Ties between TRPG, anime, and manga
  • I've been wondering about this for a while in terms of how the TRPGs in Japan interact with anime and manga.

    As far as I know the only major connecting is the Record of Lodoss Wars that was the replay based on the creators D&D campaign and then how it was reintegrated into the TRPG canon (so to speak) through Sword World as the Island of Lodoss is an actual place within the campaign world.

    It would be interesting to learn more, especially more recent ones as Lodoss was years ago.
  • Night Wizard got an anime adaptation recently, though from what little I've seen it's not anything special. Of course, I think in general anime studios are diversifying their source material more of late (lots more adaptations of light novels, including the mega-hit Haruhi Suzumiya), but TRPGs are still so niche that they're far on the outside.

    Going the other way, I get the impression that TRPG designers are influenced by anime and such, but not in the same self-conscious way that some Western designers have been, and certainly not in such a way that they feel a need to put the word "anime" in the title or subtitle.
  • Yea I definitely see that.

    While I was doing some research for my project I ran into an old universal gaming system called MAGIUS. Apparently this was used, like GURPS, as a rule base for many games based on anime like Tenchi Muyo, Eva, Martian Successor Nadesico, etc. I think it would be almost strange to see a JRPG without some manga drawings within it.


    Light novels is an odd term, I mean I understand the meaning, like light reading novels, but it seems like it would be better to call them short novels. Though both work.....its just a strange conundrum.
  • Well, "table-talk" role-playing games sounds kind of weird too. It's that whole 和製英語 thing.

    From what I've heard (from Andy) MAGIUS was pretty lame and bland, and it's something of a mystery how the publisher got so many anime licenses, though they're all out of print now. OTOH there is a Scrapped Princess RPG (though IIRC that was also a light novel first), and there was at one point a Dragon Half RPG (which I really want to get some day).
  • I think we should include arguing about 和製英語 as a nono right after flaming.

    I never said MAGIUS was good. I never played it after all, I just said it existed ;)

    It seems more like that they borrow elements from series now rather than licenses, could just be a $$ thing. Although I do think that the concept behind MAGIUS was positive with the whole universal system to bring your favorite anime and light novel heroes to life in new advetures"
  • @neko even:
    The anime/manga influence is more than just apparent, the game designers of TenraWar for example give you a short list of animes and movies that influenced them: mostly mecha-anime like "Gundanm" and "Code Geas" western movies like "The last mohican". So the influence is undeniable I'd say. Then they have a second list that lists books/manga, that had a influence: "Gunnmu" (="Battle Angel Alita"), "Trigun Maximum", "Gone with the Wind",...

    In addition I think that a possible influence of videogames (especially JRPGs like final fantasy) should also be considered. Maybe not when it comes to the visual design of games (there I think anime & manga are the basic source), but when it comes to the game system, which we seem to have left out of the discussion so far. Of course there're the western rpgs and the restriction when it comes to type of dice that play a role in Japan, but when I flipped through my TenraWar book (=SRS) I felt like I was flipping through a video game manual:
    No skills, mostly combat related techniques, gauge meters like in FinalFantasy games, etc.

    Yasuda Hitoshi (安田均), who was involved in the group that produced the replays of "Record of Lodoss War", speaks in the postscript of the first "Record of Lodoss War" novel about the influence that at that time (80's) the new genre of videogame RPGs had on the gerne of novels. It seems to him, that at the beginning videogames, took their stories from fantasy novels, and then themselves influenced fantasy novels. So why shouldn't they also strongly influence the genre of TRPGs, that was just starting in Japan...?
  • Posted By: Pinkys.brainIn addition I think that a possible influence of videogames (especially JRPGs like final fantasy) should also be considered. Maybe not when it comes to the visual design of games (there I think anime & manga are the basic source), but when it comes to the game system, which we seem to have left out of the discussion so far. Of course there're the western rpgs and the restriction when it comes to type of dice that play a role in Japan, but when I flipped through my TenraWar book (=SRS) I felt like I was flipping through a video game manual:
    No skills, mostly combat related techniques, gauge meters like in FinalFantasy games, etc.


    Absolutely. TenraWAR is based (loosely) on FEAR's new "SRS" system, which can best be described as:
    Combine a few classes/levels together to make a character.
    Boom, you're done: Your attributes, 'skills', powerz, gear, etc have all been defined by your classes and levels, so you're pretty much ready to play RIGHT FUCKING NOW OH MY GOD HERE COMES THE FUN HOLD ON TIGHT RAAAAAAAWWWWWWWRRRRR!!!!!!!!"

    (example: I want to make an Elric, so I take Warrior 2, Black Mage 1 for my Three Starting Levels; and that defines my attribute scores, attack and magic scores, starting gear (Warrior 1 gets sword/shield; Warrior 2 gets the same plus a healing potion, etc), starting spels, etc)

    This SRS was pretty much born from FEAR's now bestselling Alshard RPG, a fantasy game which revitalized their company. When they (and by "they" it looks like the brilliant artist Junichi Inoue hammered out the setting/feel, and the brilliant rules-mind Endo Takuji (if I'm remembering my sources) started crafting this game, they had two goals:

    1) Lets make a fantasy game aimed at newbies, that even long time gamers might also enjoy.
    2) Since our world is now ruled by console RPGs, let's really look to the good parts of those games for influence. (easy to set up, easy to play, etc)

    What they came up with was interesting: Instead of the D&D 4.0e route (which, mind you, I'm totally going to buy and play when it comes out!!) of pulling MMO influences into the tabletop with long complicated powers choices and the like, they went the Final Fantasy route, of simple customization, where all your future abilities are pretty much decided for you based on your class (even Final Fantasy X (my favorite of the line) had a "sphere grid" for customization, but the damn thing was set up so you'd pretty much follow one single path for every character anyway).

