Why Are Japanese Cartoons So Popular Around the World?

Why Are Japanese Cartoons So Popular Around the World?

Japanese cartoons weren’t so famous once they first started showing up on streaming services. Thankfully, that’s not the case today. You can find these fun shows anywhere you look, and there are many valid reasons for that.

The industry they come out of is vast, and it deals with both regular cartoons and full-on porn. Sometimes they even cross each other’s boundaries and merge, only if you know where to look.

They offer high-quality animation of both the world and characters you can connect to on an emotional level. Don’t believe us? See for yourself and let the studios from the Land of the Rising Sun take you on an unforgettable adventure.

High-Quality Animation

First of all, there are different kinds of high-quality animation. So, it all depends on what it means to you. That can mean the level of detail in cartoons in general, or how everything flows together. In layman’s terms, it’s how pretty the TV series you’re watching is.

We’re not talking about the characters only — the world around them needs to look the part too. There are different kinds of cartoons out there, and some of them can be super flashy. When they are, everything has to move correctly and seamlessly. There’s little room for mistakes.

That said, anime can offer the highest quality of animation you’re able to see most of the time. Some shows look better than the video games we all know and love. That’s one of the main things that draw people to this kind of Japanese animation.

The Industry Is Huge

The popularity of Japanese cartoons warrants the fact that this industry is massive. It involves numerous different studios that dish out their own stories but also work together.

However, we’re not only talking about anime like “Dragon Ball,” “Naruto,” “Sailor Moon,” or “Boku No Hero Academia.” This industry produces all sorts of animation, and that includes anime porn as well. Most of them are censored and cannot be found on your regular TV. Still, they are a part of this industry too.

Not only that, but these two things intertwine quite often. How so? Well, you can often find your favorite characters in anime-inspired hentai parodies or spin-offs, for example. These types of porn are quite famous and on the rise whenever a new anime gains popularity.

However you look at it, the Japanese cartoon industry is quite big, and it should be because it provides us all with high-quality entertainment.

Interesting Plots

These kinds of cartoons have the most exciting plots we’ve ever seen. The Japanese culture itself heavily influences the majority of them. That comes as no surprise because the culture is rich and has a lot to offer.

When it comes to different types of plots, they aren’t only set in the fantasy world. Sure, many of them include things that cannot possibly happen in real life. However, many anime series can be quite realistic and revolve around sports, cooking, regular people’s lives, school days, etc.

If any of those sound boring to you, we urge you to give them a try. Not even the most boring-looking ones are dull, and they will leave you wanting more. That’s what draws people in, and they never look back. Trust us when we say that you’ll become one of those people too really fast if you give an episode or two a chance.

They Are Creative and Fun to Watch

If you’ve never seen an anime, we suggest you start by simply watching a trailer or two. It doesn’t matter what the particular cartoon is about, just take a look at what they look like. You will notice that, besides having high-quality animation, anime is incredibly fun to watch.

The creativity of their makers shines not only through the plot. Sure, it can be quite complicated or light-hearted, but take a look at what the world the authors have created looks like. The colors are vivid, and everything is beautiful and bright unless there’s a war going on.

The character designs are quite incredible too. They can be very detailed, and most of them are very expressive. We believe you can’t see so many different facial expressions anywhere else. That’s what makes anime stand out from the rest — showing all the emotions people experience.


Anime has more than one reason why it’s so popular around the world. It is often incredibly well-made, and it has intricate plots and characters you can connect to on a deeper level. Sadly, people who enjoy these cartoons are usually looked down upon.

Still, we don’t see a reason why you shouldn’t get into them. There are many different kinds of shows, featuring all sorts of different stories that you might like. That means you’re sure to find something that will interest you.

You can also peek at the hentai anime porn available and satisfy your needs too. Whatever you go for, we know you’ll love it.

Other Ways to Use Your Butt Plugs Aside From Anal Prep

Other Ways to Use Your Butt Plugs Aside From Anal Prep

Did you think butt plugs are only meant for anal intercourse? Think again. With a bit of creative thinking, you’ll find that butt plugs can be served with not just the main dish. So dive down and explore all the ways you can utilize this fantastic sex toy.

Are Butt Plugs Meant Only for Anal Prep?

We’re here to disperse the rumors and myths that surround this very versatile sex toy. One of them being that you should only use them as a part of an anal training kit. Here’s why that’s entirely wrong.

