someone write an article where he says that he likes rape fantasy games or something similar and watch what happens.

            Also, really, you’re being dumb. He would get feminist hatemail just like this column is being flooded in anti-feminist hatemail. You always have to walk on eggshells when it comes to this sort of thing; it’s just that the minority side tends to get more freedom in the level of what they can say before someone calls them out on it. People are quick to call out anyone who falsely asserts that white people are responsible for the modern world, but the equally false claims of afrocentrism are often allowed to slide.

        • Text_Fish says:

          No.

          You can’t complain that only women write about sex games and then go on to propose an explanation based on that same lack of empirical data.

          It doesn’t make sense, and it stinks of a bitter man with an agenda.

          • The Laughing Owl says:

            Everyone has an agenda, pal. Mostly the politically correct ones.

          • pepperfez says:

            By definition, right? Complaining about the PC agenda isn’t an agenda itself, just speaking the truth.

      • merkwuerdigich says:

        Pointing out that author hasn’t done their research ⇒ “MRA nonsense”, got it.

        Speaking of MRA, what is their “agenda” and why is it evil? And why is “feminist agenda” acceptable here? Sad to see that RPS is slowly becoming Tumblr.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Because the MRA is like a King complaining about poverty, etc.

          • The Laughing Owl says:

            “Yeah, men have absolutely no exclusive issues of their own that people should try to solve, this is why any movement that tries to solve their issues is EVIL!” -Said no reasonable person ever

          • The Random One says:

            MRA doesn’t try to solve men’s problems. They just point out that men have problems because of their gender, because they think it justifies women also having problems because of their gender. They talk about men being denied guardianship to their children after divorce, and being denied alimony when they do get their guardianship, and being denied protection by police when they suffer domestic violence, which are all negative things that men suffer because of gender bias. But the MRA doesn’t run battered men’s shelters. Feminists do. That’s because the MRA want to reestabilish gender differences, while feminists want to end them.

          • steviebops says:

            “But the MRA doesn’t run battered men’s shelters. Feminists do. ”

            Can you say that is universally true?

          • The Random One says:

            I cannot. Can you find a counter-example?

        • Text_Fish says:

          “MRA” and “Feminist Agenda” are equally reductive terms, usually only used by proponents of the opposite in a lazy and dismissive way. Such is the internet. C’est la interneté.

      • steviebops says:

        ‘foul MRA agenda.’ And what does that constitute? Feel free to write, but make sure you adhere to unknown guidelines?

    • Tony M says:

      Cara has replaced Kieron as RPS’s “kinky correspondent”. Kieron is a boy, Cara is a girl. Amazing fact, and anatomically correct.

      • P.Funk says:

        I must have started reading RPS after he stopped being the kinky correspondent. Have any good articles of his you could link me?

        Request made with no sarcasm btw.

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          Mo says:

          See my post a few comments above. The Sex and The Sims one in particular is Kieron (and RPS) at their finest.

      • steviebops says:

        Be careful on forcefully ‘gendering’ people.

  7. Shazbut says:

    If all games were judged this strictly in their emotional maturity then most wouldn’t fare much better, but since it’s about sex and intimacy the bar is set higher, and while I understand why I don’t know if I like it.

    Also because this is a genre that is taken seriously in Japan, it’s attracted some good writers and some of these games have the best stories in all of gaming. Some of them do contain relationships and characters that are actually fairly mature and aren’t adolescent male fantasy.

    • 2Ben says:

      Would you kindly share some examples? Personally I loved Kana Imouto and Katawa Shoujo (even if the later isn’t Japanese per se). If you know other good stories around, please share!

      • grom.5 says:

        Fate Stay Night ans Tsukihime seems two to recommend. At the point where player are usually surprised to fall on a sex scene on this one.

        On Visual Novel side (I never know when it’s an eroge or just visual novel), you can also look for Steins Gate, Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni or Clannad.

      • Entitled says:

        Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two is very nice, in a melodramatic Grand Romance way. (and has lots of incredibly fancy visuals and music).

        Kira Kira is more of an animesque high school comedy slice of life about a punk pop band, but again, quite nice.

      • Shazbut says:

        Kana Imouto changed my life for the better when I was 17 and I attribute a greater positive change to it than to any other piece of artwork I’ve ever experienced in my life in any medium.

        Ever 17, for my money, has perhaps the best story in all of gaming (ok, after Pathologic), and Yuno: A Girl Who Chants Love At The End Of The World is extraordinary on so many levels and is much more interactive than most of this kind of stuff, although it does contain some baffling fanservice which you’d have to take in your stride.

      • Maou says:

        I recommend (G senjou no Maou, Tears to Tiara, Utawarerumono and Saya no Uta).

        Kana imouto is awesome too, is just kinda hard to set up on modern computers.

      • IAmCzarAndYouAreNot says:

        Grisaia no Kajitsu – which has been officially licensed – mixes the moe visual novel with insane blue humor, dark psychological backstories and badass secret agents. It’s also got an amazing translation that blows Da Capo out of the water. Faaaar more entertaining overall.

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      maninahat says:

      Do people know any that are far for sex orientated? Most of the ones I have “read” boil down to hours upon hours of mawkish dialogue, culminating in maybe two sex scenes with underage girls (all lovingly described in some of the purpliest, “fluttering of hearts” description).

      Please recommend visual novels that have a lot more fucking. Or, failing that, ones that have clever or entertaining enough dialogue to make up for the lack of sex. Or failing that, ones that know how to put more than one sentence of text on the screen at a time, so that it can feel like I am reading a story, and not just looking at the captions to the world’s laziest comic book. Christine Love seems to be the only one that gets this.

  8. SophiaButler says:

    That first paragraph iz so true. I’ve seen some high value seriez and some no high value that have just ignored the fact that they’re none-consensual and rape, so they don’t even tag it with ‘rape’ on whatever site I’m reading on, it’z pathetic.

    • Smion says:

      Seriouzly? (I know this doesn’t have anything to do with what you actually said (which I agree with that that’s fucked up) but what’s wrong with using the letter s in words that involve the letter s? Is it because z gets too little love otherwise?)

  9. Sardonic says:

    Hey uh yeah, can we get a bit more censorship on the header photo on the main page? Some of us are at work.

  10. cylentstorm says:

    In Japan, I’ve always found the relationship between the traditional mass aversion to public affection and the supposedly niche, but actually fairly common and disturbing sex fantasies you’re describing to be interesting. Symptoms of repression, if you ask me. Calm on the surface, but with powerful undercurrents of passion, sometimes dancing around sex and violence. Not everyone is wound so tightly, of course, especially among the younger crowd. My ex-girlfriend and our mutual friends, for example…

    Granted, it has been over a decade since my last extended stay, so I’m curious about how much things have changed in Nihon. I’ve always wanted to go back and explore little more. Not the love hotels–although my last visit to one was a bit of a blur…I remember the name (Murasaki) and a hot tub, mirrors on the ceiling…*ahem*

    • Premium User Badge

      RedViv says:

      It is something one would always have to bring up when someone thoughtlessly mentions that “those Japanese are so weird”. The inner weirdness comes with (and from) an outer shell of painfully traditionalist and pressured society (‘The nail sticking out will be hammered in.’), one that is only now, in an era of tremendously increased globalisation of culture, breaking down faster.

    • ssh83 says:

      If you only knew the things that your parents did to each other.

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      keithzg says:

      Symptoms of repression, if you ask me. Calm on the surface, but with powerful undercurrents of passion, sometimes dancing around sex and violence.

      Yup, it’s the classic outcome. See also: Victorian England!

  11. Premium User Badge

    Wret says:

    Unfortunately you’ll find most of the smirking to be solo smirking, in the dark, alone.

    But you know since the current market for these games seems saturated with the same crap, maybe there’s a business opportunity there @_@

    I’m pretty sure Bill Zoeker’s a 30 something tall dude with a low voice, I wonder what it would take to just let me record a timelapse of him sitting in the dark working, and occasionally smirking.

