Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

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Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#1 Post by endless_67 » Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:45 pm

I'm writing a VN right now set in Japan, with nearly all of the characters being Japanese and "speaking" Japanese. It will be in English, but I'm finding myself naturally writing in Japanese terms, such as honorifics and whatnot. I'm going to have a glossary as well explaining any Japanese terms (otaku, kawaii, moe, etc).

What are your opinions on this? Should I just stick to English? Should I use Japanese characters or romanji?

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#2 Post by Enigma » Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:55 pm

It's a style choice, some people like honorfics and the like others don't. I'd say go for it if you want to.

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#3 Post by HiddenCreature » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:18 pm

Keep it simple and stick with English. I've seen stories set in Japan where while the language is English, the characters are supposed to be speaking Japanese. It makes immersion difficult because I know the way English speakers communicate, isn't the same as Japanese speakers. And trying to translate certain things, like their use of honorifics, isn't clear or easy in English. This "style," is just English with a few Japanese terms, and I know the only reason writers use this is because they're not proficient in Japanese; if they were, they'd simply make the game in two different languages.

So again, just stick to English, it's easier, simpler, and faster to pick up. Nothing wrong with including certain things like honorifics, but don't make a huge habit of using too much vocabulary players will have to look up to understand the story.

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#4 Post by YonYonYon » Wed Oct 28, 2015 2:49 pm

If you're writing in English, please stick with English.

Reading something like "She was so kawaii" is atrocious. There's an English word for Kawaii and it's Cute. There's no need to use Kawaii at all. This is important, because some people don't know these terms and using glossary all the time just to undertsand what's going on seriously breaks immersion.

Honorifics work more or less well because there's no English equivalent.
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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#5 Post by endless_67 » Wed Oct 28, 2015 5:37 pm

Thank you all! :)

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#6 Post by Yolo400 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 4:38 am

Honorifics are also genuinely cute.

I think some nouns are acceptable too, for when the English would seem ridiculous, the Japanese lingoo can give it new depth and an alternate and fanciful sound (Though not "go fetch some Mizu from da well plzz") - stuff like Tenshi, Sato and so on. You wouldn't call someone "Autumn Mountain" now, would you?

Hmm, depends who you're marketing it to, I suppose. Though exploring options and making the coolest sounding and proper hybrid would be awesome and impressive.

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#7 Post by MoonStar » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:24 am

Worst thing that could happen and i dont think you want is getting labeled as pretentious and a weaboo for using japanese honorifics and japanese words mixed with english. Personally I think if you really want to do this do it BUT have a check box where the user can pick which way he wants it full english or mixed. Of course that means writing some lines twice but its best solution to fit both sides.

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#8 Post by Yolo400 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:39 am

MoonStar wrote:Worst thing that could happen and i dont think you want is getting labeled as pretentious and a weaboo for using japanese honorifics and japanese words mixed with english. Personally I think if you really want to do this do it BUT have a check box where the user can pick which way he wants it full english or mixed. Of course that means writing some lines twice but its best solution to fit both sides.
I'd love to be labeled like that. :lol:

I mean, if you be yourself long enough, people are sure to categorize you one way or the other, and it's almost more pretentious to label someone as pretentious for liking something than it is to like a particular style of writing in itself. :p

But hey, I think having translations that cover it all are cool, too. It's just a lot of work for a relatively small audience.

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#9 Post by MoonStar » Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:49 am

Yolo400 wrote:
MoonStar wrote:Worst thing that could happen and i dont think you want is getting labeled as pretentious and a weaboo for using japanese honorifics and japanese words mixed with english. Personally I think if you really want to do this do it BUT have a check box where the user can pick which way he wants it full english or mixed. Of course that means writing some lines twice but its best solution to fit both sides.
I'd love to be labeled like that. :lol:

I mean, if you be yourself long enough, people are sure to categorize you one way or the other, and it's almost more pretentious to label someone as pretentious for liking something than it is to like a particular style of writing in itself. :p

But hey, I think having translations that cover it all are cool, too. It's just a lot of work for a relatively small audience.
Sadly that's true ppl have yet to understand individualism and feel better and easy to just lump a whole lot of ppl in the same category. Reminds me of how i lumped as a big religious person back in 4th grade cuz i liked religion (by like religion i dont mean i was a fanatic just liked the lessons it gave .....it was before i went and learned of the other side :) ) and was studying karate also. Ppl would always find it hard to categorize me and say they dont mix well as if i should care or was a taboo if i did both lol.

Same thing is now for liking anime mmorpgs pc programming and bdsm :) i dont fit in neither otaku neither nerd neither gamer category :) I'm me.

Sry for going way off topic there but i would say be careful what you wish for in this day you dont really want to get labeled like that + it would have great impact on your products image as well then again for some ppl like me they would want to buy it just to see what all the fuss and hate is about. But still thats a double edge sword it cut the opponent but if your not careful you can get cut in it your self as well.

