So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

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Voight-Kampff
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So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#1 Post by Voight-Kampff » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:27 pm

http://kotaku.com/5598491/how-erotic-ga ... ned-to-cry

I thought this was an interesting read. I had always wondered just why the high school setting was so gosh-darn popular in VNs. I'm sure there are myriad reasons. But the one offered here would explain a lot.

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#2 Post by J. Datie » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:34 pm

I'm going to start using "memories of a more innocent time" as my reason, too. It sounds a lot better than "I didn't want to design more than one piece of clothing".

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#3 Post by Samu-kun » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:01 pm

I should add a couple of more things.

There's an enormous difference in the way that girls under the age of 18 and over the age of 18 dress/look like in Japan. Of course, school uniforms are necessary for most high schoolers, but the difference also applies to how girls do their hair and what make-up they use. I've heard some commentators mention how Japanese people follow "roles." There's a certain image that school girls are supposed to have and another image that college aged girls are supposed to have. The big caveat here is that I've only heard foreigners talking about Japan's inclination to fit people into "roles" and that the regular Japanese person isn't thinking about that, but rather just doing what's normal or everyday. In general, high school girls tend to keep their hair colours natural (sometimes because of school rules) and pick hair styles that are more technically easier to make (another caveat here though is that hair styling is taken very seriously in Japan, and so I don't mean "showing up to school with whatever hair you had after you combed it in the morning" by this, but rather still rather high end styles like twin tails and hime cuts.)

College aged girls on the other hand more commonly dye their hair, most generally to the colour of caramel, and use more pronounced make up like adding fake eyelashes and mascara. Hair styles are generally much more extravagant, including many styles that exist only in Japan and nowhere else in the world. However, there's a lot of variety here, so fashion at this point depends on a lot of factors. Some girls belong to sports teams and obviously don't do much with fashion, while other girls may easily take up to three hours getting ready in the morning to put everything on.

Moe visual media favors innocent looking girls, so it's more believable to feature high school age girls rather than older girls, just by the way they look. However, I need to add that the internet offers a very, very selective subsection of the anime/manga that's currently available in Japan. The pretty bishojo games that's generally popular on the Internet right now is sold only at specific places in big cities like Osaka and Tokyo and most young people who read manga don't know anything about any specific eroge. I think most people are going to find different meanings of school girls depending on the media. Most people wouldn't really bat an eyelash and wonder what the big deal is if a brand of hair dye or soda uses school girls as a marketing image, but I sure as hell would not mention school girls in bishojo games in public, unless I was in Akibahara or some huge anime shop in the electronics quarter of a major Japanese city. The popularity and acceptance of bishojo games in Japan is wildly overestimated in the Internet. I would say that it's more of a secret, taboo, and thus obviously exciting form of entertainment people can use to distract themselves after a hard day. In fact, the long sections of almost no plot that generally occurs in many a bishojo games that English speaking fans complain about for being fillers is actually heart pounding when played in Japan because there's a "omg... I actually snuck into the 18+ section of the game store and actually bought an eroge.... if anyone catches me doing this, I'm sooo royally screwed..." factor involved. You can seriously make anything exciting if you add an element of personal danger to it. XD

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#4 Post by Counter Arts » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:40 pm

To Heart probably triggered the wave. I heard it was one of the first VNs that featured a slice of life story set in high school and a sad story for one of the characters. Everything else at the time was just sexual romps. Then everyone started to do the "Crying Game" thing of To Heart like Tactics, Key, Circus etc...
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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#5 Post by IceD » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:55 am

Counter Arts wrote:To Heart probably triggered the wave. I heard it was one of the first VNs that featured a slice of life story set in high school and a sad story for one of the characters.
Yes, that's how it was. To be honest it was not they Key, who developed the original idea of an crying game, but Leaf; Key only adopted and mastered this to the perfection. It's a bit of a shame, cause this novel is really underrated now, and many players don't even know about it's existence. It is a pinnacle for what we have today, if not ToHeart we would still be playing (and reading) novels, that some time ago weren't nothing more than mindless sex after sex with cheap plotlines :D

As for the story, I remember it was propably Multi's story path. She was a cute robotic maid from new experimental series, send to main character's school to learn how to behave like a human, but she wasn't good at things she was supposed to do and both Hiroyuki and Akari - his childhood friend, and potential love interest - helped her improve her skills. Her final story was so incredible heart-warming it made people cry.