  12. BTAxis says:

    Interestingly, an older generation of these games (we’re talking nineties) DID sometimes feature endings where the protagonist ends up with his best male friend(s).

    • Wedge says:

      Or one where you date a man pretending to be a woman on a virtual dating service, and when you find out the truth you are okay with it and become the first legal couple in Japan.

      Not that I would know or anything.

  13. PopeRatzo says:

    I wish I had tentacles.

    Yes, I know it’s not germane to this conversation, but I just thought you ought to know.

  14. altum videtur says:

    I do submit that assuming the presence of an overall commensurability of Japanese and “Western” sexual cultures is the most moribund fucking thing since the last time someone insisted that humanity is improving itself.

    yeah ill fucking show myself out you dont need to fucking tell me
    me and my fat fucking mouth
    whatever
    i use whatever fucking words i want okay maybe you should stop fucking complaining when you know fucking well and just want to proclaim how much of an inclusionist you are
    fuck

    edit:
    Oh. Right. The article. Pretty great and im pretty sure i would say that even if it werent because i have been preconditioned that Cara Ellison’s writing is excellent.
    oh who the fuck am i kidding
    i dont actually care about the article i just want to shit whatever is in my head somewhere

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      You okay?

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Usually I know whether to agree or disagree with a stated point of view. In this case I’m not sure whether he’s drunk, confused, or just a very, very good chatbot which almost convinced us he’s human. No way to know for sure unless he replies.

        • altum videtur says:

          all that and more @

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          Gap Gen says:

          I admit I’ve commented on this column drunk more often than other posts, posted as it is on a Friday evening.

  15. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    Interesting. I actually watched the anime of this and never knew that it stemmed from originally being a hentai. Then again there are a few good ones I’ve watched, only to be surprised they stemmed from porn. Hentai: one of the few pornographic mediums in which you can say you watch/play it for the story and mean it.

    • malkav11 says:

      As far as I can tell, there are eroge that are just straight up porn, and then there are ones (like Fate//stay night) that seem to include a few pro forma sex scenes as though they needed to be in there to meet a quota in order to sell at all, but mostly can’t be bothered worrying about it. Fate//stay night, especially, is like 30+ hours of reading per path with maybe two sex scenes each time, maybe 90% of the way into the path. There’s a little “I am an awkward virgin hanging out with three hot girls” stuff interspersed throughout but it’s really very much about the machinations and murders of the Holy Grail War and very little about the fucking. Which is just as well, because good lord, the sex scenes are risible. I do rather like the solution the anime came up with to elide the sex scene in the particular path it was based on, though. See, the ridiculous excuse for the sex is that the protagonist needs to “infuse” his magically summoned champion with his “mana” (or “essence” or something) which would normally happen through their magical link but since he’s not a proper mage, he has to do it the old-fashioned way. The anime says, “Okay, we will depict this as him falling through clouds towards a hole, then a CG dragon will erupt from lava and breath fire.” Because that’s super subtle.

      And then there are just straight up visual novels that are completely about the story.

      • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

        I actually had the Fate series in mind while typing that :p
        I’m really looking forward to the Stay Night reboot being animated by Ufotable. That, and I really enjoyed Fate/Zero. I’m currently watching the second season of Fate/kaleid liner, at the moment (and there’s always a voice at the back of my mind asking ‘What are you doing man? Just what?’. I almost gave Fate/Stay Night a shot but heard a lot of people say it pales in comparison to Zero. Since I was adament on watching the prequel first I decided to leave it, and shortly after the remake was announced so I’ll finally get to watch it in all of its glory.

        • malkav11 says:

          I never have seen any of the Fate anime (aside from the dragon clip). I know the Stay night one a) is only based on one of the three paths in that game and b) not supposed to be very good, so I’ve been sticking to the original visual novel, which is largely pretty fantastic. The rest of the franchise is definitely on the list once I finish, though.

          • grom.5 says:

            To be a bit more precise, the anime follow some kind of bastard scenario. It followed the Saber one but take a bit from each road. The end result is… Ok to get inside back in the days (it was my entrance door to anime more or less)

            Now, I don’t recommend it, especially when you can play it, watch Fate zero or the movie Unlimited blade works which posses some sick combats/animation (And it’s dolphin this time instead of dragon, cuz why not)

  16. Entitled says:

    God, I love it when random western reviewers describe the Visual Novel medium’s basic functionings through a random game’s review, as if it would be something entirely unique to it.

    I’ve never actually read Da Capo, but I was like “yes, they are exactly like that.”.

  17. jasta85 says:

    If you’ve ever seen the type moon anime (fate/stay night, Tsukihime, Fate/Zero etc) those are all originated from visual novels that did contain sex scenes (I hesitate to call them hentai as the sex is a very tiny portion of the content, I play them because the stories themselves are quite engrossing).

    I put great hentai games in a similar category as the TV series game of thrones and Spartacus, they’ve got sex and nudity all over the place, yet people consider them amazing series because there’s so much more admirable content aside from that.

    • Entitled says:

      I think they are even less porny than that.

      Game of Thrones is actually quite sexy ’round the clock, but something like Fate/Stay Night is about as innocent as your average teenager-oriented action-adventure anime, right until the protagonists start having a graphic threesome in front of you, sometime after the first 30 hours of reading, then it goes back to action-adventure for the next 20 hours, etc.

    • Premium User Badge

      PikaBot says:

      Well the reason those sex scenes are in Fate/Stay Night is that the visual novel was, at that time, seen more or less entirely as a vehicle for pornography. They had to promise virtual titties or else nobody would buy it. hence, each route has two perfunctory sex scene crowbarred in (well, Unlimited Blade Works only has one, but they just displaced Rin’s second scene into early Heaven’s Feel so it averages out) to satisfy the porn-buying audience, while the rest of the game goes about the business of telling an actual story.

      That genre/medium assumption is a lot weaker today, and indeed re-release versions of F/SN have had the sex scenes removed. Except (arguably) for some of the ones in Heaven’s Feel, they are totally extraneous and serve no purpose except to get nerds hot and bothered so they’ll drop money on it.

      (I’m not familiar with Tsukihime but I imagine a similar dynamic is at work)

  18. Muffintop says:

    Shoulda read Da Capo 2. It’s a lot better. Also, I don’t know what the hell you were smoking when you claimed the girls are pre-puberty. There are always some who appeal to the lolicon audience but they tend to be more stacked than not.

  19. ssh83 says:

    Ah… finally, S.EXE begin to cover beyond the limited view of a frog in a well. There is a load of interesting commentary and analysis you can make about the sexploitation of anime girls made in Japan. All the amoral fetishes are interesting to see that they even fricking exist at all, but… kinda hard to research them because of how gross they are. lol. Instant respect for these girls as journalist if they can brave the dark world of hentai in its entirety and write something comprehensive, a step up from a popping-the-cherry article.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Rizlar says:

    this seems like a very clumsy, nay frustrating way to make a game, determine choices, conduct your wang-whereabouts. It seems like not a particularly well though through structure, because this paces the game so that it seems hopeless trial and error unless you use a walkthrough to choose your favourite girl to pursue from the start.

    Welcome to being a teenage boy!

    Compulsory heterosexuality is such a downer.

    Again, welcome teenage boy.

    Once I was walking by the beachfront drunk at dawn and was completely struck by the high schoolers making out by the shore – 6am was makeout time because no one is around to see and judge.

    This is beautiful.

  21. h_fan says:

    Dear Cara, I have a feeling that you won’t find anything for you in the “highschool dating” hentai game genre. For a game that features consensual adults in a sword & sorcery setting, maybe you’d want to give “Brave Souls” a shot? It includes some narrative but most of the gameplay time is spent on party-based Action RPG, and it has an official English translation by Peach Princess.

