Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

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Woody Alien
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Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Woody Alien » Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:24 am

OK, maybe the title of this topic isn't entirely accurate, what I meant is: when you were playing the game, were there any moments when you forgot that it was a multi-national production made for free, and thought it was an actual, authentic Japanese production, translated to English?

For me, there was one during Emi's path when she and Hisao were visiting the tomb of her father at the graveyard and, all of a sudden, she started a tirade about her favorite color and how people kept mistaking her favorite color and her personality. I can't really explain, it's just it seemed to me one of those "things" common in Japanese media that us Westerners really can't "get".
Also, the portrayal of the school festival felt very authentic to me, but maybe it's because my knowledge of such events only comes from anime and manga.

What do you think?
Last edited by Woody Alien on Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by dunkelfalke » Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:46 am

Well, almost all the time I had the feeling that Katawa Shoujo was translated from Japanese. In fact, sometimes I even unconciously translated it "back" to Japanese in my head. Only a few things threw that feeling off: the too extensive vocabulary, lack of translation errors and, just some things that Hisao says that clearly only work in English. In fact Hisao at times reminded me of Guybrush Threepwood in the way he thought about things :mrgreen:
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Hitman3256
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Hitman3256 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:36 am

Nah I never forgot, mostly because I was looking at anime characters all the time, and they're rarely ever based in any place other than Japan

There were some interesting things I did find that said otherwise...
On scenes at the track with Emi, look at the field in the back and you'll see goal posts similar to the ones used in American football, though I may be mistaking it for some other sport, dunno. I think it shows on any scene at the track, if not then watch Emi's act 2 cinematic, it's definately there.

Another thing is on Shizune's path when you visit her house. On the scene where Hisao is in the guest room, look at the portrait on the wall right above the bed. Who is that wedding couple that don't seem japanese at all? :P
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AnotherKatawaShoujo
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by AnotherKatawaShoujo » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:43 pm

Woody Alien wrote:BEWARE: BIG SPOILERS FOR EMI'S PATH
I'm hesitant to correct other people on the internet (and I'm by no means a moderator), but spoiler tags might be a good idea for the spoiler-y parts of the original post. Only a suggestion!

As far as the topic goes, no - not really. Sometimes I found myself forgetting that we weren't in America, but I think that's because the devs did a good job of making the game relatable and people tend to relate to what they're familiar with. For me, America is that familiar place. So it's not as if it was "not Japanese enough" or something else strange - I think they did an excellent job with getting the culture to come across. I could see how some users could mistake it for having come out of Japan directly, but I didn't have that experience personally.
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by encrypted12345 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:07 pm

dunkelfalke wrote:Well, almost all the time I had the feeling that Katawa Shoujo was translated from Japanese. In fact, sometimes I even unconciously translated it "back" to Japanese in my head. Only a few things threw that feeling off: the too extensive vocabulary, lack of translation errors and, just some things that Hisao says that clearly only work in English. In fact Hisao at times reminded me of Guybrush Threepwood in the way he thought about things :mrgreen:
Yeah, I can agree. Seriously, who uses the word din in their internal monologues? Especially in Rin's route, some of the rarer vocabulary used took me off-guard.

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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Blackknight1239 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:32 pm

encrypted12345 wrote:
Yeah, I can agree. Seriously, who uses the word din in their internal monologues? Especially in Rin's route, some of the rarer vocabulary used took me off-guard.

I do, actually.

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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by GIRakaCHEEZER » Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:48 pm

There were a lot of figures of speech that I think would only work in english (especially in Lilly's route, with constant prodding at phrases like "I see"). Also everyone always calling everyone by their first name.

So I never really did forget that it wasn't.
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Titus » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:26 pm

Because some characters appear to be white europeans, no I did not forget.

Though Shizune and Rin strike me as looking most Japanese out of all.
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by dunkelfalke » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:33 pm

GIRakaCHEEZER wrote:Also everyone always calling everyone by their first name.
That happens often enough in translations. Always funny when it is full voiced in Japanese and you hear what they actually say.
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by GIRakaCHEEZER » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:35 pm

dunkelfalke wrote:
GIRakaCHEEZER wrote:Also everyone always calling everyone by their first name.
That happens often enough in translations. Always funny when it is full voiced in Japanese and you hear what they actually say.
Oh well that actually brings up a point that helps me remember it's not japanese: no voice acting.

Not that I can blame 4LS for not going to the effort to get voice actors (let alone japanese voice actors). Would have been a lot of work.
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This seems to be sort of common in sigs here so...
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by NoOne3 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:38 pm

encrypted12345 wrote:
dunkelfalke wrote:Well, almost all the time I had the feeling that Katawa Shoujo was translated from Japanese. In fact, sometimes I even unconciously translated it "back" to Japanese in my head. Only a few things threw that feeling off: the too extensive vocabulary, lack of translation errors and, just some things that Hisao says that clearly only work in English. In fact Hisao at times reminded me of Guybrush Threepwood in the way he thought about things :mrgreen:
Yeah, I can agree. Seriously, who uses the word din in their internal monologues? Especially in Rin's route, some of the rarer vocabulary used took me off-guard.
You know a good translation, when you can see some figures of speech changed into ones from the target language, with similar meaning AND additional conotations. If it seems natural, it could have been written in it's current language, or just translated well. Problem with Japanese VNs is, those are fan-translated most of the times, with various effects.