Yeah... ToHeart was very popular. Popular to the point it's vocal music was made to be sung on karaoke machines, which was quite amusing at those times, not to mention it was really good, compared to other similiar songs.

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#6 Post by sayuri » Thu Jul 29, 2010 5:42 pm

I looked on the website and I thought the "Playing Like a Girl" article was more interesting. http://kotaku.com/5598679/what-i-discov ... e=true&s=i

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#7 Post by Jo'ogn » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:54 am

"That time of junior high and high school is, in particular, a transitional period," Yoshida continues. "There are people who feel they've lost something, who feel that they didn't want to grow up, or didn't think they'd end up like they have," he adds. "The fantasy of returning to the days of their youth makes for an easy place to play."

These games are typically played by adult males, but that doesn't mean they are playing the games as adult males. Most guys have their first crush on a girl at high school-when teenage hormones are raging-so it's not really any surprise that bishoujo games set in high school often feature sexual content.
So the 'average Japanese' person got 'mentally stuck' somewhere around the age of 17?

I - as a German male who is way past his school and even college days - do not want to be a teenager anymore, neither do I find the high-school settings and the 'terror of the 1st kiss' any amusing anymore - not anly longer after seeing it copied and copied and copied and copied and copied and copied and copied and copied in about any avarage anime/manga and/or game. All it gets out of me these days is a "Oh no, not again!" and muttering to myself anticipated cliché lines before they actually happen.

Not to mention that any special magical, supernatural, or mystical ability manifest themselves in some kid >_> This might be a really serious psychological short-coming of the Japanese culture that puts so much pressure on teenagers to excel at education in order to have any future in the working world?!

On the other hand I only recently read on wikipedia that under aged looking character shall have been a last resort of the Japanese porn industry to depict total frontal nudity without the prohibited pubic hair. In other words that whole steering around the law apparently sort of back-fired over the decades...?
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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#8 Post by papillon » Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:55 pm

Your post comes out sounding slightly predjudiced against the Japanese, although that might be a matter of linguistic nuance.

It's extremely common in ALL cultures, afaik, to write stories involving magical power manifesting in the young rather than the old. This isn't some weird Japanese thing.

Fondly remembering your youth doesn't mean that you're "mentally stuck" (in some cases it might mean that you've gotten too old to remember how much youth actually sucks!)

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#9 Post by Lishy » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:09 pm

I think we're overanalyzing this. The reason VNs take place in High Schools so often is because authors love working with the setting. There really is no deep meaning behind it all, in my opinion.

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#10 Post by Jo'ogn » Tue Oct 19, 2010 1:44 pm

papillon wrote:Your post comes out sounding slightly predjudiced against the Japanese, although that might be a matter of linguistic nuance.
Well, if I extensively search anime databases which claim to hold a couple of thousands of shows. And There isn't even a "seinen", "jousei", or "no school" filter. Or if I mange to boil down the results to a mere hundred and still find about 50% are high school scenarios, then I do not call it 'prejudiced' anymore, but the mainstream seems to be that way. But then I might have looked at the wrong places.

I basically marvel at the sheer inflationary amounts of high school based manga o_0; and the rumour that even adults in Japan read/watch them - but then it might be because there is barely any other choices ~q-;
papillon wrote:It's extremely common in ALL cultures, afaik, to write stories involving magical power manifesting in the young rather than the old.
Is it? On the commercial level? In Germany we might be heavily influenecd by US-American Hollywood productions and apart from recent Harry P. I cannot remember many movies that had teenagers in them, unless they were strictly for children below the age of 12! I also recall French and Italian action movies from the 70/80s (Belmondo and Celentano come to mind).

