If you follow me on Twitter, you might’ve noticed my retweets about Tokyo Demons. It’s an online serialized novel (I’d call it sci-fi/drama/action) that my friends Lianne Sentar and Rebecca Scoble are writing, and not only is it REALLY good, it’s free to read online. Once you get into Chapters 2-3 (Chapter 1 is setting the story up and establishing characters, it’s not as fast paced) you’ll probably be sucked in for hours. AND. There is an audio version, with character voices, which is also free to download and listen to! (This may or may not include moi somewhere). Not to mention the totally gorgeous illustrations by rem (see that new banner ad on the right?)
Tokyo Demons is only the first volume of a trilogy, and it’s almost done – I believe Chapter 8 is the final chapter, and it’s mostly up. There is actually a Kickstarter online to fund Book 2 – more money means the novel and audio drama are done faster because they can take time off from work to write, plus giving some breathing room for art, sound effects, and lots of other fun stuff (including getting started on Book 3!).
I thought I’d do a little interview with Lianne and Rebecca to provide some teaser info and background on the characters and story.
ED: What is Tokyo Demons?
Lianne Sentar (LS): It’s a serialized prose and dramatized audio book, in the Japanese light novel format, with manga style illustrations. It’s about supernatural teenagers in underground gang war in Tokyo. And the heroine turns into bees.
ED: Describe the main characters – Ayase (the main heroine), Jo (the main hero), Sachi and Kiyoshi (two kinda-main male characters)?
Rebecca Scoble (RS): Ayase is a very quiet introvert who turns into bees.
LS: She’s your standard mild-mannered shoujo heroine, but with tremendous battle capability.
RS: And Jo is a likeable asshole and a vain pickpocket with street smarts.
LS: He’s a slick street kid who’s self-centred and cowardly. Sachi is basically the third wheel love interest from a shoujo manga for 12-year-old girls – the “genki” upbeat guy with his own secret power. And Kiyoshi is the damsel in distress. (laughs)
ED: What’s the basic story?
LS: The characters live parallel but separate lives, but are brought together through crazy circumstance. Both Ayase and Jo are loners for different reasons, and Tokyo Demons, the first book especially, is about them learning to work with other people and each other. It’s basically a coming of age story.
ED: Describe the current situation in Tokyo at the start of TD.
LS: There’s a web of different organizations, some driven by supernatural powers or superhuman drugs, and Ayase and Jo get pulled into things as a power struggle comes to a head.
ED: Okay, tell us about some of the different groups.
RS and LS:
Byakko: one of the street gangs, mostly high school kids. They’re into petty theft.
Seiryuu: Byakko’s rival gang, also mostly high school kids.
Core: A mysterious crime syndicate that controls its members with a certain steroid-like drug.
The Church: A multifaith organization that uses its knowledge of supernatural phenomena to deal with threats. Some operatives have been sent to Tokyo to deal with the rise of Core.
Kiri: We can’t tell you anything about them without spoiling everything.
ED: Describe the relationships. (Note: there’s a pretty cool relationship chart on the website for all of us who like diagrams )
LS: Ayase gets trapped between lots of men, and there is lots of romantic tension. It’s complicated.
RS: Jo is in love with himself. (lots of laughter)
LS: Ayase and Jo are based on shoujo leads and shounen leads. Shoujo (Ayase) is full of tangled romantic relationships, and shounen (Jo) is mostly goal-oriented. The first half of Tokyo Demons: Book 1 is more about Ayase developing, while the second half has more development for Jo. Jo and Ayase work together – we were trying to combine the best of shoujo and shounen, and improve on their weaknesses (eg. having a more cynical, self-aware and powerful heroine than most shoujo, and a smarter hero than most shounen).
ED: Where did the idea for TD come from?
LS: We first designed it ten years ago. It was a combined effort with Rebecca and our friend Adam Ford. Rebecca designed Ayase, Adam designed Jo, and I designed the world. We created the story together.