Still translating a piece emerged from entirely different culture might be extremely hard, and a seamless one might be impossible. Japanese naming practice itself (with -sans, -senpais, -chans and -kuns) is enough to give a headache, not to mention the whole relation issue expressed grammatically. That's why it is common practice for fansubs in anime to give a short lecture in wide cultural background, instead of trying to implement it using elements of target language/culture.

From my experience, in every VN I was dealing before, and also Anime/Manga/JRPG, I could find some elements clearly showing different cultural background for the whole thing. Usually it was concerning:
a) Food. Eating scenes in VNs and Anime looks sometimes awkward to me, like too much attention was paid to the food. Also making meal for someone turns the whole thing into case of:
b) Strange relation of women towards men. Like, a certain degree of servitude is implied. If female character doesn't follow it it is quickly made clear it is her personal trait, and is noticed and commented by other dramatis personae. Even if the male hero eppreciates it, narration is quick to needlesly justify it.
c) Typically Anime/Manga tendencies to fall into each other in very strange ways, and for physically dubious reasons, and tendencies to catch a cold at the mearest hint of getting wet by rain, or otherwise.

And while points a) and c) can be clearly observed in KS plot, it seemed to be played somewhat differently. For the whole time following KS I was waiting for the awkward moment, when my connection to the plot will be derailed by some culturally strange element, but every time such thing might have happened I felt nudged in the ribs by the path-writer with a whisper: "and that's what a Japanese would put in here, see?" and then the whole thing was made in a totally familiar way.
It might of course be, that I made it up for my own sake, since I was priviliged with the knowledge from the beginning, and might have been looking at everything certain way, but the compelling impression remained.

So, to sum it up, even face to face with clearly japanese cultural reference I was remained KS is not Japanese.

And Encrypted, I just found "din" used in translated version of Yume Miru Kusuri.

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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Bara » Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:53 pm

Nope, never had a moment of thinking it was a Japanese VN translated into English. While it did deliberately use the style or themes common to many Japanese productions, the fluidity of the use of the English never gave the impression that this was not written by Westerners. Hell, it was because of the fluidity and depth of expression which writing KS in English allowed that I enjoyed it so much. I appreciate the story, it resonates with me and I respond to the cues on a deeper level because the writers were fluent English speakers and they used Western concepts to flesh out their characters.

I suspect that no matter how well the Japanese translation team does on their project; a common reaction about KS from Japanese players might be that the characters at times appear awkward, or their reactions in some social situations are "off" somehow. Oh well...

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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by GamerJM » Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:26 am

AnotherKatawaShoujo wrote:
Woody Alien wrote:BEWARE: BIG SPOILERS FOR EMI'S PATH
I'm hesitant to correct other people on the internet (and I'm by no means a moderator), but spoiler tags might be a good idea for the spoiler-y parts of the original post. Only a suggestion!

As far as the topic goes, no - not really. Sometimes I found myself forgetting that we weren't in America, but I think that's because the devs did a good job of making the game relatable and people tend to relate to what they're familiar with. For me, America is that familiar place. So it's not as if it was "not Japanese enough" or something else strange - I think they did an excellent job with getting the culture to come across. I could see how some users could mistake it for having come out of Japan directly, but I didn't have that experience personally.
In all honesty I was going to say something similar. Though I think in works of realistic fiction that don't take place in America I often forget that it's not taking place in America just because that's where I live. Nothing in KS seemed that out of the ordinary in America. I suppose the biggest instance of me forgetting it was taking place in Japan would be when Hisao talked about English class, since the first time he mentioned it I thought of an American High School English class, and not learning English as a second language.

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Woody Alien
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Woody Alien » Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:36 am

AnotherKatawaShoujo wrote:
Woody Alien wrote:BEWARE: BIG SPOILERS FOR EMI'S PATH
I'm hesitant to correct other people on the internet (and I'm by no means a moderator), but spoiler tags might be a good idea for the spoiler-y parts of the original post. Only a suggestion!
No, you're right. It's just I didn't want to see huge black blocks in the post, but it's better this way since you can see where to continue reading.
Hmm... I don't think this post was such a great idea, it only shows my ignorance in VNs.
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Re: Did you sometimes forget that KS was not Japanese?

Post by Nekken » Thu Mar 01, 2012 9:11 am

Briefly, at a few points. Then again, I'm not a native, and it's my understanding that while the devs certainly did a lot of homework, there are still some aspects of the game that stick out rather glaringly to natives (for example, the menu at the Shanghai, which offers some things not typically found in Japan except at places that cater specifically to foreigners).

I think this is part of why KS got a much more negative reaction in Japan than elsewhere. There's this idea in modern conflict-theoretic sociology that using conventions from a culture you were not born into is equivalent to mocking that culture. I disagree vehemently, but the idea is out there, and it does drive some people's reactions.
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