  22. Zagzagovich says:

    Great article! It’s nice to see a thought out opinion from a western person about something so rooted in the east. A lot of things in these games seem bizarre and sometimes outright gross to people from the west. The one thing you might have overlooked though is that the sex scenes in games like Da Capo is not always the main focus for the player, a close secondary one perhaps but still. School based ones are usually dating sims, made to make you feel like you are in love with one of the characters of the game. It’s kind of sad and a lot of games stick to the same archetypes of stories, characters and even events but there are always people in japan willing to escape from the outside world by shutting themselves in an apartment and living out their fantasies through games like this. That’s why there are a lot of shows based on hentai games with no actual porn in them, people just like the fantasy of being with those characters.
    It’s not really my cup of tea but having grown up as a pretty lonely kid I can see how someone can get to such a sad state.

  23. Sunjammer says:

    Dat Capo…

    Complete aside: I find the textyness of this kind of eroge vastly, *vastly* superior to the typical western equivalent. Scenarios and buildup was always more fun than banging, methinks.

    Can’t help but feel, sometimes, that the western emphasis on the act itself is making the act itself less fun overall.

  24. Baffle Mint says:

    I’ve never really had much problem with weird stuff in Hentai because it doesn’t actually involve any people beyond the author and reader. Not only is there no actual incest in this game, there aren’t even two human beings pretending to have incest; there’s just one person writing about incest, and a second person reading it.

    That’s always made it easier for me to deal with than actual porn; hentai is all imaginary, so I don’t spend so much time thinking through the moral implications.

    Incest is bad, mmkay, but so is driving on the sidewalk so you can get past traffic, and the latter is something I do all the time in Grand Theft Auto.

    Whether you like imagining things isn’t directly related to whether you actually would want to do those things in real life.

    • The Random One says:

      Yeah, but I’ve always found strange how hentai authors are showing me naked prepubescent girls and wiggling their eyebrows at me going “you like this, don’t ya?” No, I don’t, in fact. (And prepubescent girls is probably the milder example.)

      Then again, I’ve always found strange how the GTA designers assume that at some point I’ll be OK with stealing a car and mowing down pedestrian despite not having at least some narrative justification, so clearly it’s me who is a pathetic weakling.

      • Baffle Mint says:

        Well, there’s no particular reason why you would or should like either of those things on any level.

        I’m just saying that as fantasy gets more abstract, it becomes more palatable to more people.

        Like, most of the people who play GTA don’t want to actually get in their cars and run over pedestrians. They don’t even necessarily want GTA to feel more like real life. I think sexual fantasies are often similar.

        There’s certainly stuff I like in hentai that I wouldn’t even want to pretend to do with another person.

        EDIT: The thing I’ve always found weird about Hentai is how you get so many fetishes crammed into one place without any clear indication that they’re going to be there.

  25. SableShrike says:

    These ribald shenanigans are rapidly becoming one of my favorite reads of the week(? I guess this’s weekly).

    Ever since Warren Ellis effectively shuttered his site and Coilhouse went defunct, you have been carrying the indie torch for the weird and perverse, Cara. I give this series two tentacles up. As to up WHERE, that’s another story…

  26. P.Funk says:

    The typical abhorrent content of most Japanese hentai and its various unmentionable sub-genres (when someone explained that guro actually exists I came to a revelation about people and their proclivities) naturally brings to the fore, is it possible to define what is and is not a valid fantasy?

    Power, submission, pain, torture, etc etc all feature prominently in the S&M community and its a community that advocates strongly about its personal liberation and interest in free associations and choice. This of course plays off of all kinds of reprehensible human behaviors as a model, such as rape or confinement or torture.

    So if someone were to accept S&M, done properly with consent and no coercion, how do we address the nature of abhorrent fantasy in hentai? There is nobody to harm, there are no issues of consent, its animated so any character presented even the apparently under age ones aren’t actually harmed.

    Is it possible for a fantasy of this kind, about women being nakedness gatekeepers or innocents to be captured and possessed as sex objects or whatever the specific is, to be valid and in the mind of a person who otherwise treats people in real life with total respect? Cara says something at one point that goes like “this is something that isn’t, or I don’t think should be sexy” but thats so subjective. Pain as pleasure seems automatically like something that shouldn’t be considered sexy, or wanting to be confined, or wanting to be raped, and I’m sure some people would say that those desires are wrong, as some say they’re right.

    How does typical Japanese Hentai fantasy compare to something more familiar to say North American or Western Europeans? Is there a distinction? Or are there simply some fantasies that are objectively wrong even if they exist only in your mind and in some cases an animated game?

    • Traipse says:

      A good question. Ultimately, I think, it’s our actions that define whether we’re moral people or not — having deviant fantasies doesn’t make you a bad person unless you actually act on them in a non-consensual way. BDSM is (to put it simplistically) a way of roleplaying out problematic fantasies in a safe and consensual manner.

      I’m not sure that the kind of roleplaying involved in BDSM really correlates well with the sort of roleplaying people do in hentai games, though. With BDSM, you’re working out complicated issues of consent and boundaries with another real live person, a process which tends to teach you a lot. There’s the ability to act out fantasies of rape or punishment or subjugation or whatever, but ultimately you have to always be aware that you’re doing this with another human being whom you have to be careful of and who has boundaries beyond which you shouldn’t push. There’s the narrative (the roleplaying interactions) and the meta-narrative (the awareness of everything outside of the roleplaying scenario).

      Hentai games completely lack that aspect; the characters in them are virtual dolls with only a narrative level. There are no real-world consequences for your behaviour in the game. You indulge in non-consensual fantasies without the approval of the person you’re doing them to. You don’t get the same sense of boundaries instilled in you that you would with real-life BDSM. And I think that’s why I find BDSM unremarkable, from a moral standpoint, but hentai games which involve rape, harassment, or coercion (which is apparently almost all of them) creep me the hell out.

      • Zyrusticae says:

        I need to point out that, no, not even close to “nearly all” H-games include elements of non-consensual sex. A lot of them are straight up dating sims, where the whole point is to experience something akin to a relationship (as farcical as that may sound).

        That being said, there’s a smattering of games where you do play as a female character, and nearly all of the sex in those consists of rape, so there’s that, I suppose. I can only imagine how some of you would react to the things I have seen….

        • P.Funk says:

          The reddit of pictures from the crash site of the Malaysian 777 contains more than enough for me think that gruo is mild at this point.

      • P.Funk says:

        “Hentai games completely lack that aspect; the characters in them are virtual dolls with only a narrative level. ”

        So how does that differ though from acting these fantasies out in your head? Is it that its externalized to something in front of you? I’m not sure that it follows that you need to interact with boundaries for an abhorrent fantasy to be “safe” or at least nor morally worrisome.

        For instance I’ve in my life had many fantasies in my head, things which gratified me greatly, that when confronted with a person, perhaps THE person, I felt no desire to act out, and not just because doing them might have elicited protest but simply because outside of my mind the fantasy had no weight. The mind is also a playground and much of its value is specifically because it lacks boundaries. You can turn physics off in there, some people claim to be able to take control of dreams and fly, but we don’t think that means they’re more likely to throw themselves off buildings.

        You talk about how S&M lets you explore fantasies while learning something, but that without that human boundary setting its creepy. But should someone exploring their fantasies have to be about productivity? Discovering something, learning, coming to new understandings of our bodies and all that stuff you might hear in a documentary. Maybe someone just wants to get off and they can put it away when they’re done? Can you do that though? Do I need to care about a process in my fantasies? Is a rape fantasy in a novel or a porno counter productive because the narrative doesn’t offer consequences, no ‘stop’ moments, nothing to stall the fantasy?

        Again I have no answers, I’m posing annoying questions to hear what people think.

        • Premium User Badge

          AngelTear says:

          If you draw a comparison with violence in videogames, I think we can clarify some issues.

          Violence in VG is completely fine, and no one is being really harmed, and maybe it’s a way for someone to vent their frustration and pent up anxieties, or other even more serious problems without really affecting anyone in real life. That’s great. The only real argument against violence in VG is that it may lead to violence in real life. The problem there is that we don’t know enough about how our mind interacts with playing out these power fantasies to really define what is or isn’t ok, if framing the fantasy in a certain way helps it preserve its nature of fantasy as distinct from reality or what have you.

