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Co-existence of “Porn” and Story (in Eroge)

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So uh, something like a semi-rant here because eroge are subjected to certain generalizations that rub me the wrong way. I tried to write seriously at first, but I got bored and said “to hell with it.” I’m glad English is not my major.

Visual novels are often dismissed as a “dating sim” where you click through a bunch of text to watch the protagonist interact with various characters, strike up some sort of romantic relationship full of high-school anime tropes, and eventually get “rewarded” with an erotic scene featuring the character. Many people are stuck with this opinion of visual novels, and even if you bring up something that doesn’t have erotic content and/or doesn’t focus on romance, their opinion will not budge as long as the presented VN has many girls illustrated in the so-called anime style. That is because, in their minds, something that features multiple girls is already associated with the term “porn game.” And then, no matter how you argue for the story, they will likely return with something along the lines of “Well, what’s the point of clicking through the text if it’s not for the porn?” or “What’s the point of reading a story of a porn game?”. Well, at least this is how a certain friend of mine jokingly reacted when I tried to tell him how great a certain VN about teenagers piloting robots to fight against aliens is.

To these people, the idea that erotic content and a well-written narrative are mutually exclusive. In their minds, these two concepts are unable to coexist. When they think eroge, they can only think of something along the lines of a nukige or AV. When they think well-written story, they probably think of a fancy hardcover book regarded as the best of the classics or something. I’m sorry I can’t name any. I’m a literature failure. Anyway, to these people, if it has porn, then the story cannot be good. Of course there are highly-regarded books with erotic scenes, but they don’t show and visuals and don’t go into extremely explicit descriptions, and therefore aren’t considered porn. I don’t want to further bring up what qualifies as artistic nudity/erotica and what qualifies as porn, but most eroge H-scenes tend to fall into the latter category. Their idea is that if you are viewing a piece of media to satisfy the desires of your reproductive organ, that piece of media cannot satisfy anything else like your desire for a good story or well-written characters. If you are trying to satisfy you lower organ, you cannot be trying to satisfy your mecha-loving heart or your preference for detailed fantasy settings. Obviously I disagree, as anyone who likes scenario-ge should.

Then there’s also people who do see the potential of visual novels as a storytelling medium, but wish for the ero to be gone. They claim that the ero is only there to sell to lonely otaku, and that visual novels would be better off without H-scenes. For certain cases, I’d agree. Key visual novels are usually better off without the ero, because Maeda cannot write H-scenes apparently, and a lot of the ero is simply in the way of the plot. That seems to be the general consensus, and Key is now a company that produces all-ages visual novels. However, not all story-centric eroge can be summed up as so. For scenario-ge with dark storylines, having ero is rather important. For one thing, a large amount of the ero would prove to be important to the plot. Grim backstories generally involve some unpleasant H-scene or another, and without it, some of the horrifying impact would be lost. For example, Muramasa and SubaHibi are both scenario-ge with some pretty unpleasant H-scenes, clearly not for the average person to fap to. Particularly with the  style Muramasa is written in. Another reason that ero is neccessary at times is that the R-18 rating can open up potential for darker subject matter and themes to be explored. Some people claim that a VN has a good story if you take away the ero and it is still complete with the majority of the content unchanged. However, something like Muramasa hardly works if you tried to get rid of its R-18 rating. There are a lot of scenario-ge that work as all-ages titles, but there are also those that would need to be highly disfigured to fit into the requirements for something below Cero Z.

Okay, I can no longer run away from myself and try to sugar coat my preferences with clumsily-crafted arguments. I like bishoujos. I like bishoujos even more when they are well-developed and involved in a good plot. Often times it’s the display of strength in dire situations, or the light-hearted moments in serious stories, or even the cool performance in battles that make me really like a character. And what wrong with wanting a bit of H with a girl you really like, huh? IS THERE A PROBLEM? Is there something wrong with liking cute 2D girls? H with a cute girl who has stuck by my side despite all hardships and with whom I’ve developed a convincing raburabu relationship with is much better than some girl who has 20 minutes of screentime before jumping onto your sword! Is there a problem with wanting ero in a good story with cute girls!?

(Let me take my leave before I derail this even further. I’m sorry. I’ll stick to writing generic reviews from now on.)

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Author: awesomecurry

A future engineering failure who likes RPGs and visual novels. At first, I swore that I would only ever like eroge for the stories and not the ero, but a pure person easily corrupts...

4 thoughts on “Co-existence of “Porn” and Story (in Eroge)

  1. Well said.
    The strange thing is how something like this is paralleled beyond arguments over “eroge”. Today, I tried in vain to explain the premise of Ouran to a friend of mine (who does not watch anime). Of course, that didn’t turn out so well. But I see the same people who enjoy anime (which is a niche hobby, of course) not understanding and not attempting to understand the point of eroges (which is another niche hobby).
    And also, it’s always good to see bloggers derail once in a while~

    • Thanks!
      I think a lot of people who watch anime (at least casually) only know of eroge from their anime adaptations, which are often not that well done (with the exception of a few). The ones that tend to get adaptations are either plot-heavy ones that cannot be fully conveyed in a mere 13 or 26 episode anime, or moege. The latter of which probably wouldn’t appeal to a lot of anime fans who are constantly screaming for more action, sci-fi, and serious plots. They probably think all eroge are nukige or moege with no meaningful stories.

      There are eroge that seem to have transcended the stigma of eroge and broken into the mainstream (e.g. FSN), but I don’t see that happening much recently.

  2. I agree that a lot of VNs try to bring up the eroticism for the sell.

    My big brother -who first introduced me to VN with Ever17- was pretty fervent for playing VN, but now he’s only playing nukige. (I recommended him LitBus and Rewrite, but he refused because they don’t have any ero content.)

    And personally me myself don’t really like ero contents. I even avoided a lot of popular VNs like G-Senjou and Sharin because I really didn’t want to see erotic content at all. Somehow, maybe it’s because I’m a girl, whenever I’m playing eroge I feel like “Oh, so in the end boys just want sex after all” and feel bad about it. (This kind of issue had been brought up by some feminist, but I’m not feminist anyway)

    Well, but now I’m pretty much over it, and I already played a lot of VN with ero scene (even though I’m pretty sure that most of the ero scenes are just extra content which don’t really play a good part for the story.) And I even already played some with disturbing content like Saya no Uta (which I think is very well written, and the ero part definitely is not something unnecessary at all)
    But still, for me the “porn” part is not my first thing to look up when I’m playing VNs.

    Anyway, a lot of my “otaku” friends also don’t like VN. Some already simply categorized every VN as “those porn games” or “eroge”. Too bad that VNs are regarded pretty badly in community, but I guess it really can’t be helped.

    (-sorry if my English is weird-)

    • Even in G-sen, I found some of the ero to be important, due to a certain plot point in the epilogue that requires sex to be possible. Sex is a pretty important part in adult relationships, and I believe some H-scenes do have a certain significance like a relationship upgrade or some of the more traumatizing ones in dark games. When done correctly, it’s not all about giving the player a boner.

      As for ero being targeted to dudes, it can’t be helped. With the exception of some eroge with enough attractive side male characters and a good enough plot to appeal to a larger than usual female audience, the majority are marketed for guys and purchased by guys. As a girl, I don’t really mind because sometimes I like the ero, and a good number of plot-centric eroge have an all-ages re-release (with the exception of those that won’t work without ero).

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