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Anime characters everywhere! (On the 3DS)


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I've been a long time fan and collector of Nintendo's handhelds, all the way back to the original gray brick Game Boy that was my very first game system. I've always enjoyed the diversity of games and visual styles on the big N's portables, from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color to the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS, but this latest generation of 3DS games seems to have a rather odd uniformity in graphical styling.

While I haven't ran the numbers to determine the exact percentages, it seems like a bizarrely large amount of 3DS games (especially in the RPG category) feature anime style characters. The more that I think about it, I actually don't think that there is a single RPG available on a physical cartridge for the 3DS that doesn't have anime characters in it; and they seem to have invaded a wide variety of other game genres on the 3DS as well. I never noticed this at all on the original DS and DSi last generation, but it sure seems like whenever I walk into a game store or look at the new 3DS games coming out on gaming news sites about half of them have anime style characters and graphics.

 

What's up with that?

Edited by Jin
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Really... I have no clue. A lot of people seem to be getting into the whole anime thing around here, when years ago I had no idea what it even was, so my only idea is because people started making the stuff more mainstream to watch and all that (Yeah I know Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z existed and lots of people watched 'em, but they weren't so crazy) so publishers bring those games over here instead of being JP exclusives? I can't think of any better reason, but I'd like to know myself.

 

Also, with stuff on PC like Steam Greenlight and Indie titles being a thing, alongside anime being a thing, it's hard to navigate around on Steam without hitting a good few games that are all anime characters or whatever. I never would see these years ago, the big titles displayed on the front page would be, well, big releases by big companies. Steam wouldn't go "oh here's generic RPG Maker Anime Title #544390", but now it does a lot and it occasionally gets annoying. PS Vita has a good few titles like this too, and when I browse the fairly small selection of Vita games that we have locally about half of 'em are adapted JP titles with your anime stuff everywhere throughout.

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Anime is bigger than ever, with even many North American cartoons taking cues from it. Gone are the days of otakus being the only creatures who could experience it, now even casual viewers who wouldn't consider themselves "geek" will watch anime. Since many of the games coming out for the 3DS come out of Japan, it would make sense that style is more popular. Like many things, this particular style is very "in" right now so it makes sense developers will jump on that. Personally I don't mind it, I like the style.

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The 3DS (and PSV as well) gets a lot of Japanese-made software, relatively speaking, due to gaming handhelds still having a fairly healthy market in Japan. Certainly in terms of software from major publishers, there's a lot more from Japan for the handheld platforms than from the West these days. For example, I was actually surprised when Ubisoft not only released a PSV port for Assassin's Creed Chronicles but even had it released on physical media. There's just so little coming from the big Western studios for dedicated handhelds these days. Thus, the libraries of the 3DS and PSV end up looking predominantly Japanese, which means a lot of manga-style character designs.

 

As for anime as a market, I wouldn't say (in the US) it's bigger than ever, but it has at least recovered from the crash it suffered around 2007-2010. I feel like the anime market was more robust in the early half of the 2000s decade than it is right now, though--however, I admit I don't have any numbers to back me up. Certainly, physical media sales were much better back then, but that's true for all home video sales, not just anime.

 

onmode-ky

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The 3DS (and PSV as well) gets a lot of Japanese-made software, relatively speaking, due to gaming handhelds still having a fairly healthy market in Japan. Certainly in terms of software from major publishers, there's a lot more from Japan for the handheld platforms than from the West these days. For example, I was actually surprised when Ubisoft not only released a PSV port for Assassin's Creed Chronicles but even had it released on physical media. There's just so little coming from the big Western studios for dedicated handhelds these days. Thus, the libraries of the 3DS and PSV end up looking predominantly Japanese, which means a lot of manga-style character designs.As for anime as a market, I wouldn't say (in the US) it's bigger than ever, but it has at least recovered from the crash it suffered around 2007-2010. I feel like the anime market was more robust in the early half of the 2000s decade than it is right now, though--however, I admit I don't have any numbers to back me up. Certainly, physical media sales were much better back then, but that's true for all home video sales, not just anime.onmode-ky

You know, that makes perfect sense. With the handheld market on the decline in the West due to the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming I can definitely see developers trying to save money and reduce risk by localizing lots of popular Japanese games rather than developing larger budget games just for the Western market.

 

Personally I don't mind anime/manga style characters in games (though I do get a bit tired of the sexualization of pre-teen girls that seems to show up in a lot of them), it just seemed odd to me that so much of the current Western handheld gaming market is flooded with games done in this style. Variety is the spice of life after all and there has been a distinct lack of variety in the offerings for Nintendo's portable this generation. Ah well, at least there is a good Resident Evil game so I suppose I can't complain too much. :lol:

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