          I guess you could say the same about representation of sexual acts in VG. I mean, the only real argument you could bring against, say, the representation of a rape scene is that seeing it is somehow damaging to people in real life, as it could make someone think that it is ok, that women actually want it etc. (And even then, it’s not that simple, it’s not just that there cannot be a rape scene ever, how you frame it and how you describe it, and the context around it all help define the nature of it and therefore how it affects the spectator). If that wasn’t true, representations of rape scenes should actually be seen as a good thing, as they would give people who are potential rapers a chance to play out their fantasies in a virtual environment, without affecting those who only want to play it out as a fantasy in the slightest.

          When we hear of someone who has shot people “because” he played a lot of GTA, our usual response is that “Millions of people play GTA, and they haven’t shot anyone, he obviously had other problems and it’s not GTA’s fault”.
          On the other hand, feminist criticism (and many other types of criticism that tie the fictional work with real life) is entirely reliant on the assumption that what we’re seeing affects us, somehow. That the overwhelming sexism in videogames helps perpetuate sexism in real life.

          The two are not necessarily contradictory views: there’s a lot to be said, for instance, about how different elements of a fictional setting tie up with different notions of reality (e.g.: even in a sci-fi setting, we are able to relate fictional human relationships to real human relationships; in other words, our mind may be able to tell us that all the shooting in GTA is just a power fantasy, but the human relationships in the plot are life-like and an accurate representation of the way they should be in real-life; or, again, that objectified women in fiction relate to actual ideas, if maybe brought to the extreme, of how women should be treated). There are also studies that show how being aware and critical of what is going on in a work of fiction reduce how much it unconsciously affects us. So the issue is extremely complicated.

          But there is a very thin line between:
          a) this person has problems concerning his sexuality, he used hentai games to vent them until he couldn’t, so he went out and enacted his fantasy on actual people; (Like the GTA shooting example: the game is a harmless fantasy, it’s just some people who project pre-existent problems on them.)
          and b) Hentai games are unconsciously teaching us certain notions concerning consent in sexual relationships that, especially in those who may already have been predisposed, bring out certain actions and attitudes and ideas that they then enact and perpetuate in real life (i.e.: certain games cause more rapes)

          If b) was proven to be true in a somewhat strong form, then maybe there could be the ground for an argument about censorship of entertainment and art that contains or depicts certain themes in a certain way for reasons of public safety (e.g. Only people who have undergone a psychic evaluation are safe to play extremely violent games)

          Then again, i used a lot of “IF”s, because I definitely don’t know enough about the intricacies of the mind’s relationship with fictional works, and it’s likely that psychology as a whole doesn’t know enough.

          • altum videtur says:

            That is the most horrifying comment I ever read on RPS because it is both thoughtful and well-intentioned.
            It’s just monstrously authoritarian.
            Bah.
            Dont wanna insult. Just want to mention that i think you would take away an awful lot of personal freedom (psychologic evaluation? based on what criteria? take away ability to access fiction?) in the name of progress. I’m not going to regale you with comparisons to communism et al because you probably didn’t deserve that (i tend to find it hard to judge just how harsh i am allowed to be. maybe i am not allowed to be.)
            The fact I’d rather die in a world where depravity is rampant but choice of fiction is free then live in a safe one that tells me (me! not others. those folks are not my primary interest) i cant read someone like the Marquis De Sade or Freud or the Strugatskys because doing so will make me, I dunno, a hostility vector or something, is rather quite irrelevant of course. Im just one red spot on the tracks of humanity so I should not voice my disapproval at all. Still. I wanna fucking voice it.

            (gotta admit it is rather goddamn hard to write when you just want to shout at everyone)

          • Premium User Badge

            AngelTear says:

            Well, in most countries you have to undergo a psychological evaluation in order to carry a weapon, to make sure you are responsible and “sane” enough that you won’t end up harming others or yourself with it.

            If there was scientifically accepted data that confirmed beyond reasonable doubt that certain kinds of fiction make some people that don’t possess a certain degree of mental fortitude go out and kill, rape or otherwise harm themselves or others, I think there would be the basis to discuss a kind of restriction similar to that of firearms. I didn’t say I’m ok with it, positing as an hypothesis like this is too vague for me to say whether I’d agree or not, but it’d be a reasonable discussion to be had.

            (I like communism. The kind Marx wrote about, not that abomination that Russia called Communism)

            (Are you ok? You don’t seem to be doing so well, quite apart from the argument we’re having. Do you have someone to talk to?)

          • P.Funk says:

            If we were able to prove that input leads directly to output of some sort, ie. experiencing violent imagery or sexual imagery of a certain kind is more likely to cause someone to commit similar acts, then that would fundamentally change how we look at all forms of entertainment. I also think its inherently a false notion and overly simplistic.

            Lets think about this notion of imagery affecting inclination. We see in all kinds of movies and tv shows the idea that you can load people up with violent imagery as a means to brain wash them. Brain washing as far as I know isn’t a real thing. They tried it with MK ULTRA, they did their experiments, it didn’t happen. So if the government can’t make you want to kill someone against your will with violent imagery I can’t imagine how a video game would make you do it when its not even trying. This follows with other kinds of imagery.

            The other end of it is the idea that modeling unacceptable social ideals leads to the promulgation of that social model and I think there is a lot of value in this assessment depending on how its presented. If you see something in a social interaction and its already established as a norm, even if its one on the way out, you might emulate it or at the very least consider it acceptable behavior. There is a fine line and thats the problem. Fine lines.

            Where is the fine line? I think its in education, its in attitude, its in how we approach ideas. Maturity plays a role, and sophistication of thinking does. Some people listen to propaganda and just nod their heads, others immediately get a baffled look on their faces and wonder why anyone thinks it makes sense. What can or cannot influence us is subject in no small part to how you allow it to. People have to actually learn to be critical and objective, and I think thats the not so sexy answer. You said that if people were taking a critical eye to things that the contents of a novel are less likely to influence them. I think its funny that we look at it that way. That thinking makes us less likely to just accept things, like thats a revelation? It should be the automatic assumption of how we should be, critical, and the state of being uncritical should be abnormal.

            I think its folly to think you can show someone a picture and turn them into a pedophile or a criminal or a murderer or something. Now your idea of licensing the right to view things society has deemed harmful… eh that is pretty authoritarian. We don’t live in an ideal society, we live in one where people think you can stop being gay by choice, one where Russians have laws against gay propaganda.

            Nevertheless laws and prohibitions never solved much, except perhaps on weaponry. The usual exception is in things like child pornography. But overall social problems require social solutions. Drugs are a social problem and the solution is not in prohibition or in prisons or in laws or crime fighting. The same should be true with any issue that comes from this stuff. A healthy person doesn’t become a rapist because he looks at hentai. So the solution is to look at how to make sure people approach it from a healthy perspective. And thats a whole separate article, but I think outlawing things only makes for problems of stigma and that means if there are actual social issues involved people are less likely to get help, or have an enlightened attitude about them. Lets face it, people are pigs, they look at abnormality as a chance to glutton themselves on intolerance.

          • Dave Tosser says:

            You are terrifying and my only comfort is that you don’t run the country I live in.

          • Premium User Badge

            Melody says:

            Wow.

            I made the weakest possible statement (“there would be grounds for an argument”) about the*possibility* of censorship, which I then re-qualified in a milder form as a restriction, given scientific data to confirm the worst possible thing that could ever be thought about the influence of videogames on people (and which is itself extremely unlikely to be true, given that influence works in much subtler ways), based on reasons of personal safety (not in order to actually censor anyone’s ideas) and suddenly I’m the worst dictator ever.

            I wonder if you have any words left to qualify Google, Facebook or the US government, let alone *actual* dictators.

