Minori is no more

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#26 by kiru
2019-03-01 at 23:47
@24: Don't confuse companies with brands. For example, Eternal is just a brand and a brand works very differently. That's also why they aren't bankrupt yet. The brand has pretty much stopped doing anything though.
#27 by sanahtlig
2019-03-02 at 02:53
@23: He's looking to explain a wider phenomenon. But yes, it makes sense that if you can't attract new fans (because your games have poor visibility in the new marketplace), and your settings/protagonists aren't maturing along with your existing fanbase, then that's a recipe for a gradual loss of relevance--whether the company is minori or any other that's failing to adapt to the changing market.Last modified on 2019-03-02 at 02:54
#28 by trinity
2019-03-02 at 14:50
I'm a huge fan of older minori games such as ef and eden. However, for the past few years I've been disappointed with the titles they released. They all just seemed like really bland high school romance games with heroines that all carry around a set of water balloons in their shirts. Still, I'm sad to see the studio close down completely. Maybe the staff will move on to a new studio and release games similar to Ef again...
#29 by namiultedjapan
2019-03-02 at 19:42
Did they lose the writer for Eden* and Ef? Those were masterpieces in my opinion. The change in their works was strange.
#30 by freshift
2019-03-03 at 04:16
#29 The two main writers for the ef series and eden* left the company only in 2014 and worked on three titles that came out after the Supipara disaster. They did their part in the company's change in direction.

The change in minori's direction can solely blamed upon the spectacular failure of their Supipara 'trilogy' and subsequent bankruptcy crisis. 'trilogy' because if I recall correctly the series was supposed to be a trilogy but the first chapter flopped so hard that the company faced a financial crisis and so they had to cancel their original release plan.

Part of the problem was their development practice. Recall that their official company motto was "We always keep minority spirit" - and indeed they never got out of it. Minori's development cycle pretty much depended on the success of previous one; for example, the development cost for the first ef game was twice as much as haruoto and, as admitted by minori themselves in an interview with BugBug, ef's flop would have spelled the end of minori.

Fortunately for the company, the ef title was very successful. It was also this time around when the Rapelay controversy impacted the industry, so minori went with all-age experiment with their next title eden*, which was also a commercial success for the company. With the Supipara 'triology' they went full all-age but bam, this time it was an epic failure and soon the company faced a near-bankruptcy.

So the company changed the direction to survive and adapt to the market.Last modified on 2019-03-03 at 04:17
#31 by sakurakoi
2019-03-03 at 09:16
So the company changed the direction to survive and adapt to the market.
and they simply and utterly failed in that. While one should of course not just judge a book by its cover, the recent titles just seem totally bland and that is already what impacts sales more than just some tag search in stores which just underline that the titles had nothing really going for them. After all, Slice of Life, Comedy and Drama should still be tags that are frequently searched for but what if a title does not really classify as either? Even if the works still have those tags, people can still infer how much of it is there and in which direction it goes.

Minori's development cycle pretty much depended on the success of previous one; for example, the development cost for the first ef game was twice as much as haruoto and, as admitted by minori themselves in an interview with BugBug, ef's flop would have spelled the end of minori.
To put it simply, they were greedy, arrogant or just plain stupid to play the business version of double or nothing and while it may not be literary either, since at least some copies should sell, it is still dooming for a company/brand in another way: Inconsistency. Of course one would think that improving quality, variety and content should be good, it is, for customers but just ask yourself:

You found a company which made a great work, their greatest one by far which means all other works are worse... would you really like to buy the others? The answer is certainly, maybe, which includes maybe not, for the other works are at best judged by one's own standards, while having at least gained exposure, brands actually want to bet on that their works will sell even after many years.

For companies/brands and fans it is actually better if quality does not change too often. While milestones are neat indeed, they lose their meaning if each new work is supposedly another one. Having several works in a certain era makes them comparable and as such they sell each other even past that era but if each work is a gamble, far fewer will take it. Additionally we all know that certain folks get addicted to ever increasing stimulation, because it is ever increasing and for serious genres it obviously won't go well if you have to write the most horrendous plots.
#32 by essword
2019-03-03 at 12:49
I haven't played any of their newer games, so I can't comment on the quality. But from an outsider's perspective, all of their post-2012 games seem to blur together. To quote #4, they all look like "games overflowing with H content with all kyonyuu heroines".

And as mentioned earlier, minori blocks me from visiting their website because I'm a filthy foreigner. So I have no means to educate myself on what their products are, thus forcing me to stay ignorant as a consumer. They were digging themselves deeper by doing that.
#33 by freshift
2019-03-03 at 13:47
#31 Nah, natsuperu was great, for a company that was in a near-death (unlike the latest one - nbkz himself early in this year declared that the future of the company depends on the sonokemo's success), and yorino was the finest adaptation of minori's 'minority mind' into the market trend.