    So yeah, a few new releases of FEARs, particularly the now #1 selling RPG in Japan (Alshard, for x years straight since its release), are heavily influenced by console RPG asthetics.

    Interesting side note re Record of Lodoss War: The English Wikipedia pages (written by a Japanese dude in the know) stated that it was basically a Replay of a D&D session. "Replay" got mis-translated all this time as "homebrew campaign world" (well, it kind of is), Novel, Book, etc. In actuality, it was one in one of the first lines of Group SNE's attempt to produce Replays (who apparently invented the thing, which is awesome, as something like close to 20% of gamers in Japan (based on surveys) got into RPGs because they happened across a cool Replay book), with Lodoss being a replay of D&D.

    I never knew that Group SNE (famous for being the company nowadays that translates GURPS into Japanese, and one of the big three Japanese RPG companies) were the ones that invented replays way back when. Interesting stuff.
  • There've been are even earlier replays in Japan for the TRPG 『ローズ・トゥ・ロード』 in 1985, and Yasuda also writes in the mentioned postscript, that there were others, yet he claims that the group he played in made the first version of a replay, that was "readable". We should also distinct between replays and replay books, with the first being more like a transcript of the session, and the second one being a novel based on a replay/session. So first Record of Lodoss War was published as a replay and the two years later made into a novel series.
  • I recently picked up some TRPG books. Because I heard that F.E.A.R.s releases have very nice artworks I bought Night Wizard 2nd and a used copy of Alshard.
    Those books almost looked like a Perfect Guide for a video game RPG. Especially the colored pages with the characters. Or the way monster data was presented.

    I also had to smile because the item list in Ryuu Tama looks exactly like from a videogame book. Somehow it just makes sense to present it in this way, wich is known to a potential player. One who will have played some kind of console RPG beforehand in his lifetime.

    I don't think they would call their style of game artworks an "anime style". It's just the standard way comics and pictures are drawn over there.

    I think it's interesting that the Japanese game deigners seem to have realized much earlier that video/computer RPGs are probably the greatest challenger of potential gamers free time. Especially in the set up phase before the play has begun. Of all the games i purchased almost every one uses an archetype system with focussed abilities. And the ones with a seemingly deeper character generation provides plenty of pre-made characters to begin play as fast as possible.
  • Posted By: Diamond Sutra
    So yeah, a few new releases of FEARs, particularly the now #1 selling RPG in Japan (Alshard, for x years straight since its release), are heavily influenced by console RPG asthetics.
    ......
    In actuality, it was one in one of the first lines of Group SNE's attempt to produce Replays (who apparently invented the thing, which is awesome, as something like close to 20% of gamers in Japan (based on surveys) got into RPGs because they happened across a cool Replay book), with Lodoss being a replay of D&D.


    Hey Andy where did you get the info for Alshard being #1 selling in Japan at? and what surveys are you referring to? I'd like to see em.



    Posted By: neko ewen

    From what I've heard (from Andy) MAGIUS was pretty lame and bland, and it's something of a mystery how the publisher got so many anime licenses, though they're all out of print now.


    Surprisingly not long after you posted that I was able to find a copy of 天地無用!in Love MAGIUS.

    heh
  • Where do you get your J-TRPGS?
  • I got most of mine while I was in Japan. I picked up a copy of Role & Roll and it told me all the places that sold TRPG books. I snagged the Tenchi MAGIUS at a Japanese bookstore over here in Honolulu along with the Lodoss REPLAY.

    I know Amazon.jp ships internationally thought. Something like $30 shipping per order or something like that I think.
  • Posted By: ryuuchibaHey Andy where did you get the info for Alshard being #1 selling in Japan at? and what surveys are you referring to? I'd like to see em.


    Ahh, those surveys come from the responses to Kanazawa Naoko's surveys of gamers published in Piyopu Seikatsu 2 (see your Data thread). I seem to recall similar numbers published in some Role and Roll fan survey as well.

    So, all of the main RPG companies publish through or fall under Enterbrain, the giant publishing giant of manga, video games, and magazines (Famitsu, Square-Enix are all subsidiaries). All the companies under them, which is All the RPG companies, get the quarterly numbers on what are the big sellers. Back when I was talking to FEAR, the number one a few years back, by a LONG shot, was Alshard (even more than other FEAR works, or other works like the Japanese D&D 3rd edition works, etc). Since then, new versions of Alshard came out, and based on a feel of how FEAR is promoting and area RPG stores are stocking, I'd wager that Alshard Gaia is selling as well as or perhaps a pinch more than Alshard ff (the second edition), but with Night Wizard second edition either selling about the same, or even more these days post the release of the anime.

    I'll ask the folks at FEAR next time the topic comes up.

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