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#10 Post by Yolo400 » Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:16 pm

MoonStar wrote:
Yolo400 wrote:
MoonStar wrote:Worst thing that could happen and i dont think you want is getting labeled as pretentious and a weaboo for using japanese honorifics and japanese words mixed with english. Personally I think if you really want to do this do it BUT have a check box where the user can pick which way he wants it full english or mixed. Of course that means writing some lines twice but its best solution to fit both sides.
I'd love to be labeled like that. :lol:

I mean, if you be yourself long enough, people are sure to categorize you one way or the other, and it's almost more pretentious to label someone as pretentious for liking something than it is to like a particular style of writing in itself. :p

But hey, I think having translations that cover it all are cool, too. It's just a lot of work for a relatively small audience.
Sadly that's true ppl have yet to understand individualism and feel better and easy to just lump a whole lot of ppl in the same category. Reminds me of how i lumped as a big religious person back in 4th grade cuz i liked religion (by like religion i dont mean i was a fanatic just liked the lessons it gave .....it was before i went and learned of the other side :) ) and was studying karate also. Ppl would always find it hard to categorize me and say they dont mix well as if i should care or was a taboo if i did both lol.

Same thing is now for liking anime mmorpgs pc programming and bdsm :) i dont fit in neither otaku neither nerd neither gamer category :) I'm me.

Sry for going way off topic there but i would say be careful what you wish for in this day you dont really want to get labeled like that + it would have great impact on your products image as well then again for some ppl like me they would want to buy it just to see what all the fuss and hate is about. But still thats a double edge sword it cut the opponent but if your not careful you can get cut in it your self as well.
You're absolutely right and not at all off-topic, because all of your comments on individuality indirectly end up helping the OP understand that there is an audience for an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary.

Some people get quite punch drunk off of hearing all the moe-moe stuff and it's important to recognise that there is a market for it.

There is also a lot of people who are sick of it, and they are very vocal, and people who do like it have quietened down because of the "hate" from people who do not like it at all.

Essentially, no one likes to be ridiculed, but a person should live their life their way, and make their games their way and let sales figures and gross feedback funnel into their future projects.

The idea of being put off going down a path before you've started... nothing would ever get done, as there's always someone who wants to tell you not to do it! :lol:

But hey, being labelled usually says more about the labeller than about the labelled.

A short story of my own to put it into perspective, I used to ridicule someone in school for all sorts of strange things he did and he'd get really upset. When I look back on it I'm not proud of it, hell, I'm not even sure what motivated me to be so mean, but, I'm pretty sure he had a much harder time because I was mean. However, I was popular, and now, I've nothing, whereas he is running a business successfully and has a wife and kids and plenty of strong and long-standing friends. I got my just desserts and it's fair enough. He carried on doing those things anyway and is happy now. I'm also happy, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't back when I was making his life a misery. Yeah, making his life miserable was ''fun'' - but I could have had way more fun actually engaging and befriending him.
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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#11 Post by Rossfellow » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:58 pm

Having Japanese terms (or any secondary language) in english work does not necessarily make it "Weaboo", lest we discredit every novel that dared use Latin or French or German... Or Dwarvish.

Nonetheless, it still has to be executed well. While there are no rules on how to mix english narrative and other non-english languages (That's a matter of preference), there are things that cause knee-jerk reaction from readers, whether or not they are familiar with the second language presented (Japanese in this case). I can't represent everyone, of course, but here's mine:

1: Misuse
Improper use of words or signs of the writer's lack of understanding of the word/ language. Misspelling words, using words in wrong context, or saying that "Fuketsu" is a two syllable word.

2: Misappropriation
Proper grammar and usage but used unnecessarily. It breaks the flow and smashes whatever narrative you build prior to it. "This is our last stand. We shall show them our loyalty to the Emperor. We must win this tatakai!"

3. Overuse
Let this kawaii idol lady explain herself.
https://youtu.be/jsvpLj_fba4?t=2m22s

I have my own list of "Things I'd apply Japanese/Non-english to", but maybe next time.
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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#12 Post by truefaiterman » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:15 am

I'm not into putting Japanese vocabulary for the heck of it. However, if it DOES make some sense with the setting or atmosphere, it's fine for me (Think about the Persona series). Take in consideration that it's really hard to find the right point: if you use it too little, it'll feel unnecesary. If you use it too much, it'll become hard to understand and nonsensical.

For more defined opinions... Rossfellow pretty much said everything I could say in a way better style I could have written :P
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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#13 Post by myrt » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:21 am

I reckon any of the following Japanese/other language "words" should (always) be fine…from a ex-manga/light novel translator’s point of view…

-Proper nouns, like names of people, places and organisations…
-Regional specialty or traditional products, particularly food, clothing and cultural objects
-Honorifics, ones that attach at the end of a name or override it.
-Story-specific nouns if English sounds weird, like "oni" even though there is a translation.
-Other untranslatable words or short phrases, like “tsundere” or "tsundoku" or other short poetic lines. (must be short!!)
-Very common, well-known sound effects - "kyaa" or "nyaa" or “fufufu”

I'd say “otaku” could fall under the untranslatable words category, but "kawaii" does not. “Moe” is negotiable.

Whelp, that’s my two cents and sorry for bumping this thread up again. ^^;

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Re: Writing an anime-style VN with Japanese vocabulary?

#14 Post by sjgriffiths » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:24 pm

It can become quite a fine line when dealing with concepts and untranslatable terms. For instance, words like 'otaku' and 'tsundere' have by this point become loan words just like 'karaoke'.

Also, even in the case of 'kawaii', you could argue the use of that word is essentially on-loan to describe the Japanese socio-aesthetic phenomenon itself...

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