Based on the adult manga by Midori no Ruupe.
Why are the Japanese so good at producing anime and video games?
Japanese culture celebrates individual creators
Each character drawn and written with the distinct style of their creators
Many top anime productions in Japan start off as manga, a thriving industry in Japan that's gained global recognition.
The interesting thing with manga is it's largely creator driven, creator owned, creator controlled. Take Attack on Titan, it's written and drawn by Hajime Isayama, published by Kodansha.
If Attack on Titan is adapted to a game, movie, or anime, Hajime Isayama has a say on how it's done and gets to profit from it.
Now Kodansha also assigns Isayama an editor to make sure he hits deadlines and give suggestions, and Isayama also hires assistants to work under him, but ultimately it's in Isayama's control.
If he really wanted to he could just say "I am leaving Kodansha and taking my work elsewhere", something uncommon but not unheard of from mangaka*. *That happened to one of my favorite mangaka, Yukito Kishiro.
He was pissed at Shueisha for demanding he censor some of his previous works being re-released so he simply moved to their rival Kodansha.
That is basically unheard of in America. It also helps that manga has a relatively low barrier of entry, anyone with pen and paper can potentially make a manga, and children across East Asia grow up with drawing as a hobby and mangaka as a dream job.
This means that Japan always has thousands upon thousands of individual creators striving to make it as mangaka in school or in between work or pursuing it full time, very few can make it as a professional in this intensely competitive environment though.
It's rather similar to the tournament structure popular in battle manga... American culture focuses on brands You may recognize the brand, but can you name the individuals who worked on it? Contrast that with America's Marvel/DC comics, an environment that is corporate driven, corporate owned, corporate controlled.
Individual artists and writers don't own what they create and can be replaced/moved/fired, the comic they were working on will simply continue with other people.
If Christopher Nolan's Hollywood Batman took a plot element from an existing Batman comic, the writers/artists behind the particular comic get zero royalties because they never owned Batman, they were temporary workers on a corporate brand. Now it's not all doom and gloom with America though, there's publishers who respect creator's rights like Dark Horse, Image, and even Marvel/DC has been more flexible with new takes on existing characters (Felipe Smith's Ghost Rider is a favorite of mine).
Of course there's also the newspaper strips like Peanuts, Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes which have maintained a strong tradition of creator's rights.
European comics also followed the more Japanese trend of creator owned works than corporate publisher owned. But...
in general Americans don't read acual comic books very much, they watch a lot more TV and movies.
Shoot, Game of Thrones book sales alone are probably higher than the combined comics sales in the US.
Even America's 'comic book' conventions are more a vessel for showing off the latest Disney movies and TV shows.
When America's best selling comic book creator, Masashi Kishimoto of Naruto fame showed up at New York Comicon, mainstream American press largely ignored it as they were too busy covering celebrity sightings. Creator-driven culture carries over to video games Every Metal Gear Solid game begins with Kojima and Shinkawa in a room brainstorming and doodling Just as the creators of manga tend to be as well known as their creations, so there are 'superstars' of the Japanese games industry with name recognition.
Hideo Kojima is synonymous with the Metal Gear series he created at Konami back in 1987, and since Metal Gear Solid: Tactical Espionage Action, Yoji Shinkawa has been recognized as the graphic artist behind the look of Metal Gear.
When these two aren't involved in a Metal Gear title, sales tend to drop as the fanbase is in it for their vision, not just the brand.
Their latest game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, also lists every scenario creator, writer, and level designer involved in each individual mission, a strong showing of respect for creators even when they're not the leads. Now recently there's been some shenanigans going on in Konami that has lead to Kojima parting ways with them, but since then Kojima has received a lot of support from his fans online, basically doubled in twitter followers and breaking 1 million: It'll be interesting to see what Kojima does next, and what Konami will do with MGS without the original creator As many Japanese grow up reading manga and perhaps aspiring to be mangaka themselves, there's a strong culture of drawing there.
This carries over to video games, where many beloved franchises are famous for their distinct style and distinct artists. Dragon Quest is synonymous with Toriyama Akira: The 8-16bit Final Fantasy's are synonymous with Amano, and his iconic designs still persist in the latest titles: Tetsuya Nomura started off as a humble debugger, but his artistic talents were recognized and how he's the face of newer series like Kingdom Hearts: The strong art direction in Japanese titles (even their movie tie-ins) has also gone on to inspire hit western franchises too: "Yeah, you know we actually reference a lot from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
We used a lot of their GUIs and the way they did their ship - that was kind of like in some of the early designs for the Normandy.