Butt plugs can be used for various types of anal stimulation. Not only that, but you can also do a lot of other things with them. Things that have nothing to do with anal. Think about it: can you use a vibrator for something other than stimulating your vagina? The answer is yes! So the same rules apply here.

You can learn more about anal stimulation from this article.

Plugs are awesome prostate stimulators for men and provide the experience of double penetration for women. That said, you don’t need a partner to use one. They make for amazing masturbation buddies too.

What else can you do with them? The truth is — whatever you want. Take your time and explore your options.

The Design of Butt Plugs

We’re sure everyone knows what a butt plug looks like. You’re at least able to create a mental image of it. Regardless, let’s talk about its design.

Butt plugs look a certain way for easier insertion and removal. A good plug design calls for a tapered tip (not pointy!), a good neck-to-bulb ratio, and a flared base.

A tapered tip is vital so your anus can receive and adjust to the plug gradually. Imagine having to shove a spherical object into your behind. It sounds painful (probably because it would be). The transition from the end of the bulb to the neck shouldn’t be blunt either. After all, you’re going to have to take the plug out at some point. You need that to happen gradually.

Such design makes plugs extremely versatile, especially if they’re of the vibrating kind. You can stimulate your other erogenous zones or use them for body massage. Why not? They’re not for one thing only. It can be a useful sexy toy during foreplay to prepare you for the main event.

It’s important to remember to clean your plug thoroughly and never switch between anal and vaginal penetration — no mixing and matching here!

Butt Plugs as a Body Massage Tool

Do you know how wand vibrators came from actual body massagers? The same applies to butt plugs, except in reverse.

The tapered design of plugs makes them perfect for massaging specific spots on your body. You can say goodbye to backache with one of these bad boys in hand. Choose the desired type depending on the kind of massage you need.

We suggest the smaller, bulkier kind for precision and better-applied pressure. It will be like massaging yourself with a rock. Just don’t think about it and go with the flow. You’ll soon find different things plugs are good for naturally.

Tease Other Erogenous Zones

Come on now. This is quite an obvious one.

Similar to any other sex toy, butt plugs too can be used to stimulate other erogenous zones. They can be slightly textured or vibrate, so those are the types that would be best. You can tease your clit, inner thighs, breasts. Whatever turns you on.

Isn’t it awesome knowing that one toy can make your entire body feel amazing? Besides preparation for anal, a butt plug can prepare you for other things too. Getting turned on sometimes takes some time, but that time can be lessened by using a handy plug.

Temperature Play

People used to practice temperature play using wax and ice. With the emergence of sex toys that include different materials, now it’s way different.

Butt plugs can also serve as a good toy for temperature play. Use them to stimulate yourself as you generally would. However, be mindful of choosing the material you’re planning to use. We suggest sticking to metal or stainless steel, as well as glass butt plugs that are available at loveplugs.co.

Metal toys can lose their new temperature properties quite fast, but you can reheat/recool them pretty fast too. Glass, on the other hand, doesn’t transfer heat that well, but it’s great at retaining it. That means it will take you a little longer to heat up/cool down your toy, but you’ll have more time to play with it once you have done it.

In case you don’t have a metal or a glass toy, just make sure yours is suitable for warming/cooling.


Anal toys, in general, are trendy within the BDSM community. But how do butt plugs precisely fit in?

They’re mainly used in dom/sub plays. The dominant one can insert and remove the plug but never let their submissive actually orgasm, for example. That way, they’re establishing their dominance. They can order the sub to wear the plug for a whole day but forbid them from climaxing too.

Plugs can be a part of punishment play as well, where the dom inserts them using little to no lube at all. The point of this type of play is to make the other person feel pain. Otherwise, lube is a must.

The type of plug you’ll need depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to reward your sub, go for princess plugs. If you want to punish them, opt for a ribbed one, for example.

Role Play Sex

Oh, there’s so much room for experimenting with butt plugs when it comes to role-playing.

Firstly, it depends on what kind of role play you’re into. Whatever it may be, a butt plug can be a part of it as a dirty little secret. Or they don’t have to be a secret. Maybe your partner finds it during the play and decides to do something about it (wink-wink).

Another great thing if you’re into some kinky role-playing is tail butt plugs. They look exactly as you would imagine: they have furry tails attached to the base. Tails can be long, short, and represent any animal you can think of. Okay, there isn’t exactly a giraffe’s tail, but you get the point.

We highly recommend tail plugs if you’re into that. If not, choose whatever feels good for you. Be that a fancy princess plug or the classic, simple model.