            But do not fear, as much as I’d like for people to stop hurting themselves and each other in all kinds of physical and psychological ways, I’m too anti-social to ever be a politician. =)

  27. Koinzellgaming says:

    Well honestly I think they could’ve started their adventure of Visual Novels from elsewhere, Da Capo is as standard of a Visual Novel as it gets, which might be the reason why they checked it out? . Not sure if they intentionally named this topic “Hentai Edition” or not, because there’s a good amount of Visual Novels which have barely any Hentai in them and the focus is far more on the story, characters, world then anything else. Seeing as this topic is named “NSFW” I’ll just put down a recommendation for people who really want to check out the best that VN’s have to offer.. Muv-Luv Alternative. Be prepared to cry your hearts out.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I’ve been led to believe that a lot of the sexual weirdness in modern Japanese culture stems from oppressive pornography laws passed by the occupying US and allied forces at the end of WW2. Apparently censorship was pretty damn strict even in pre-war Japan, but the post-war occupation only served to amplify the societal pressures resulting in a distillation of perversion.

  29. Runic says:

    Everyone in the comments is acting like a pseudointellectual smartass douche. It’s like YouTube -comments section but for pseudointellectual people instead of total dumbasses, haha. And in the end… it’s all the same.

  30. TheMopeSquad says:

    No offense to De Capo because I have never played it, but you really really need to cover Sengoku Rance and Kamidori Alchemy Meister instead. They both showcase that hentai games can actually be very good GAMES not just…. you know… I mean seriously they are great and everyone mature enough to needs to play them.

    • pepperfez says:

      Rance is gross, not so much because it’s largely about helping the protagonist rape women but because of how damnably [i]smug[/i] it is. Like, it refuses to just own the fact that it’s about a totally awesome dude awesomely having sex with whoever he wants whether they like it or not – it hides behind “SATIRE!”

  31. Smion says:

    How can you justify filming the screen of your PC in order to show off a game in 2014? Fraps (and other free alternatives) are a thing. ARRRFGHHAFA

  32. bunionbell says:

    Can anyone offer up any thoughts on how/if hentai relates at all to the apparent lack of fucking going on in Japanese culture:

    Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex?

  33. Pie says:

    OMG RPS wrote about Da Capo…..OMG
    If you are interested in extra characters, one of which is a shrine maiden, you can look for DCPS on playstation or DCPC on PC….

  34. Urmas says:

    I just had to.

    “Da Capo is about ‘winning’ via nakedness. It is predicated on the idea that you are entitled to sex, entitled to see sex, entitled to see naked women. The reward is sexy pictures of naked women; that is the implicit aim.”

    Just by using the word “entitled” in this context it’s already clear what your agenda is and exactly what this article is going to be about.
    sex/nakedness is the endgame in many games like this, that is one of the reasons the customer buys this.
    sex/nakedness is to be expected in the exact same way that one would expect to see sex/nakedness in bought or free pornography (this game would clearly class has bought pornography).

    “We were annoyed that each girl wasn’t just lying down for us as if we were completely entitled to see them naked.”
    “Da Capo’s curiously flirtatious with the player in that it will often try to trick you into thinking something sexy will happen with a girl, and then it doesn’t. This is easily the most enjoyable part of the game”

    Then why would you be annoyed if the exact opposite was “easily the most enjoyable part of the game” ?

    “I feel that in a global culture of victim blaming, objectification, trivializing of rape, and sexual harassment.”

    THIS is why signed up just to comment, “global culture of”.

    What’s wrong with objectification? do you slap your boyfriend/girlfriend every time he/she looks at your boobs and say ‘stop objectifying me’?
    Or complain about clothing catalogs using male/female models to wear their clothes?

    There is no “trivializing of rape”. Rapists and pedophiles are treated worse than murderers by society, and all a woman needs to do is accuse a man of rape and his life is effectively ruined because people will believe her in the game of ‘word against word’, he’ll lose his job, friends and reputation. Many men have committed suicide because they were falsely accused of rape. Rape is the only crime that i know of where the accused is considered guilty before any trial takes place.
    The same also goes for sexual harassment, you want to get a man fired who’s annoying you at work? just lie to the boss and tell him/her he squeezed your boob, something that one of my female friends did to a guy who hit on her because he wasn’t “cute” and got him fired. (or you could just complain about being offended by a dongle joke, might even get two men fired)
    Don’t get me wrong, rape/sexual assault happens (i experienced sexual harassment more than once) (mostly by men) but for us it’s much easier to get it stopped. If a man is sexually harassed, he’s laughed at and not taken seriously at all (in fact many people deny there is even such a thing)

    “this genre of game both illustrates (and may contribute to) the idea that women ‘gatekeep’ sex.”
    So? it’s a fact that women rightfully say no to sex with men more than men say no to sex with women.
    If you want to stop contributing to that idea then don’t accept the free drink, we all know why he’s giving us a free drink, don’t play dumb, accept some responsibility
    I have never heard any man use the term ‘gatekeep’ before.

    This whole article just seems like nothing more than the author trying to hint that games like this encourage a belief in men that they are entitled to women’s bodies. I can’t wait to see the next article on how GTA is a ‘mass shooting sim’. Please, stop using video games to push your own feminist agenda.

    • P.Funk says:

      I wrote out this long thing about why I thought you were wrong even if I didn’t agree totally with Cara, but honestly I can sum it up as follows:

      Whats wrong with objectification? I don’t have to go further than wikipedia or an actual answer to find out:
      “In social philosophy, objectification means treating a person as a thing, without regard to their dignity.”

      Looking at nice breasts and feeling aroused is not the same thing. You’re doing that thing where all social issues become “not a big deal” with common sense solutions that any smart girl can have. Its bigger than that and your vulgar generalizations don’t change that.

      Like I said, I don’t think I agree with all the articles statements, but you’re way off the mark.

      • Urmas says:

        Thanks for the reply.
        “Objectification
        Objectification is a notion central to feminist theory. It can be roughly defined as the seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object.”
        “Object
        1.a material thing that can be seen and touched.
        2.a person or thing to which a specified action or feeling is directed.”

        As much a i dislike google, i find their definitions sound. I never once saw “without regard to their dignity.”
        So that’s what i was going off of.
        Google’s definition of Objectification seems far more accurate to me and seems far more fitting with the word, if something or someone is objectified then the form in which the objectification takes should come after that word, not be included in it’s definition.

        “You’re doing that thing where all social issues become “not a big deal””
        “If a man is sexually harassed, he’s laughed at and not taken seriously at all (in fact many people deny there is even such a thing)” – my original post.

        • P.Funk says:

          Rendering the definition to its simplest form isn’t more accurate, its in fact less. Its generalized and at that point loses its meaning altogether. In political philosophy it has the definition I gave and thats the only one that matters to people discussing issues surrounding marginalized people or groups.

        • Premium User Badge

          AngelTear says:

          If a man is sexually harassed, he’s laughed at and not taken seriously at all (in fact many people deny there is even such a thing)

          http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/phmt-argument/

          Oh, since we’re at it, http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/faq-what-is-sexual-objectification/

          • Urmas says:

            from the blog you linked me to.
            “has the effect of silencing women’s voices on important issues such as rape and reproductive rights.”
            That’s total bullshit. It’s very important to recognize that a problem exists with both genders when you’re only trying to fix it for a single gender, otherwise you unknowingly encourage the thought that it only exists in that gender.

            sexual objectification
            “Sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities and desires/plans of their own. This is done by speaking/thinking of women especially as only their bodies, either the whole body, or as fetishised body parts.”
            I love that definition.

            The main reason i created the post was because i got pissed off at people using video games to push an agenda, not only that, but using an adult game to push the agenda that men feel entitled to women’s bodies was pathetic, which is what got me pissed off. This article does not belong on a site centered around gaming.
            Hence why it turned out to be more of a rant than anything else.

          • Piecewise says:

            Ok you really need to stop linking that. Just because some blog says something does not make it sacrosanct, and if you can’t argue without just resorting to “They said it was this so it is” tactics, you need to stop trying to.

            Beyond that:
            “Sexual objectification is the viewing of people solely as de-personalised objects of desire instead of as individuals with complex personalities and desires/plans of their own. This is done by speaking/thinking of women especially as only their bodies, either the whole body, or as fetishised body parts.”