I don't recall such a level of deviation and inconsistency in their post-Supipara releases. But, if indeed there was any, I suspect such inconsistency may have emanated from nbkz's guiding influence since Mikage and Kagami's depature; at first he took a laissez-faire approach (tsuminohi). The result wasn't good. So in the next title he began to involve himself in scenario writing at an increasing frequency (torinoline), which turned out to be good enough, and then in their lastest and last work, he practically wrote scenario by himself (sonokemo). This time the result wasn't good. The general atmosphere continued to resemble minori's old style, more-or-less, but maybe his guidence worked to exacerbate inconsistency and general drop in writing quality, well, I don't know. At least I can tell you his influence in the days of haruoto, ef, and eden was widely considered positive.Last modified on 2019-03-03 at 13:51
#34 by kiru
2019-03-03 at 14:03
I think at the very least ever since Trinoline they were in deep trouble. Trinoline is a great example of nobody caring about the writing and story. You'd think that if they plan to do a story, where androids and their concepts are important, they'd actually inform themselves and try to do a good job. They didn't. Not even remotely. So for Trinoline to be enjoyable, you first of all need to have absolutely no idea about androids and never be suspicious about Trinoline being perhaps not right about what it is doing. I'm sure there are a decent amount of those, especially those who are only there for the boobs. But that only goes so far with the budget they put into their thing.

Minori probably just needed to be honest. Half assing everything, when it comes to writing, is just too expensive. If they'd do high quality nukige, maybe it'd have worked, as a lot of the resources needed to tell the story would no longer be necessary. If they'd done high quality scenario-ge with actual effort put into the story, maybe it would've worked because less resources spent on lewd content and the scenario actually being good enough to have people enjoy it. They tried to go the middle way.
With their most recent title, once again you see people being not very happy about the scenario, nor being happy about the amount of adult content. I don't think that was the reason why it didn't sell. After all Minori went out of business only a few days after release, meaning essentially not enough preorders and day 1 sales. Those however aren't really based around the game's overall quality, but rather the trial (that doesn't tell you anything about total amount of adult content or how the story is overall), and Trinoline. But it's not like Trinoline was that different there, right?

edit: Wasn't their first release after Supipara almost a nukige? Short, tons of lewds, not too much story? That may've been their formula.Last modified on 2019-03-03 at 14:05
#35 by boukyaku
2019-03-10 at 07:42
I would say RIP minori but due to their anti-foreigner policies, and certain opinions of the president/director on those policies, they get zero sympathy from me. Perhaps next time the staff should take their head out of their asses and adapt to growing GLOBALIZATION.

I liked ef and eden. I recently finished Trinoline and it was a complete disappointment. The physical proportions of the heroines was a huge turn-off (yes the giant breasts). The writing/lines/story/progression/execution were god awful. Someone should replace the nakige tag with nukige, because that's what it felt like.

I had other minori titles on the wishlist but removed them all.

On another note, just because someone has the money to buy all the VNs they want, doesn't mean they have the time to read them. I regret reading Trinoline as I could've spent the time on reading something much better.

So, which company is next? August? Alice Soft? age?Last modified on 2019-03-10 at 07:43
#36 by erohatasensei
2019-03-10 at 12:42
>ever dying

dude what?
#37 by freshift
2019-03-10 at 13:38
This 'anti-foreigner policies' narrative among weaboos needs to go. It's really getting old and I have no idea how such a story gained traction, maybe because this kind of distortion makes some certain people in the West feel better, but you're better than that and you do know that's not what actually happened.

Remember that back in the days when minori closed down its homepage to 'foreigners' this industry was facing a mass extinction brought upon by an international coalition that included various media outlets like CNN and political groups such as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Equality Now was mobilizing real rape victims to launch a crusade to dismantle the industry, while Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party was pushing a ban for 'violent' video games and animations. We're talking about the pressure that almost had succeed in banning not just your well-known topic of 'loli' but 'school background', 'depiction of rape', 'sexual activity in office', 'group sex', and on. All thanks to these smart Western jackasses who smuggled Rapelay from Japan and tried to profit themselves in Amazon.

The industry survived partly because the 2009 general election killed political momentum and will to institute drastic measures, and also partly because the industry cowed to survive from the global firestorm the Rapelay fiasco had created. Many valuable lessons were gained from the fiasco and much more stringent rules and regulations were instituted upon by themselves. Many hated the change and went to the doujin scene but the industry survived. This is also the time when all these "Japan sell only" messages became full standard within the industry. Gee, I wonder why.