Now you know all the ways butt plugs can be used for besides anal prep.

If you’re new to all this anal business, you need a butt plug for beginners. But even with the simplest of plugs, you can create a lot of magic. All it takes is some imagination.

Visual Novels: A Cultural Difference Between The East And West

Visual Novels: A Cultural Difference Between The East And West

Visual novels are a largely overlooked genre of games that we actively encourage more people to look into around these parts. While they certainly aren’t for everyone, those looking for an emphasis on character development and story progression often end up finding it in visual novels in a way that most other games don’t quite offer.

While they’ve been published on near every video game console from the N64 to the Xbox 360 in one form or another, visual novels typically tend to be most at home on the PC — an open platform, free of any kind of publishing restrictions. As a result, they’ve been able to explore subject matter like love and sexuality or career and ambition in a way that console games haven’t quite been able to match. Over the years, we’ve also seen several other genres of games incorporate visual novel elements into their own design, the most notable being the Ace Attorney and Persona series in how they emphasize character interaction, development and relationships.

You might be thinking, “But that sounds great! So, what’s the problem?”

Sadly, the problem is that, for all they have to offer, visual novels are largely ignored by the vast majority of the game market, especially in territories like the U.S. and Europe. This is for both cultural and genre-related reasons.

Due to the enormous amount of content out there, it isn’t always easy to separate the good from the bad if you’re looking for a more “pure” visual novel experience on the PC side of things. Erotica is a barrier for many whose knee-jerk reaction is to classify visual novels with sexual content as “porn games,” and one could easily argue that even certain publishers often don’t do a good enough job of promoting why their visual novels are worth playing.

Recently, we talked to John Pickett, head translator of PC visual novel publisher, MangaGamer, to go over just what some of the challenges these games face are, and how they can be overcome. We hope you find it an interesting — or even informative — read.

Lets begin with a quick introduction for people who play games but tend to keep their distance from visual novels. Who are you guys and what do you do?

John, MangaGamer: Well, we at MangaGamer are similar to other companies like Atlus and NISA in that what we primarily do is to localize games from Japan into English, so that those in the western world can experience them as well. What separates us from them is that our focus is on visual novels, a genre of game not as well spread as others here in the west yet. Another difference is that we focus on games developed for the PC and not consoles.

Since our founding in 2008, we’ve offered our games for digital download worldwide through our website, but recently we’ve started offering hard-copies of our games as well through Hendane! in North America, and as soon as we find another distributor, Europe as well.

However, for those who say they haven’t played a visual novel at all before, I have to ask: Are you sure you haven’t? Or do you just think you haven’t because you’re not familiar with the term? A lot of games currently on sale, popular, and so on draw many elements from visual novels, and ones you think might not be considered visual novels are much closer than you think they are. For example, if you took the FPS out of Mass Effect, what would remain? A 3D visual novel. If you’re trying to pursue a relationship in Dragon Age or Fable, then you’re already doing something very similar to what most visual novel players do.

Something we talk about a lot is the relatively limited market for visual novels outside of Japan. It’s a similar situation to what Japanese game developers face in general in the U.S. and Europe. For traditional games, this is an easier issue to deal with because there are so many different genres available to catch people’s attention with. What do you think visual novels need to attract attention?

Well, seeing as our goal is to try and expand and cultivate this western market for visual novels, this is a question we’ve been trying to find an answer to for a while.

I think one of the biggest hurdles visual novels face, and this is also true to some extent for Japanese developers in general, is that we ask, nay demand, that the player actually read. I know, if you’re reading this interview you’re probably thinking “Why is getting people to read considered a hurdle?” but I would instead ask you to think about how many people didn’t bother to read this article once they saw it was more than one paragraph, or how many people just skimmed over this paragraph you’re reading right now.

Visual novels and most Japanese games do not offer the quick, easy, and instant satisfaction of “BOOM! HEADSHOT!” that tends to capture a large portion of the western audience. The sad truth is that this is very much a cultural issue.

I’m sure many here who have taken the time to read this can list plenty of people they know who never bothered to read more than they were required to in school, or even people who can’t read very well. There’s not a whole lot of pressure in America to be able to do so, so it becomes okay to not read. If most people you know aren’t reading, there’s not a whole lot of incentive for one to do so.

In contrast, the opposite is true in Japan. Those who can’t read are under great pressure. Reading is encouraged nearly everywhere. If you get on a train to go to work and want to look at an ad, you don’t see a pretty picture barely related to the product, you see a wall of fancily designed text telling you all about it. In Japan, adults aren’t expected to watch the Daily Show; they’re expected to be current on the latest issue of Nikkei, Japan’s weekly business magazine.