From the late 70s and early 80s I recall dubbed anime like Sindbad, Pinocchio, Kimba, Captain Future, Heidi etc. non of them had schools in them. Granted the main argument is that "Japanese School" (slice of life) shows are very Japanese and therefore "not commercially suited enough" for other cultures.
papillon wrote:Fondly remembering your youth doesn't mean that you're "mentally stuck" (in some cases it might mean that you've gotten too old to remember how much youth actually sucks!)
I referred to the amount of High School shows. There needs to be a market, a desire to watch that stuff. It goes w/o saying that we do not talk about "EVERY SINGLE Japanese person", but an obviously huge market of mangaka, doujin and anime productions. If SEGA shuts down gaming arcades due to declining business, and knowing how tough the anime market is, High School must be the "hit" in Japan. And as it is not a "hit" to me (anymore) I just wonder Why and How?
Lishy wrote:think we're overanalyzing this. The reason VNs take place in High Schools so often is because authors love working with the setting. There really is no deep meaning behind it all, in my opinion.
Or maybe they have less creativity than we might think and they just copy from each others what works? I mean seriously you can tell in the avarage show comes the cooking scene, the "oishii", the "OMG 1st kiss", the "Tsundere", the every lasting "average nice guy", does that never grow old with other ppl, I wonder o_0?
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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#11 Post by Lishy » Tue Oct 19, 2010 6:18 pm

It could also just be people like to write of familiarities and memorable times (Such as school).
I mean, sure it's a bit cliche, but is there not a comfortable familiarity?
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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#12 Post by Samu-kun » Wed Oct 20, 2010 12:21 am

Well, if I extensively search anime databases which claim to hold a couple of thousands of shows. And There isn't even a "seinen", "jousei", or "no school" filter. Or if I mange to boil down the results to a mere hundred and still find about 50% are high school scenarios, then I do not call it 'prejudiced' anymore, but the mainstream seems to be that way. But then I might have looked at the wrong places.
I think this is a common misconception people who see manga primarily through the internet have of the genre. In reality, what you see in the Internet isn't really an accurate depiction of the real manga market in Japan. There are many manga genres that most people outside of Japan have no knowledge of, such as manga about working in an office, about child rearing, flower arrangement, pachinko playing, and sumo wrestling. The reason why none of these manga get attention is actually because of the opposite logic of what you're arguing. In Japan, manga is viewed as being aimed at both genders of all age groups, while in the West, manga is viewed more like comics and so seen as generally having only younger audiences. Because of this, most of the manga from Japan is ignored and we generally see manga that will appeal to younger audiences outside of Japan. I don't really expect a manga about a bunch of middle aged salarymen playing Go (Chinese chess) to really take off in the West mostly because comics here are generally aimed at children. So no, the reason you're seeing manga set in high schools isn't because that's really indicative of the market in Japan, but because that's the only kind that's really popular outside of Japan.

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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#13 Post by LVUER » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:29 am

I agree with Samu-kun. It seems only highschool manga that got exposed or exported to other country. But I'm lucky to get NHK channel and regularly watch one weekly TV show about akihabara culture (game, manga, anime, cosplay, etc).

In Japan, there are extremely wide variety of genre. There are :
-sports (billiard, fishing, boat racing, bowling, golf, soccer, basket, etc).
-cooking (french cuisine, chinese, japanese, to even monster cooking)
-office man/lady. There's even story about one salary man who eventually become a president of a country... and the time it takes is in REAL time, starting from normal salaryman, head section, manager, GM, prezdir, and so on). Or series of manga where the protagonist (always female) is always different and have different job (like office lady, nurse, flight attendant, or even JSDF female soldiers)
-fighting/martial arts/street fighting
-vehicle (street racing, F-1, or even about a boy who could drive anything better than any professionals)
-action/mafia/yakuza
-fantasy (which is not highschool)
-how to raise a baby (yes, a child raising for dummy manga)
-technical manga (about how building bridge, fix car, etc)
-education manga (teach you english, math, etc)
-history manga

Highschool manga only get more exposures because it sells easiest (and it is)...
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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#14 Post by J. Datie » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:50 am

LVUER wrote:In Japan, there are extremely wide variety of genre.
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Re: So that's why high school is so popular in VNs?

#15 Post by Jo'ogn » Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:27 pm

I am still curious: Do the Japanese have sth like a rough statistic of which Genre put how many manga of their kind on market? My Japanese isn't good enough so I rely on 'scanlations'. I myself once helped with a 'scanlation' about ice skating O_o

Just looking at such numbers wouldn't be too indicative, would they?
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