That was the background behind minori's "gotta protect our culture" thing. Now you may want to argue how detrimental such isolationism was to the company, but remember that minori survived a decade more after they blocked overseas access to their website. And about your shining stories about muh "GLOBALIZATION" I bet not many Japanese companies would buy into such unicorn stories when they already understand well that any unexpected and unwelcome exposure to the Western mass media can have fatal effect on the already-dying industry, not just their own businesses.Last modified on 2019-03-10 at 13:40
#38 by freshift
2019-03-10 at 13:49
#36 Also August is swimming in all the profits from their soshage businesses with DMM, so that's not happening too.
#39 by mqvisionary
2019-03-10 at 14:09
#38 I wonder if they are done with normal vns; if so that will be very sad, but I guess I can't balme them; that game's twitter page has more followers than august's. lol
#40 by dk382
2019-03-11 at 00:49
freshift is offering an extremely sensationalized account of the rapelay incident. "facing a mass extinction" is more than a little overly dramatic.

At the end of the day, the eroge industry walked away from the rapelay situation largely unscathed and they probably didn't have to IP block foreigners from their website in order to do it. Granted, it was an understandable step, and people need to realize that Japanese companies aren't blocking foreigners because they're racist or whatever like I see some people saying. It was a defensive move during a time when they were facing something they had never faced before: international scrutiny. But I think it's wrong to characterize the situation as them being in severe mortal danger.

There were no actual serious, supported proposals to sanction Japan in any meaningful way. The worst it got was some western governments like Australia and the UK proposing more stringent censorship rules domestically, but even those proposals didn't have a lot of support. And then things largely blew over due to a lack of popular support, as usual whenever there's a moral panic. IMO, the eroge industry overreacted somewhat to the moral panic. They were simply unused to that kind of scrutiny, even though it was largely nonthreatening. And now you're heavily overreacting to their overreaction, interpreting the incident as a brush with the apocalypse, which is absurd.Last modified on 2019-03-11 at 00:50
#41 by kiru
2019-03-11 at 08:40
While generally speaking, not every Japanese company is automatically racist just because they block foreign access to their website. But wasn't Minori an exception there? I do remember something. But it's been so long since the fan translation times of ef...
#42 by freshift
2019-03-11 at 11:32
#41 How is blocking fan translation any indication of racism, back in 2006 Korean fan translations of AIR and CLANNAD were killed after Key submitted copyright complaint to translation groups, do people call Key a racist company? Ace Attorney 3's Korean fan translation, which the progress was apparently '98% completed', was stopped from release after Capcom's cease and desist order, was that an act of racism?Last modified on 2019-03-11 at 11:32
#43 by freshift
2019-03-11 at 11:56
#40 Reasonable points. Your description on how the industry overreacted to the fiasco is 100% correct. That said...

the eroge industry walked away from the rapelay situation largely unscathed

That is not true. The scar lingered on and that's why minori, Alicesoft et al. still blocks overseas access to their websites.

There were no actual serious, supported proposals to sanction Japan in any meaningful way.

Because you don't sanction a whole country for this kind of controversy, no one talked about sanctioning Japan and that was never my point at all.

They were simply unused to that kind of scrutiny, even though it was largely nonthreatening.

They were unused to that kind of scrutiny, yes. The efforts to 'regulate' video games and animations was now helped by Western pressure and was finally finding success, as this 'direction' from the EOCS' shows. No, calling this kind of 'regulation' a mass extinction isn't absurd in any way I believe.
#44 by sanahtlig
2019-03-14 at 12:19
While we can look back on the Rapelay incident and conclude that not much changed in the Japanese eroge industry, it's also true that at the time there was a great deal of anxiety that entire genres would disappear. The EOCS did in fact take steps to restrict certain genres: you'll notice that the loli tag on Getchu is surprisingly barren (but not for doujin games, which are not regulated by the EOCS).

It's also likely that the Rapelay scandal made Japanese eroge companies more reluctant to release their games overseas. To this day, there's few examples of professional Japanese eroge companies self-publishing eroge for Western consumption. DLsite English notably does not sell professional releases--only doujin titles--while DLsite Japan carries a full selection of both doujin and professional releases.

As for the "racist" debate, minori justified its IP ban as a step to "defend their culture".
This website cannot be browsed excluding Japan.

Some foreigners seem to be having an antipathy against EROGE.
Therefore, We prohibited the access from foreign countries, to defend our culture.
Sorry for you of the fan that lives in a foreign country.