To put this in a more game-related perspective, go back to my previous example of Mass Effect without the FPS. How many in the west do you think would still play Mass Effect if the ability to run around randomly shooting aliens was taken away? Probably very few. In Japan, they might have even gotten more purchases had it never been there. Or look at Catherine: would its sales be worse for a lack of that adventure/puzzle game? I don’t think it would in Japan, but in the west, greatly so.

So I think what the west probably needs most right now to start luring interest into visual novels are those with more of a gaming element to break up the reading. Games like 999, Ace Attorney and so forth are showing there is a demand for these games even if relatively small at present, and introducing people to the idea that you can still have a great game that requires a lot of reading.

As for our end, our upcoming release Koihime Musou has a gaming element, and we currently have two games we hope to bring in the future with one as well. We’d also like to look into more as well, but we don’t want to forget that a gaming element isn’t the part that makes a visual novel great either.

Let’s say there’s someone that’s into visual novel-like games on consoles. Games like Catherine or 999 or the Ace Attorney games. What do you think PC visual novels have to offer them?

Well, first I would have to point out that those playing 999 or Ace Attorney are already playing visual novels. Admittedly, Catherine appears to be adding a rather extensive action/puzzle element to the game, but the sections where the story develops — the conversations with the other characters, the choices you will have to make as Vincent, and the way they then affect the ultimate outcome and progression of the story — all of that is a tried and true visual novel. Likewise, anyone enjoying Disgaea Infinite is already enjoying visual novels, and anyone enjoying the Agarest War series is enjoying a visual novel with an added SRPG element.

What visual novels on the PC have to offer is more of what people who enjoy such games already find enjoyable. If you’ve ever spent hours trying to max out someone’s Social Link in Persona, then congratulations: you’re already entranced with the process of completing a heroine’s route in a visual novel.

For anyone who likes playing a game to experience the rich story, or character interaction, then visual novels are right for you. Visual novels, as the term suggests, are often primarily text with the added touch of on-screen visuals, voices, and other elements found in movies, anime, and games, but not typically of bound novels. If you’ve ever found yourself playing an RPG and wishing you could just get on with the story instead of grinding your way up a few more levels, visual novels are great for you. There are a lot of great stories told through visual novels, and quite frequently they’re even adapted into movies, anime, and more because of how great the experience can be.

However, while the story, character interactions, and text are certainly the most important elements of visual novels, they most certainly do not always stop there. Just as Agarest War adds in a SRPG element, there is a fair deal of visual novels for the PC which does so as well, and in fact, one of the games we’re looking to bring over in the future does something quite similar. Just as Ace Attorney adds a detective/investigative element, we have one game which also does so that we’re hoping to bring over.

There are a lot of people that tend to think of porn games the minute they hear of visual novels because a lot of them do tend to cover sexual subject matter. If you’re a consumer, how do you separate the unintelligible erotica from the richer, more story or character-driven experiences?

People often say “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in this case you more often than not can. The “unintelligible erotica” as you call it is pretty obvious from the title. If you’re buying something called “My Sex Slave is a Classmate” or “Conquering the Queen” from a page with an “Are you over 18?” gateway, then you really ought to be able to guess what you’re getting.

Even if the title doesn’t make it obvious, we try and make it clear which is which on our website: if under the sample CG section you see a lot of uncensored intercourse, then you can pretty much guess what you’re signing up for when you click “Add to Cart.”

Titles that aren’t like that are going to be your more story or character-driven games with only maybe one or two adult scenes per heroine. Granted, there are some games which fall at varying points of the spectrum, so you might find a game about in the middle in terms of story and adult content, but if you’re ever unsure, there’s a healthy community of fans on our blog, forum, and elsewhere who can surely help answer your questions and lead you to whichever type of visual novel it is you’re looking for. I know I frequent those two places myself to help anyone who’s interested in the genre.

One of our editors recently decided to try Higurashi out on the iPhone. It was his first visual novel. He was kind of taken aback by the game at first, but he couldn’t put it down after that. What do you personally think is a good game for people to start out with?

A lot of our fans frequently recommend Higurashi or Kira Kira. They’re both really great works, and it’s no surprise why they’re the most frequently recommended. Those who are coming from anime rather than video games tend to pick up Shuffle! or Higurashi from what I’ve seen, namely since those are two popular anime series in the first place.