            Here’s the rub: if you look up above us, past the angry words and screams about how porn games are degrading the rights of women, you’ll notice something interesting. Namely, that the pictures accompanying the article are of fucking drawings. Not real people with hopes and dreams and complex personalities. Drawings.

            They LITERALLY are sex objects. They are inanimate things created by some person with the sole intent of them being used for sexual purposes. So yes, we SHOULD feel entitled to seeing them naked since that is their entire damn purpose! Thats why they were created and put into this hilariously shallow world where sex happens at the drop of a hat for no reason. Using them to complain about the sexual objectification of women is like me using the fact that they model dildos on real penises to complain about the objectification of men. It’s silly to the point of being nonsensical.

            Now, you could argue that these sort of games send the wrong message to men, that women are sex objects and that it makes them believe they are entitled to sex etc. etc. But then you’re getting into the exact same argument as “Video games cause violence”, claiming that people can not distinguish between reality and fiction. And while I’m sure there are people effected by such things, they’re not exactly the sort of right minded baseline you want to measure anything off of.

          • Premium User Badge

            AngelTear says:

            I link to that blog because it’s quicker than typing it out myself, and the choice of words is more accurate. It’s also more comprehensive than I could be in a comment.

            Some comments are pretty much the same week after week after week, and, besides the trolls, most of them are unclear on certain concepts that are foundational for feminism (which you may not agree with, if you don’t agree with feminism as a whole, but they are pretty basic ideas otherwise).

            When there is something new to actually be said or discussed, I do use my words, as you can see above.

          • Premium User Badge

            Big Murray says:

            AngelTear, I find the concept that someone would say to me that contributing my opinion in a calm and reasonable way to a discussion is tantamount to “silencing women’s voices” the most offensive thing I’ve heard in quite a while. The idea that someone would tell me that I need to keep quiet about my views on a situation because to do so would somehow prevent other people from talking actually makes me quite angry.

          • P.Funk says:

            @piecewise

            “Now, you could argue that these sort of games send the wrong message to men, that women are sex objects and that it makes them believe they are entitled to sex etc. etc. But then you’re getting into the exact same argument as “Video games cause violence”, claiming that people can not distinguish between reality and fiction. And while I’m sure there are people effected by such things, they’re not exactly the sort of right minded baseline you want to measure anything off of.”

            I don’t agree that its simply the same thing. There is a difference between thinking something is okay and behaving violently. There is a difference between having an attitude about females, particularly with respect to objectification, and acting out violent sexual fantasies. There is a line here and its in the complex nature of social norms and interactions.

            Basically its a lot harder to justify to yourself the idea of committing a violent act such as murder or rape than it is to think of a person as an object or to treat them in a way that is objectifying. Rape is also seen as a straight up explicit thing, like killing, its a the act of doing [insert act] but the attitudes people have towards women can be much more subtle than this. Harassment is often a product of objectification, and its not nearly as horrifying an experience as rape. A woman can shrug it off and a guy can just as easily think its harmless but it has an underlying relationship, the idea of how one perceives an individual.

            Its kind of like racism. You don’t have to think blacks are not people and deserve to be slaves to be racist and promoting racist attitudes doesn’t mean that that is the ultimate result. People’s social interactions are much more subtle and thats important to remember.

            Saying that particular media might be promoting harmful images of women is not implicitly the same as suggesting video games creates violence. We have right now lots of people with problems associated with image and how society views things, we do not have lots of issues with how media is making people commit crimes. Pro ana culture is something that is worth examining with respect to body image and self worth as portrayed by our society’s media, the endless string of shootings in the United States generally isn’t.

    • HadToLogin says:

      There are tons of rapists that are defended by society. Like that loud case of gang-rape in bus in India, where tons of people defended rapists because “they are young and she was dressed like slut”.

      • Urmas says:

        I never said otherwise.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Well, you wrote “Rapists and pedophiles are treated worse than murderers by society”, which kinda irked me for not being accurate.

          Should have write that first comment with quote…

          • inawarminister says:

            Ah, the context here clearly means Western society, which, as a non-Westerner, is true enough for me to agree with his statement(s).
            (No, I’m not Indian. We have no chronic raping problem like they do. Those are awful, I completely agree)

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        That’s also a pretty common argument in the West, even though it’s demonstrated to be factually incorrect that clothing is causally connected to sexual assault (and even then people have a basic right not to be assaulted regardless of their attire – I like the parody someone wrote where a policeman was unsympathetic to a mugging victim because they had valuables on their person).

      • Piecewise says:

        There’s a lot of weird ethno-centrism in this article and a complete lack of understanding regarding the complex ideas of sex and sexuality in Japanese culture. They have some very different and some could say paradoxical ideas regarding sex compared to us, and their pornography reflects this. Yet this article seems to want to judge their ideas from a western standpoint and basically shout down any thing they don’t like or understand as being vile and disgusting.

        I would have hoped for some more cultural-relativism here, rather then going in half-cocked like a feminist Cortez, screaming about the blasphemy of the natives.

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          We are not obliged to turn a blind eye, or give a free pass to apsects of other cultures just because they are foreign. During apartheid we didn’t have to ignore the racism in South Africa, we also don’t have to ignore the rampant homophobia in African countries or Russia, we don’t have to ignore the terrible misogyny in Saudia Arabia and we don’t have to ignore the disturbing proclivities of Japanese porn. Similarly, people from these cultures are not obliged to ignore problems in ours.

          Nobody is saying “Lets laugh at the foreigners, don’t they dress funny”, they’re saying “A disturbing proportion of hentai seems to feature under-age girls, incest and rape”. Some of these things *need* to be shouted down because they *are* disgusting and vile.

          • Piecewise says:

            Yes, lets violently savage natives of those bastard foreign land (Which have higher standards of living, education, and social well being then our own nation at the moment) to our particular brand of morality! HAHA! IMPERIALISM!

            They want to jerk off to underage cartoons (a fucking paradox right there, how can a cartoon be underage? Would it be better to say the cartoon is 18? The fuck sort of world is this?) then who gives a fuck as long as it doesn’t directly hurt anyone? This is the same moralizing that created the disastrous “War on Drugs” and prohibition.

          • Sleepy Will says:

            “Which have higher standards of … education … then(sic) our own nation”

            Teeheehee

            Anyway, to answer you question – I guess the people indirectly hurt by a culture of paedophilia, i.e. abused children are probably the ones who give a fuck. Just saying!

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            False dichotomy. There is a very obvious difference between criticising one aspect of a culture and “violently savag[ing]” them. Ignoring the bad side of a culture and wiping it out aren’t even close to the only options available. What other aspects of other cultures should we ignore? Child slavery in chocolate plantations? The imprisonment of rape victims in Saudi Arabia?

            Also, when a cartoon deliberately portrays its subjects as underage, then it’s underage. Saying “it’s just a cartoon” is disingenuous bullshit. If you* get-off on pictures of underage girls it makes no difference if they’re photos or drawings – you’re still a paedophile.

            * for clarity, this is the “royal you”, not you in particular.

          • gwathdring says:

            @ergates_antius:

            While I agree with most of your points, I disagree with your assessment of fictional media.

            I don’t think sexual enjoyment of fictional media that intentionally represents young people in a sexual manner is cause to break out the pitchforks. Remember, too, that in the specific genre being discussed, young people are often portrayed in ways that, for that matter, make them look of an ambiguous age to begin with. This is complex territory. This is media that can be sexually enjoyable to people with no sexual designs on flesh-and-blood young people, and media which can placate desires held by those who might otherwise struggle with designs on flesh-and-blood young people. This is media which can be consumed by, whether they are the target audience or not, people of an age for whom the young sexual objects depicted *are* of a socially appropriate age.