The controversy over Rapelay represented an ideological struggle between cultures, and it's fair to say that certain segments of the fanbase perceive Westerners as a threat and blame them for the various industry restrictions.Last modified on 2019-03-14 at 12:49
#45 by cecilyh
2019-03-14 at 13:53
To this day, there's few examples of professional Japanese eroge companies self-publishing eroge for Western consumption.

but there are far MORE of them than there were before the rapelay 'incident'!!

to the best of my knowledge the whole rapelay thing was largely a case of It's Fucking Nothing, other than a bit of bad press. nothing actually happened other than some websites ran articles critical of eroge and then some eroge fans freaked out. unfortunately some companies freaked out just as badly, and with just as little reason.

it's true that loli is illegal in a lot of countries and that the law in many countries considers it to be just as bad as harming an actual child. that's not new, isn't related to rapelay, and certainly isn't the fault of a jezebel article. it's also true that there is international pressure to be more protective of children. it's one of the reasons the US gets scolded by the UN every now and then for refusing to ban child marriage.Last modified on 2019-03-14 at 13:54
#46 by sanahtlig
2019-03-14 at 21:28
but there are far MORE of them than there were before the rapelay 'incident'!!
Keep in mind that the Western market for adult games (both Japanese and English) was in its infancy in 2009. VNDB itself didn't exist until 2007. Market conditions overall were very different, even aside from the political considerations we're focusing on here. Relatively speaking, the Japanese market was stronger and the English market was weaker, providing less incentive for Japanese companies to look overseas at that time.Last modified on 2019-03-14 at 21:34
#47 by freshift
2019-03-15 at 01:04
#45 I'll be honest, I'm baffled by this kind of general ignorance about the fiasco from the Western audience, considering the impacts, consequences, and scars the whole debacle left. It is a key factor, the Alpha and Omega in understanding Japanese developers' overly cautious behavior in the Western market.

The general assumption here appears to be that, there were only a few token hostile news reports against the industry. This is not the case, not only because the reports were all over the media, but because this narrative assumes that there were zero political involvement. When I talked about how the "ruling Liberal Democratic Party was pushing a ban for 'violent' video games and animations", I meant this kind of push which included likes of Noda Seiko, Obuchi Yuko, and Yamatani Eriko, all three being cabinet ministers at the time or before. And they were not alone in pressuring the industry, as LDP's coalition partner Komeito also got involved. And that was the situation inside of Japan. The final activity of the above mentioned group was on the fourteenth of July 2009.

What followed after, was an unprecedented event that destroyed Liberal Democratic Party's dominance. While it is not possible to say that the Rapelay fiasco had any meaningful impact on this electoral disaster, the LDP was no longer in a position to push for anything, though the idea of regulation never died and eventually culminated in the Bill 156.

Thus not only it never was "Fucking Nothing", but to repeat my points again, "The industry survived partly because the 2009 general election killed political momentum and will to institute drastic measures, and also partly because the industry cowed to survive from the global firestorm the Rapelay fiasco had created."Last modified on 2019-03-15 at 01:18
#48 by cecilyh
2019-03-15 at 10:01
so on the one hand, you have a handful of negative western articles, something that happened routinely and continues to happen routinely every now and then when a bored journalist wants to make fun of "used panty vending machines" or something in japan.

on the other you have a bunch of major japanese politicians deciding that they want to regulate the industry.

sounds like the real threat that the eroge producers needed to block was their own country.

which i guess they did, by voting
#49 by sakurakoi
2019-03-15 at 11:10
political momentum
This reminds me of a certain concept, that this along with phrases like "being at its highest" are actually quite negative/detrimental, after all, it did/will only get worse from then on.

Not only does the moment have to achieve something like a bill but the moment has to stay forevermore, to implement the bill.

What consequence was there? Certain tags in certain stores remain unused, for "professional" works, which have other channels anyway. Of course there is also no sympathy for any self-inflicted scars.

By the by, how about looking at facts? Like link

and replace 2008 with each other year. I assure you that you will find that there is no impact since 09, 10 and 11 have about the same amount of first releases (ofc I am not counting multiple or download releases of old titles). One rather has to wonder what happened in 2013 while in 2007 the amount of first English releases picked up.

In regards to Japanese "professional" ero releases: link;
2007 24 pages 2008 24 pages
2009 26 pages 2010 27 pages
2011 25 pages 2012 25 pages
2013 27 pages 2014 29 pages
2015 25 pages 2016 21 pages
2017 20 pages 2018 18 pages

Either something has happened over there or over here what affected 2015/2016 and henceforth, maybe vndb just does not have as many active users/those which add new releases/there is always a delay until remotely complete or whatever. While there is always a little variance due to multiple releases, it is fairly obvious that the impact of rapelay is "fucking nothing"
#50 by lywzc
2019-03-15 at 12:02
Well, minori is the only company I know that insert some political sensitive phrases in their source code. Shame on you Sakai.


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