Aside from those three, I honestly tend to ask what kind of story a person likes before recommending a visual novel to them. I’ve used this tag a few times on Twitter before, but it’s a very true statement: #theresanerogeforthat (note: “eroge” stands for “erotic game”). No matter what your tastes, or what it is you want to see, there’s almost certainly a visual novel out there that will provide what you want. Granted, it may not yet be available in English, but we’ve tried to offer a variety on our catalog too, and this variety will only continue to grow as time goes on.

If you’re just looking for an introduction to visual novels, and have an interest in Japan though, I think our upcoming exclusive will be a great one for people new to the genre to try. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of details to offer on this title right now, but it looks really good to me and I can’t wait to talk more about it once we can.

Experience the Comfort of Sex Chairs

Experience the Comfort of Sex Chairs

If you’re obsessed with all sorts of naughty activities or are having some difficulty in getting comfortable, you definitely deserve a royal sex throne! Today, we’ll describe the benefits of owning a chair crafted explicitly for sex. That includes anything from sensual lovemaking to hard and intense fucking! We’ll also show you some of the best types and reveal how they can help in various situations.

So sit back, and let us describe to you the comfort of a sex chair!

Sex Chair Description

Multifunctional sex furniture is incredibly popular with couples who love to experiment and intensify their sexual activities.

Generally, sex chairs have an ergonomic shape, although they come in an endless variety of types. What’s more, some are made specifically for a particular king, for instance, spanking. Of course, you can try new sexual positions and experiment while using regular chairs or other furniture. Heck, you can even be the master of Kama Sutra positions.
However, a real sex chair is surely a sight to behold!

Historically, erotic chairs were first designed as a type of sexual aid for pregnant women. An early example goes back to the rule of Edward VII, who once ordered a special chair for group sex. Nowadays, you can find any type that suits you in stores or online. That includes erotic sofas, sex pillows, naughty queening chairs, or even custom-made pieces.

Who Uses Sex Chairs?

Nearly anyone can use this type of intimate sex furniture! They will boost your experience as well as provide more comfort, endurance, and flexibility. Moreover, sex chairs are often used by those who have a physical disability. That way, they offer support and assistance.

So if you thought that love chairs are only for filthy fetishes and shocking BDSM kinks, think again! Couples of any sexual orientation can try them. They offer anything from comfort to wild, intense, and satisfying sexual experience.

When it comes to fetishes, chairs can be a discreet and compact solution. They can handle any kind of rough sex and domination, and you can use them for various forms of bondage, flagellation, spanking, and nearly any sort of fantasy you might crave. As you can see, sex chairs are incredibly versatile!

Sex Chair Purpose

Erotic chairs can provide comfort during masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration, and much more. They offer many advantages that you may never get with a regular bed, sofa, or lounger.

Primarily, their ergonomic shape will allow you to have longer sex. It can support your body and weight at an incredibly comfortable angle. That means receiving or giving pleasure will be much easier and much more sensual!

Furthermore, special chair angles can truly help in case of some issues, including premature ejaculation. It’s also beneficial for women who have difficulty in reaching climax. When it comes to physical endurance, love chairs will allow you to use less effort and energy. Combined with extra support and a comfortable angle, you can use them to transform your sex life.

Depending on the type, erotic chairs can provide comfort during all sorts of sex positions. They are especially convenient for girl-on-top action. Specialized models can also provide support for just the right body parts and allow for deeper penetration.

If you’re having issues with pain or physical discomfort during sex, this kind of furniture will surely help! With reduced weight and pressure, your body will no longer distract you from focusing on an intense orgasm! And as stated earlier, pregnant women can also use them for comfort. Also, if you’ve got an injury and are recovering, a sex chair will not prevent you from having fun.

On top of that, owning a sex chair can make you feel incredibly naughty, especially since no one will know about it.

Types of Sex Chairs

So what about the size and cost? Some people believe that love chairs are simply too bulky or expensive. However, this is not the case at all.

As mentioned earlier, love chairs are available in such a wide variety. You will find nearly any type or size that will suit your preferences and your space.

Overall, the most common model is the standard tantra chairs. This kind resembles a stylish piece of furniture similar to a chaise lounge or sofa. It is very inconspicuous, and it will blend in with your living room. Many people simply refer to them as a sex sofa or even a yoga sex chair. It’s also possible to find inflatable variants for easy storage.