Our attack helicopters are loosely based off that movie.
There's some great stuff, especially their glowing GUI screens; we used those a lot.
I keep a folder of that stuff and I still actually tell the guys 'just go back and look at that.
Change it like that!'" -Mass Effect Was Inspired by Final Fantasy (The Movie) Now on gameplay in particular... Arcade roots One of the differences in Japanese vs Western gaming culture is the prevalence (and persistence) of arcades.
Many Japanese game developers grew up with visits to the arcade, which tends to have action oriented games of dungeon brawling like Black Tiger to head on versus battling like Street Fighter II.
These are very 'impact' intensive games, how movement and attacking is balanced game mechanically has to be taken in consideration with how it's portrayed visually and audibly. Or how a game experience is portrayed physically too The arcade scene was (and still is) very experimental, leading to a lot of innovation (as well as busts and the occasiona 'ahead of its time' tragedy) in game design and presentation, judged by the democratic process of players popping more spare change into the titles they like. The 'music game' boom was kicked off in Japanese arcades ...then a US company patent their 3rd party guitar controller and locked Konami out of the market... This contrasts to the 'storytelling' approach Japanese titles are also known for, like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.
Those titles were inspired by tabletop RPG's like D&D and early video game dungeon crawlers like Wizardry, but adapted the storytelling conventions popular in manga. You see this convergence of arcade-action and manga-storytelling action-RPG's like Secret of Mana, Zelda, and the upcoming Final Fantasy XV. Japanese women are among the famous creators of top manga (and video games!) Sailor Moon (1992 ver.), a popular anime show aimed at girls in Japan In the US, things like comic books and video games were seen as "boy's activities" and frowned upon for girls to be involved in.
In Japan though, their comic book scene (manga) had already been inclusive to women as an audience and as creators for decades at that point.
Though video games in Japan also started off male oriented, that influence from manga carried over to draw women to the media too. Pokemon appealed to boys and girls alike, and was rewarded with a globally diverse fanbase Even back in the 80's you have Sega's flagship RPG series Phantasy Star being designed with female leads by women like Rieko Kodama: ...while their rival Nintendo publishes RPG's like Romancing SaGa, who's characters are designed by manga artist Tomomi Kobayashi in a manner that appealed to the female (as well as male) audience in Japan: I've written more about Rieko Kodama, Tomomi Kobayashi, and other influential women of the game industry on The Women That Make Japan's Games Industry Great I remember in the 90's as a kid reading a review of Romancing Saga in an American publication, the reviewer found its art to be too 'feminine' and deducted points for it.
It was at that moment I realized that the US games culture at the time saw video games as a "Boys Only" club, and found strict divides between what was "for boys" or "for girls".
It would the dawn of a new millennium plus a decade until I saw US publications really take the female audience in gaming seriously. (if you're interested in gender ratio statistics of Japanese gamers, check out Andy Lee Chaisiri's answer to "48% of gamers are women." Is this statistic flawed, since it encompasses mobile games on smartphones?) Today, you have game directors like Aya Kyogoku leading a team that's over 50% women to create titles like Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 3DS) sell over 7 million to an audience that's majority women. Here's a nice dev chat with Nintendo's Risa Tabata and Aya Kyogoku on their latest titles Lately in US media there's been a strong effort to show "Hey look at all the WOMEN at Comic Con, it's almost as much as men now!", while suspiciously ignoring that American anime/manga conventions have routinely had a majority women attendance for years.
Japan's Comiket is even primarly driven by women creators of indie-published manga. Yet despite offhanded acknowledgments of Sailor Moon and cosplaying “Manga pixies,” nobody seems to pay much heed to the fact that anime and manga fans figured all this out ages ago.
More than 60% of anime convention attendees are female—the majority!—and several bestselling anime and manga series are made by ladies, or feature ladies in the lead roles, or are largely enjoyed by ladies.
Often it’s all of the above.
Isn’t that worthy of acknowledgement? Apparently not. -As “Geek” Culture Assimilates, “Otaku” Remain Outcasts That's touching on the biggest hurdle Japan has to face in releasing content in the west, American media/PR power.
East Asian audiences tend to take what they grew up with for granted, so it's largely American platforms (and agendas if we want to be more tin-foil suspicious) with the loudest voice in the west. On the other hand you have Japanese industry veterans tweeting about the conservatism of US video games culture compared to Japan: Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii-U) has been a topic of debate in the America morality sphere as of late, but Soraya just chalks it up to cultural differences I largely wrote this stream-of-consciousness style so it went on kind of long, I might come back to edit it for readability or make some points more clear.