Friday, February 10, 2017

Dissecting Dagda

"Role-wise there was a discrepancy in the game with the generally transmitted image of a good, food-loving god, so I broadened the definition." -Masayuki Doi, from Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse Official World Setting Collection + Journey Towards the World of Mythology 

This was Doi's initial comment describing Dagda's Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse design. And what was the first thing mentioned? A "discrepancy."

I myself glossed over the juicy implications of this quote while editing Dijeh's translations of the artbook contents, as this was before the release of SMT4A's English version and with it the definitive information about the game's "broadened" version of Dagda. Still, it was right there, plain as day, and from a key member of the development team, no less! So just how profound must the differences be if even Shin Megami Tensei's new main artist has to admit right off the bat that SMT4A's take on Dagda is at odds with the mythological version? 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Jyoji Hijiri: Tragic Asshole

What follows is a response written to answer this ask on Tumblr wondering what I meant by a previous statement, that Hijiri's expanded backstory in the Maniacs version of Nocturne conflicts with other aspects of the game's narrative.

My response got so long that I thought it best to post here rather than Tumblr, for better legibility. But click beyond and you’ll find a complete summary of Hijiri’s cutscenes, the Lady in Black’s extra backstory for him, and my comments! I never thought I’d get vibes of SMT4/A-level shenanigans from Nocturne, but some of the story additions from Maniacs are suspect...and I think I know exactly why.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Nocturnal Revelations: In Review

Now that Nocturnal Revelations: The Legacy of Shin Megami Tensei's First Localization has been fully completed and published on Persona Central, it's time to put it to work!

Not familiar with Nocturnal Revelations? It's an exhaustive look at the best and worst of Nocturne's journey into English, with a special focus on how the choices made over a decade ago have affected the Shin Megami Tensei series' localizations going forward. Short descriptions and links to all three parts are available below! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Eirikr's Personal Canon

Let’s face it, Tumblr sucks as an archive. A shame, as there have been some good questions and discussions over the years and it would be a shame for them to be lost forever to the ether. So what better way to protest the ephemeral nature of Internet content than to make my own archive? 

Below are links to just about every major thing I've written online, including website articles, Tumblr asks, etc. It will be updated periodically as warranted! Right now consider it a work-in-progress (formatting is a little rough), but all the links should be live.

LATEST UPDATE: 4/7/17! The latest additions are in boldface

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From the Precipice of the Garbage Can: Musings About Ann Takamaki 

[IMPORTANT INTRODUCTORY NOTE: PERSONA 5 is happening, so it wouldn’t make sense not to have something to say about it, right? As a matter of fact, I almost did a number of months ago, only you didn’t hear about it because, well, I didn’t think it was quite up to snuff. Intended to be published to Persona Central, the following article examines Ann’s mixed-race heritage and how Persona 5 could frame it within the discriminatory context of modern Japanese culture. (A different article on Nocturne--more my speed--will be available shortly.)

Even though this Ann article is missing that je ne sais quoi (probably due to my lack of passion for the plight of a unfamiliar character from a game I’ve never played), there’s still some stuff I like about it, particularly the conclusion, which forced me to change some of my existing assumptions. Seeing as this is probably the final day anything about its content could even hope to be relevant, it was time to release the article into the wild or delete it forever. Hopefully it’s worthwhile for at least one of you! ]

Of the scant information released thus far about Persona 5, the tidbits concerning party member Ann Takamaki in particular caught my attention: Described as “one-quarter American,” that ethnic split, and the resulting personality trait stereotypes, allegedly make her unable to gel with her Japanese peers. Upon hearing that for the first time, I thought it was a joke. How could a small fraction of a particular ethnicity (especially as potentially nebulous as “American” can be) not only define a character but also elicit such severe discrimination?

Nevertheless, this is an issue that will likely define much of Ann’s early characterization and her persona arc, so it was worth investigating further: Was it plausible or not? Armed with my own contrary experiences from teaching for two years in a Japanese public high school, I went looking for evidence that Ann’s scenario wasn’t just an ignorant attempt to acknowledge the series’ burgeoning overseas fanbase. What I found, however, was at once surprising and, sadly, predictable. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Selected Translations from: Shin Megami Tensei IV Final/Apocalypse Official World Setting Collection + Journey Towards the World of Mythology (真・女神転生IV FINAL 公式設定資料集+神話世界への旅)


Translated by Dijeh [tumblr]

Produced by Eirikr [tumblr] [twitter] ...and YOU 

Thanks to the SMT community on Tumblr, our premier polyglot, Dijeh, was able to expertly translate certain sections of the recently released Japanese SMT4F/A artbook. Precisely, this includes Masayuki Doi's commentary on each of his new demon designs plus a full-length interview with the game's producer, Kazuyuki Yamai, and its scenario writer, Yusuke Miyata. There's a lot to unpack here!

As a bonus, I have meticulously scanned and edited most of the book's new demon artwork, which entails both the official game art AND Doi's unused concepts, the latter of which are as great in number as the finalized designs. Of course, FULL SPOILERS will be out in the open from the start, so only click through or scroll down if you're prepared for them. Please enjoy this exclusive English foray behind the scenes of Shin Megami Tensei IV Final/Apocalypse!

Oh, and did you know that Dijeh translated these materials, not me? Just making sure. :) 

UPDATE 1/28/17: Dijeh translated the profiles for BOTH forms of 4A's final boss. Check them out under their related entries! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Shin Megami Tensei's Identity Crisis (Part 3 of 3): False Reincarnation

by Eirikr J.S. [tumblr] [twitter]

(continued from Part 2) (Part 1 is recommended to read prior to Part 3)

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
might be one of the greatest examples of fanservice ever made. In a genre where “fanservice” usually means crass pandering with skimpy outfits for female characters or other brazen titillation, Strange Journey instead provided its ravenous fans with more of what they already loved about Shin Megami Tensei: creative direction from Kazuma Kaneko, more demons, mature characters, an original setting, and proper apocalyptic atmosphere—a true SMT game in every sense. Neither the limits of the Nintendo DS hardware nor the series’ usual rough edges would suppress Strange Journey’s understanding that the greatest fanservice is respect for its audience.

There’s just one big problem: Strange Journey under-performed at retail relative to other games in the franchise and in spite of being on a platform with a large install base, moving only 127,946 copies in Japan. [1] To add insult to injury, Persona 3 Portable, the second re-release of Persona 3, was released in Japan only a few weeks after Strange Journey’s launch and completely outclassed it with 183,283 in sales. [1] The niche Shin Megami Tensei had always relied on was apparently eroding away.

It was in this climate that development of Shin Megami Tensei IV began. "I first started thinking about [SMTIV] once Strange Journey, which came out October 2009, was finished," said SMTIV’s director, Kazuyuki Yamai. "I've been hearing from fans who wanted an 'official' SMT sequel for ages, and we thought that we were finally at the point as a team where we were mature enough to tackle the job, so that's how it got started." [2] So much like what happened with Persona, a new generation of creators would take hold of Shin Megami Tensei with a fresh, modern approach. But amid changing tastes, how much of SMT’s old identity would have to be sacrificed to bridge the series to the new players it so desperately needed?