Another great option is an oral sex chair or stool. These small stools are made with two metal frames and two straps that you can sit on. The straps are spaced out in a way that exposes your genitals from the bottom. That will allow your partner to reach you from below while lying down. This type of sex stool is simply fantastic for cunnilingus. Plus, they are great for solo masturbation. You can use a sex toy (e.g., suction cup dildo) and slide up or down as it penetrates you from below. If you love intense ass licking and queening, a stool is undoubtedly the best choice.

And while the variety is too great to describe, other types include sex loungers and ergonomic sofas. You can also get a small fuck bench for BDSM, a shaped fiberglass chair (arm and foot support), as well as tons of custom-made options. Sex swings are another popular type of furniture, although they perform a slightly different function.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, almost anyone can benefit from a sex chair. We’ve shown you some examples of their use and outlined some of the most popular types of erotic chairs. Which one was your favorite? Get one today, and it will change your sex life!

The Bluffer’s Guide to Hentai Games

The Bluffer’s Guide to Hentai Games

What a brilliant sales pitch: “Feeling lonely and bored?” asked the email newsletter. Of course I am! I’m sitting at my computer, aren’t I? I’m reading a newsletter about import games, aren’t I? Well then, the email went on, why not check out some newly available English-translated Japanese Adult Dating Games? Why not indeed? Up until now, if you wanted to feed your Hentai videogame fix you’d have to brush up on your kanji and search out seedy game stores in the side streets of Akihabara. Not any more. In recent years, companies such as Peach Princess and JAST USA have been making English-language eroge (as it’s also known) available to American gamers. Now, Play-Asia is making them easily available to us European lot.

But should we actually care? Is there any more to this heady blend of anime, videogames and porn than antique game mechanics and mildly titillating drawings? Eurogamer decided to find out.

The first part of our research took us to Play-Asia’s selection of Hentai Games. A brief warning that the pages ahead contain ‘Nudity’, ‘Strong sexual content’ and ‘Explicit pictures’ confirm that we’re in the right place. Further confirmation is provided by the selection of games on offer – a selection that also provides some pretty startling insights into the genre. There are currently some 50-odd titles available in translation at the moment. And they are pretty odd. Picking titles at random demonstrates pretty clearly that even this limited selection of hentai games caters to the broadest extremes of sexual proclivity: there’s transexuality (Yin-Yang – X-Change Alternative); gothic horror (Animamundi – Dark Alchemist); historical romance (Enzai – Falsely Accused); human sacrifice (Bible Black: The Game); submission (Absolute Obedience – Zettai Fukuju Meirei); mild incest (Hitomi – My Stepsister) and much, much more. Certainly more than the odd cross-dresser in Guilty Gear, or Dead or Alive’s bikini babes.

According to Wikipedia, Hentai is a Japanese word that can mean ‘change of shape’, ‘abnormality’ or ‘metamorphosis’. As well as all this.
There’s also a wide range of play mechanics, from simple dating games, where you’ve got to impress the girls enough to get them into compromising positions, to choose-your-own adventure style flowchart games, where you simply have to make choices at key moments to propel the sexual narrative along. And if, for some reason you’re stuck without a Windows-compatible PC, you can pick from a choice of interactive DVDs, which all play in a regular DVD player. And if for some reason you’re stuck without a pair of hands, you can chose those games that include a ‘hands-free’ mode (whatever that means).

And talking of hands, the next part of our research obviously demanded a more hands-on approach. Three titles were duly selected and ordered. And received, although only one of them in plain cover, presumably because only one of them – Casual Romance Club – was adorned with 12 pictures of naked girls on the box.

Saving that for last, the first game to be subjected to the sort of rigorous scrutiny that you’ve come to expect from Eurogamer was Critical Point. Originally released in 2002, the game is essentially a choose-your-own adventure with 24 different paths scripted by Mobile Suit Gundam scriptwriter, Kenichi Matsuzaki. It’s illustrated by partially-animated and still images, and accompanied by a sort of lounge bar jazz soundtrack. Rather helpfully it can be played in an easily alt-tabbed window, and for anyone who isn’t a fan of Matsuzaki-san’s work, the game’s creators have helpfully included a ‘quick’ mode, which speeds through the story so fast you don’t have to read it.