            Sex is complicated. Sexual desire is a weird mix of mental state and primal physical reaction. Social baggage and interpersonal connection plays a role, too. There are any number of reasons for someone to consume erotic sexual media that appears uncomfortable to others without being part of a larger system of abuse and unhealthy social behavior towards others just as there are any number of reasons for someone to play violent video games without being themselves violent.

            Of course, it’s much more risky when we’re dealing with the reenforcement of fragile and wibbly things like rape culture, homophobia (or it’s yet more insidious cousins–discrimination against non-cis genders, and homo/hetero alternatives from bi-sexuality and beyond), and so forth. Media can reinforce problematic social memes and attitudes much more easily than it can reinforce explicit behaviors. As such, games that deal with race, gender attitudes, sexual discrimination, rape and so forth ought to be especially careful and held to especially high standards.

            But just as violence is a much more explicit behavior that is robustly condemned by society at large, there are many unacceptable sexual behaviors that are quite thoroughly taboo … and engaging in physical sex with another person is an explicit behavior that isn’t easily caused by something like media consumption.

            This kind of assessment is important as we try to understand subversive and taboo media and it’s potential to harm. I’m much less worried about the most extremely violent games or the most sexually transgressive games. I’m worried about the middle ground and the more insidious and successful anti-social memes and tropes and trends and fictions that worm their way into our psyche.

            I’m not worried about games that I or others deem “vile and disgusting.” I’m worried about games that contribute to problematic social systems for which we do not yet have effective countermeasures. I’m worried about games that contribute (relatively) notably to human suffering. I’m not worried about forcing games to comply to my own narrow standards or moral taste. Let alone someone yours.

            This is not to say that virtual child pornography, hentai games or other forms of transgressive sexual media *can’t* contribute relatively notably to human suffering or otherwise cross the lines I’ve alluded to in my post thus far. I’m sure examples of such media crossing those lines abound, if only I had the inclination to look (I do not). But I vehemently disagree that the mere consumption of sexual media ostensibly depicting youth makes one a) a pedophile or b) a problem. I think a great deal more goes into untangling these sorts of issues. Strict and efficient moralism has it’s place, though–indeed I’m using the existence and common-ness of statements like yours *as a justification* for my rebutting deconstruction of those statements. That is a paradox I am comfortable with and indeed a *kind* of paradox (at the least) that we all must be comfortable with if we want to discuss these matters as anything more than the whim of the moral moment.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            You raise some good points and I was, perhaps, overly strong in my use of language.

    • dskzero says:

      Welcome to RPS 2014: where you don’t really review or talk about games as games, but as pieces of politic, philosophical and social commentary.

  35. zarasque says:

    It’s not adult focus, but maybe you should have tried Katawa Shoujo ?

  36. dsch says:

    It’s strange because this seems like it was going to be a thoughtful piece, until you start to talk about the actual game. You seem aware that the Japanese discourse on sex is different when you say you tried to understand it, and you make interesting observations about it throughout, but when you talk about the game itself, it’s immediately back to Western concepts and judgments. The idea of entitlement, for example, seems particularly inapt, when the structure of the game is an extended delay or detour to desire, in which the sexual advances of the player character act like enticements precisely because they are culturally marked as transgressive. The language of entitlement says “this is what you should have, so go get it,” but that is the least sexy thing in the world when desire is about wanting what you can’t have.

  37. LVX156 says:

    “Perhaps the most difficult part of Hentai for me is that teenage girls’ bodies, when naked in these games, are not really the sort of teen girl bodies that seem ready for sex, if you get my meaning. They seem pre-puberty.”

    In my experience this isn’t correct at all. In all h-games that I have played the teenage girls all have big breasts and curves that make them look much OLDER than they are supposed to be.

    • Piecewise says:

      Makes me wonder if she’s ever seen a naked Asian woman. Anyone who has tried to buy asian clothing for women knows that, if they’re not flat as a board and built like a 12 year old buy, they need to boy 2 or 3 sizes larger then normal, because their clothing is tailored for flat chests and no hips.

      Hell, if anything hentai is weird because the women it portrays have little to no physical similarities with the average japanese woman. They’re always built like fertility idols with breasts bigger then their heads.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      This one weirded me out as well. The only way you could possibly think the characters in a game like this look prepubescent is if you haven’t seen a prepubescent girl in ages. They always (well, if they’re not fat) look like sticks, with no curves from top to bottom. (It’s worth noting, then, that a lot of art that is considered “lolicon” actually displays post-pubescent girls with budding breasts and developed hips, and that prepubescent girls are actually a rarity.)

      I am also of the mind that behavior is far more important than looks in any case. Shaming people for liking a certain body type, or – gods forbid – shaming women for having a certain body type is not healthy for anyone involved. On the other hand, shaming someone for going after women or girls who are immature and exploitable is perfectly understandable, as it is essentially criminal behavior that shouldn’t be encouraged. Hence, I find the criticism here doubly perplexing and would prefer it be directed elsewhere.

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Murray says:

      Thank god you wrote more after “In my experience this isn’t correct at all”.

  38. XCrusherX says:

    Sounds pretty boring and standard. But everything needs to have a beginning I guess.

    I’d love to see reviews of novels that stand above the “Get school girls into your bed”-garbage. There are many novels that are considered “hentai” although they are obviously not meant for some wanking hours. Saya no Uta, for example, is one of the most intriguing psychological horror experiences I ever had. Something I have missed since playing Silent Hill 2. Only problem is that it is stuffed with disturbing sex scenes – so disturbing that I can’t even imagine they are meant to be for enjoyment, but rather to display the decay of the main character.
    However, it’s hard to find marbles like this in a genre that is full with cliché dating sims.

  39. Wedge says:

    I’m not really sure what this article is about exactly. It’s like posting musings on Bad Boys 2 in 2014. I guess for people that have never even heard of the genre, you’re laying out what the average, boring, everyday dime-a-dozen eroge is like? But they’re not really interesting or remarkable in any way, so predictably there isn’t much to say.

    If there’s plans to cover something else in the future, then I suppose I understand.

  40. Jenks says:

    “the idea that women ‘gatekeep’ sex.”

    Unmarried women (or married under 5 years even) crack me up.

  41. swimming anime says:

    This article is a good step but is still pretty ignorant of the diversity in visual novels. Da capo is over a decade old and seems especially old-fashioned in a genre that has exploded in popularity in that decade since. Please play some otome or BL game. Dramatical murder is getting an anime adaptation right now and has a very good fan translation and is a super high budget game with a great story and plenty of problematic stuff to discuss for a game that is made by/for women and gives a great glimpse at how otaku fetishes have been absorbed and recreated by girl fans, id highly recommend it for your next article.

    • ChrisGWaine says:

      Cara reviewed Hakuoki for Eurogamer

      • swimming anime says:

        Oh nice, I’ll check it out. Still though, are there sex scenes in hakuoki? I feel like you gotta go all the way with this stuff

  42. TheManko says:

    You should’ve played an edgier game like The Gang Rape Club.

    • steviebops says:

      That’s probably a real thing isn’t it? Goddammit Japan.

  43. steviebops says:

    “centred on thirty-something tall dudes with low voices”

    Literally the rest of gaming, I can’t even, check your gyno-privilege. Oh Em Gee. So Ossum.

  44. IAmCzarAndYouAreNot says:

    “Perhaps the most difficult part of Hentai for me is that teenage girls’ bodies, when naked in these games, are not really the sort of teen girl bodies that seem ready for sex, if you get my meaning. They seem pre-puberty. It always seems shocking to me, because, well, I just don’t think that should or could be hot.”

    Fun Fact: Japanese age of consent is 13. Then again, America has plenty of its share of portrayals of sex between teenagers.

  45. yesterdayisawadeer says:

    Oh, look! An article from RPS about visual novels! Surely, RPS will deliver something more thoughtful than the industry standard “lul japanese are weird repressed kiddy raping sexists amirite guise i like played a whole one game i should know”.
    >this article
    Well, it was stupid of me to hope, I suppose.