I hardly ever (once a year maybe?) read fiction online (nowadays most of my reading is done on the PSP ;P) but I strongly recommend trying out Tokyo Demons. It has a strong plot – there are some things I only know because I get insider knowledge but I can’t wait for the fans to figure them out from the foreshadowing. The characters are also well-written – Ayase is awesome, and I can’t help but like Jo even though he is totally a cocky teenage boy. I read most of the book before first listening to the audio drama, but now I can’t wait for the next chapter to come out – it’s excellent, and it just keeps getting better.
So check the website out! If you want to know more before jumping in, there are teasers, trailers, extras, – and then the novel and drama will pull you in and never let you go (mwahahaha!).
Kickstarter vid and general awesome rundown of Tokyo Demons
And I’d love to hear what you think about it – so to encourage you, I’m going to give away three of the bookmarks available with rem’s lovely art on them to commenters on this post – if there are lots then I’ll take the first three who correctly answer the following:
And you can pick whichever bookmark you like and I’ll send it to you, postage included.
[Edit: I realized after seeing the first comment that I can't approve any till all three winners are there, because otherwise someone could copy answers! So I'll wait a day or two before approving the current comments, but I do see them!]
I’ve just posted a little prequel story for Raj on the LOVE.101 site! Please take a look and feel free to leave your impressions here or via email! I just managed to squeak this out, I want to get Al’s out earlier in February.
What the bleep, this was set to publish on Friday, in fact it still says publish on Jan 6. >.<;; Sorry for the delay!
The second straight post on English releases, is this a sign of what's to come in 2012??
Anyways, I might be the last to know (I am sadly late on English news), but DMP Publishing is releasing the Starry Sky comic! Volume 1 comes out in April.
Apparently its genre is shonen (…lol).
(sorry for the shortness of the recent posts, this thrice-weekly schedule is hard! But I’m almost done routes in Angelique, Beyond the Future, and one other game to put up as reviews)
I love romance. Finding otome games was like a revelation to me after a decade of loving romance novels, and loving videogames, and thinking never the twain shall meet.
I was very lucky in that I already knew Japanese and had been a fan of anime and manga (does anyone finds otome games without liking one of those two before?) But one of my dreams is to have someone find and enjoy otome games without having to dig through all the Japanese, because though I love the language, most romance fans aren’t going to learn Japanese just to play otome games. And anyways, there are lots of romance fans that aren’t fans of anime/manga, and why shouldn’t they have romance games too?
So I was extremely excited to see the first (to my knowledge) game based on a romance novel, Hidden Objects of Desire. I’m a fan of casual games (too much so, sometimes they distract me from other things I could be working on), mostly hidden objects ones, and this is one of those. It’s produced by Harlequin, and takes its plot from a novel of the same name. I got it on Big Fish Games, which is a huge casual game portal where most games are $6.99 or less. Of course I bought it immediately. Of course, it’s not an otome game, since you don’t have a choice in what happens, and there’s only one possible romantic partner. But still, it’s from a romance!
I wasn’t expecting too much since this is the first of its kind, and it pretty much met my expectations. It had minimal character development, and the plot and dialogue was obviously lifted straight from the novel, with not much adaptation. At least they kept some of the humour of the book in, as well as some scenes with a minor character (I wonder if they couldn’t find enough for the heroine to do?) The gameplay was decent, enjoyable but not great, and I think that was because Harlequin knew enough to hire a studio experienced in HOG (Hidden Object Games) and pay them well instead of trying to do it themselves.
I do hope that Harlequin continues to make games like this, as I see it as a good step in establishing romance games. I hope they add more dialogue – Harlequin novels are short but I’m sure the book had way more development of the relationship than the two paragraphs of dialogue given to it in the game. This is something the producers will have to decide on – do they want to make games for the typical HOG fan who doesn’t care much about the dialogue (and often the story), or do they want to target someone who may already by a romance fan? I’m hoping they go for the latter, as there are already many many studios focused on current HOG fans.