Hentai games are known by a variety of terms, including H game and Eroge.
More patient gamers will appreciate the science-fiction take on a police procedural that plays out pretty normally until the lead character, an amputee undercover investigator, takes a tour of Moon Base D-02 and this happens: “The crew woman called Tsuei turned away from her panel and stood up. She started walking towards me. Before I knew it, she opened her uniform and revealed her breasts.” The murder-mystery plot goes on to encompass sex with an older woman, female marines running round in fishnet tops; a scatterbrained assistant who accidentally falls over and flashes her panties etc. etc. There is one, frankly troubling scene, however, which incorporates sado-masochism and rape fantasies.

Which leads, of course, to the serious argument about whether games such as these are likely to dehumanise women, or encourage sinister patterns of real-life behaviour. While you might imagine such an argument to be a lively and complex one, the game’s readme file boils it down pretty succinctly (some might say too succinctly, given that the game’s amputee undercover investigator describes one of his amorous encounters thus: “I was consumed with anger and lust. I didn’t even really hear her screams of protest”). Yep, the creators of Critical Point are pretty clear about the beneficial effects of playing these sorts of games.

The readme file makes clear that it’s all just a fantasy: “We would like to state clearly that we oppose abuse or violence against any individual or living creature regardless of gender or other distinguishing personal traits… Furthermore, we assert that sex is an important aspect of adult relationships, and that sexual fantasies shared consensually between adults can enhance the emotional bond of a such relationships.” It continues, with what might be considered a bit of an understatement: “the completely fictional sexual relationships portrayed by this game’s artwork do not always exhibit ‘safe sex’ practices, nor do they necessarily demonstrate the full range of sensitivity, communication and intimacy necessary to sustain a real life interpersonal relationship.” Nevertheless, for anyone who would like to base their real life interpersonal relationships on a videogame depicting domination and rape fantasies, there are some real-life sex-tips: “Always protect yourself and others when engaged in sexual activity, and always follow the principles of ‘safe sex’. Always treat your sexual partner(s) with consideration. Never use force to get what you want, whether your partner is a man or a woman.”

Hentai games are then further broken down into sub-genres, such as Yaoi for boy on boy; Bishojo for pretty girls, and so on.
By comparison, the sexual activities on offer in the other two games chosen for research are more moderate, although the gameplay is probably more interesting. Transfer Student was originally released in the same year as Critical Point, and depicts the story of a young man drifting aimlessly through college, fantasising about women. It features a similarly branching narrative structure to Critical Point, but it’s enlivened by the occasional freeform section in which you can stare at women in a bid to become so aroused that you can retire to the men’s room to fantasise about them. It’s also enlivened by the occasional bout of sex with your step-mother, depicted, once again, with partially animated stills.

Casual Romance Club, however, is the premium pick of the pack. Released at the end of last year, it is, according to the blurb, “the first dating-sim game released in Japan to feature a full English translation.” It also features 12 pictures of naked girls on the box, and comes with a handsome hardback manual containing character biographies and plenty of advice, such as: “Relationships for only making love are wrong because some may want you to be responsible for it.” Indeed, in spite of the naked girls on the box, this is a world away from the amputee rape in Critical Point. It’s still, ultimately, about having sex with women but just like in real life you have to be willing to put in a bit more groundwork.

The narrative sees you participating in the Casual Romance Club, a school club formed “to offer a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere where love and romance can be discovered and explored without fear or failure or rejection.” Which means you’ve got four weeks to persuade your chosen girl (or girls) to get their kit off – and there’s a girl for every taste here, from the bookish bespectacled Sidney, to ko-gal Clare, or the worryingly youthful Amanda, or even the mature charms of Sophie.

Interestingly, we shied away from tentacles. Perhaps it’s not our thing?
It doesn’t save unlocked images to a permanent gallery, as Critical Point does, but it is, in every other way, a more sophisticated experience. The game is a fairly typical dating game in which you have to woo your chosen honey by saying the right things. It rather artfully resembles an internet chatroom, with various windows offering different types of information, and at the key moments, the more prurient parts of images are tastefully pixellated out. Indeed, considering the plain-cover packaging, Casual Romance Club is remarkably coy, with most girls taking a lot of persuading to get to bed, and most of the pixellated-out sexual activities falling well within the normal bounds of taste and decency. For porn, anyway. There’s even a parallel translation function for people who’d like to hone their language skills to graduate to playing these games in their original language.