  46. Kinsky says:

    It would be pretty great if we could have public discussions about porn or sexuality without immediately steering it into a discussion about what’s offensive to who, or how things are “problematic” (please stop using that terrible term, any opinion it expresses is vacuous at best), or how it somehow encourages a culture that injects ideas into the average male and turns them into rapists. I promise you there are actually places in this life that don’t reflect the struggles of an oppressed group of people. Porn is one of those places. It is pure sexual fantasy, it does not turn people into monsters, or make predators more likely to act on their desires, or materially change culture in any way other than reducing sexual repression. Please stop couching your discourse in the assumption that all things that could possibly offend some theoretical group of people should be pointed out and dealt with. It’s not made for you, most things won’t be made for you unless you’re similar to a great many other people, supply is created by demand, the world does not owe you anything simply because you exist.

    • sharkh20 says:

      I do find it funny that pretend killing is ok, but pretend sexual assault is a no no.

  47. geldonyetich says:

    This article is somewhat on the tip of the iceberg.

    Japanese eroge are big business that encompasses far more than De Capo.
    But then, hentai is but a small aspect of Japanese sexuality. It’s not just porn, it’s porn that identifies itself as being for perverts, because that’s roughly what the word literally means. So if there seems to be something wrong with the hentai you’re looking at, that’s because it was deliberately so. Hentai that isn’t extra perverse in some way is mislabeled.

    Unsurprisingly, genuine hentai is somewhat reviled even in Japan. Most eroge kick things down a notch in the direction of normalcy so they have a larger audience than perverts. Not to mention there’s been actual legislation banning it.

    If you want to get into the big picture with the appeal of eroge, you should probably look into anime girls and how they bridge between cartoon, manga, visual novels (eroge and otherwise), actual light novels, drama CDs, miniatures, and the likes of other niche products such as body pillows.

    What I’m getting at here is that the invention of the anime girl is a truly a force to be reckoned with, one that has been steadily incremented by many artists for decades in an unabashed attempt to capture as many libidos as possible. That’s the real draw of Al Capo. There exists men who have married these characters (of course, the law doesn’t recognize this).

    • Kinsky says:

      I’m pretty sure you’re reading way too much into the genre. Also, morality and perversion are relative, stop talking about this like it’s some niche material for weirdos. Hentai has a huge and varied audience, both in and out of Japan.

      • geldonyetich says:

        Who made you the judge about whether I’m reading too much into things?

        Now, I don’t jive with following a crowd, especially when that crowd is engaged in wrong-minded groupthink. For example, I think “Hentai has a huge and varied audience, both in and out of Japan,” is an attempt at sexual political correctness that has really shaky logical ground.

        What I think happened was that a lot of the Hentai appreciators in the West found it on the Internet and never realized what they were looking at was created to be deliberately extra-perverted, because they didn’t have the cultural frame of reference to know what the word “Hentai” meant. So they came to believe that they have all this whole Japanese culture looking to support them being extra-perverted. It certainly appeals to one’s sense of instant gratification.

        Nope! Surprise! Turns out Japanese culture is largely disgusted by Hentai. That’s why they called it Hentai, which roughly means “pervert!” In its original cultural context from the place it was created, it was supposed to be something you’re shunned for, worse than normal porn. That’s sort of what the appeal of it was. It’s also why it’s getting banned to varying degrees in Japan over the past 3-4 years. So much for having foreign friends that support these liberated new ideas of being perverted, huh?

        Like it or not, being a pervert is not going to become a good thing. Having sexual urges is fine, of course. Expressing them amongst consensual adults, also fine. But that’s not what perversion is. Take a look at the definition of “pervert” in the dictionary and you’re not going to find anything positive there.

        • ChrisGWaine says:

          They don’t call it hentai

          It’s called hentai outside of Japanese, but that’s probably due to confusion over the word H (pronounced ecchi), which (probably) came from the first letter hentai, but in Japanese it’s not used as abbreviation of hentai and has a quite different meaning, without connotations of deviancy.

          • geldonyetich says:

            There’s the word I was looking for: ecchi. For the greater bulk of Japanese sexy stuff. The wikipedia entry on ecchi seems to have a better description of what I was trying to get at.

            I don’t think Da Capo is technically Hentai, although it’s probably called such anyway because the word gets misused so much in the West that it’s virtually lost all of its original meaning.

  48. sharkh20 says:

    Should just go play True Love. An old classic. Has more RPG mixed in. A bit like Persona in that it is a calendar management game. You also have stats that you build up that line you up with certain women. Fortunately most of the female characters (besides maybe one, can’t remember) are “developed.” Unfortunately, on the other hand, the game is from 1995 so all of the art assets are extremely dated. Oddly fun to play every few years for shits and giggles.

  49. Tarzawa says:

    “This isn’t particularly unusual for a Hentai game: most Hentai games are founded on the idea that man is entitled to naked womanreward. Junichi can undertake a cheeky manipulation to see Kotori when she is sick in bed by making the conversation choice to tell her older sister you love her. This might seem innocent if you were a boy, but as an adult playing a video game it seems sinister and intrusive. This is unfortunate, because I feel that in a global culture of victim blaming, objectification, trivialising of rape, and sexual harassment, this genre of game both illustrates (and may contribute to) the idea that women ‘gatekeep’ sex.”

    Can someone unpack this paragraph for me? Junichi told a lie? He doesn’t love or isn’t infatuated with Kotori? Or he told Kotori’s sister he loved the her (the sister)?

    Is it “sinister” and “intrusive” to tell a lie in order to get naked womanreward or is something else sinister? It doesn’t strike me as especially sinister that human beings commonly to tell lies or half truths in order to get laid or sustain or initiate sexual relationships. And the yucky business of sex itself is intrusive, no?

    There doesn’t seem to be a serious link between any of this and rape or sexual harassment. Did Junichi force himself on Kotori? Or harass her?

    Also unclear is the reviewer’s liberal use of the word “entitled.” Given that there is an end game where Junichi doesn’t get to see or feel or have sex with naked woman, how is he “entitled” to that in the game? As to the larger point, I think maybe the author is confused about the difference between how male heterosexuals are sometimes driven by attraction and lust and a mentality where they believe they are owed naked sex or glimpses or naked females or whatever.

    I didn’t watch the whole play through and I don’t know much about this game or Hentai to be honest, but it appears that the point is getting laid, and being disingenuous to get some in student days is incredibly commonplace as well as old as rocks. To my mind this is a reasonable premise for an adult game, no?

  50. 0utf0xZer0 says:

    While I think I understand how Cara came to the opinion, I cannot agree with her take on these kinds of games.

    I like this genre of games because I’ve found moving and satisfying romantic storylines in it I just don’t find anywhere else. Admittedly, my all time favourite -Ever 17 – technically isn’t a hentai game as the sex is implied, but I think that’s enough to make it relevant to this discussion. They were about so much more than just racking up sexual conquests. Seeing the characters naked wasn’t the point, it was a minor aspect of the experience.

    Now admittedly, from what I understand Da Capo (which I’ll admit not having played) is much less plot oriented than those games and is much more about just romancing cute girls. But even there I think many players aren’t actually all that concerned with the sex. For example, I used to read a Singaporean anime blogger called DKellis back in the day, and, well… just read the first few paragraphs of his eroge reviews:
    http://check.animeblogger.net/2007/03/17/nursery-rhyme-ribbons-and-pink/
    http://check.animeblogger.net/2007/03/13/heart-de-roommate-moe-moe-check/

    I imagine that a fair chunk of the audience for games like Da Capo is, like him, more interested into the surrounding frilly cuteness and romance than the sex part. There’s a reason the sex is buried so late into these games, right?

    I understand why these games can come across as creepy and disturbing to some – as Cara noted, some (though not all) throw in lots of flimsy, juvenile excuses for you to see the girl in her underwear or accidentally have intimate contact with her – but I can’t read this article without feeling like only the negative aspects of the genre got much discussion.

    (Also, I can’t help but wonder what Cara would make of the fact many ports of Da Capo – such as the Japanese Android, iOS, PSP and PS2 versions – have had all the explicit sexual content removed.)