Despite the differences in narrative, sexual mores and gameplay between even these three games, there are undeniable similarities: the bizarre internal logic; the conversational non-sequiturs that lead suddenly to sexual activity; but mostly the sense of mild disappointment. Judged by the standards of conventional porn, especially of the sort that’s now freely available to anyone with an internet connection, these games demand a monumental amount of patience. Sure, those sickos who get their kicks by googling for amputee rape images might find their thing in games like Critical Point (a google image search for research purposes only turns up a Final Fantasy XII pack shot and a picture of Jean-Luc Picard, for example). But for the rest of us, it’s difficult not to feel underwhelmed when the only reward for patiently plodding through acres of mundane text and/or stultifying game mechanics is one or two semi-animated cartoon pictures.

So in the end, this experiment doesn’t reveal any startling insights into Hentai. These games are pretty much as you’d imagine interactive anime porn to be: more amusing than arousing, and not very entertaining as videogames. But then if you can imagine interactive anime porn, why would you need any of this stuff?

Beginner’s Guide To Visual Novels

Beginner’s Guide To Visual Novels

What exactly is a Visual Novel? Why should I care, and why are you talking about them? The Visual Novel Genre is a confusing genre, especially if you have no idea what it’s about. I’m here to try to help through my Beginner’s Guide to one of my favorite genres in gaming, Visual Novels.

Before we actually get started, there is one thing I need to clarify; I’m talking about Visual Novels as a genre, not about dating sims. NOT ALL VISUAL NOVELS ARE DATING SIMS. Dating sims are a Sub-Genre of Visual Novels, if that. A lot of them aren’t even VN’s. Get it? Ok, good. Let’s move on.

What is a Visual Novel?

A Visual Novel is genre of video games (I like to think of it as an interactive storytelling medium, as there isn’t really much gameplay), that’s similar to Choose Your Own Adventure books and Adventure games from the 90’s. As the name implies, Visual Novels are text heavy, but they usually have music, voice acting and stills of characters to help you get absorbed into the story. The biggest gameplay aspect of a Visual novel is choices; The player has to decide what the protagonist does in the form of options. The options can lead you to different story plotlines called routes, or they could just lead you to a bad end and you’ll have to try again. Visual Novels without choices are usually referred to as Sound Novels or Kinetic Novels.

Why should I care?

Visual novels are a very flexible genre, storytelling wise. Visual novels have very little restrictions, story wise, as they can go on and have a ton of exposition without making a book HUGE, they have the flexibility of multiple routes, they don’t have to comply with arbitrary rules set by TV companies and using the genre to mess with you. The Fate/ stay night Visual novel is a good example of this, as it’s 50+ hours, had 3 separate routes, and having Shirou as a narrator can skew your viewpoint. The flexibility leads to many visual novels to have amazing stories. Because of the excellent stories from this genre, many popular visual novels get anime adaptations. Some of the most well known adaptations are Clannad, Fate/stay night, Steins;Gate, and Higurashi. Some of you may be asking, why would I play Visual Novels if I could watch the anime? There are many parts of the visual novels that do not get adapted, and sometimes the adaptation is kinda bad. Also, there are some great visual novels that have not been adapted, like Phoenix Wright, G-Senjou no Maou, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and Tsukihimethat I’d recommend you check out.

What is it like to play a Visual Novel?

How exactly do Visual Novels play? It’s like watching a really long anime, or reading a book that’s kinda animated. It’s easiest to describe as a mix between a book and an anime. On average, they are usually much longer than the anime counterparts, which give them time to flesh out the characters and the world. Usually, Visual Novels have branching routes, where stories have some similarities (known as a common route), but overall could be considered their own stories (ex: Heaven’s feel in Fate/stay night). In any Visual Novel, usually you have to go on a path and stick with it. When you stray away from the route you are in, you’ll probably run into what’s known as a BAD END, where something horrible or pointless happens. Also, i’ll insert the OBLIGITORY EROGE WARNING here; Many Visual Novels are Eroges, meaning they have NSFW content. Many have censorship patches, or none of this content at all, but if type of content is not up your alley, be prepared.

How would I get my hands on a Visual Novel?

The fact that Visual Novels are not popular in the west means that most of them are kinda hard to get over here. Many companies do not translate and make English versions, so you are pretty much have to rely on fan translations. In the past, most VNs never got English versions, but as of late, there’s been a trend to localize VNs, so if you know that the game has an official US release, I’d go and support the publisher on their site, or places like rightstuf. Also, if the Visual Novel doesn’t have sexual content or has a Non-H version, there’s a good chance you can get the game over at Steam. If not, you’ll have to torrent them, and the best selection of VNs I’ve found is Mofumoe, after Fuwanovel stopped hosting torrents. It’s important to note that many Visual Novels do not find their way outside of Japan, which can be depressing if you found game or series really like.