The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 8 *Key Special*

For episode 8, we are excited to have Aspirety, the founder of, as our guest. Not only do Sean and JP dive into some interesting discussion (mostly Sean!), we are also joined by Tangles veteran, Kaze! As part of our Key-themed Easter this year, we have decided to take a look at probably the most controversial issue in Key’s medium of choice: Adult content in visual novels. While controversial, we think you’ll learn a lot about the medium and have some fun along the way!

Apologies for issues in audio quality! We are experimenting with new recording hardware and still working out the bugs.

Feel free to stream the episode below, subscribe on iTunes, or check out our RSS feed!

Also, be sure to email us with any questions you would like included in our “Listener Mail” portion, including the name you would like stated in the podcast and your website or blog for us to share!

Time Stamps:
Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 17:16
Otaku Diet – 19:34
Current Article/Discussion – 40:57
Listener Mail – 1:22:27
Closer – 1:38:53
Bloopers – 1:39:40

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Note: Below are the links mentioned in the podcast:

Beneath the Tangles » TangleCast
Beneath the Tangles » TangleCast
The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 8 *Key Special*

14 thoughts on “The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 8 *Key Special*

  1. Reblogged this on Japesland and commented:

    In our latest episode, we discuss Key visual novels, particularly with a focus on a rather controversial topic: adult content. Also, the intro is a bit of an inside joke. If you listen to the rest of the episode, you’ll get it 😉

  2. Oooh, nice.

    On the point-and-click topic, some VNs have that aspect, such as Kara no Shoujo.
    A lot of the more well-known VNs add gameplay, but there are arguments over when a VN stops being a VN and becomes an Adventure game. Personally I don’t think things like Ace Attorney are VNs, but that’s an argument that’ll get me shot, so I let it pass. =3=

    We get a lot of bombshells dropped in podcasts that totally change the outlook of a route or the whole product. The religious aspect of planetarian is an example. AIR has a lot of religious stuff, but we aren’t at that point in the bookclub yet. We did find some Bjork stuff though, which was nice.

    I think Parasyte started off well, but suddenly dropped in quality after the first couple story arcs. For a while it seemed like it didn’t know where it was going, which was fitting considering the main character’s situation, but I really started to lose interest in the show after that.

    I only picked up Your Lie in April because I heard Goosehouse were doing the OP… and I didn’t like the OP… so I ended up not enjoying the show all that much. It had some great moments in the Tsubaki and Nagi centric episodes (even though I wasn’t a fan of Tsubaki herself) but aside from that I couldn’t help but feel like I was watching a children’s shounen show. You have the build up, the conflict, the action scene, and then a forced and repeated message thrown in to justify it’s existence in a child’s life from a parent’s perspective.
    The build up was usually nice. The conflicts throughout the show were hit-and-miss (and sometimes they were completely forgotten about.) The action scenes, aka the performances, were a mesh of boring emotionless music and the word “todoke” repeated over and over. The themes that the show explored, and the meanings it set out to present, were well-intended, but terribly executed.

    Visual Novels are in a weird place. They rely on H-content to sell in Japan, but the inclusion of H-content stops the medium from being accepted seriously in other countries. It’s getting better as time goes on, but the adaption of the medium is a desperation move from a dying industry imo. I don’t like H-scenes at all. I actively remove them from the VNs I read, just in case I want to reread it. (AIR, yay.) We have a big topic about it on Kazamatsuri with a lot of opinions on them. It gets a bit heated at times, but there’s a bunch of good content.

    Tactics/Key and Leaf were really the big developers of VNs. A lot of their VNs were considered revolutionary. Despite what Aspirety says, Tactics actually started with Dousei, a badly written dating sim with lots of H-content (I’m translating it slowly… It’s awful.) After Dousei, they moved onto ONE, which was one of the first Nakige (crying game.) They stopped being a dating sim developer, and moved onto VNs. Kanon, AIR, and CLANNAD were revolutionary to the genre, all managing to do different things to change or popularize something in the medium, they then experimented with planetarian, which didn’t do as well as the others.


    Not a big fan of Little Busters!’s routes, but the overall VN is executed well. The VN industry is pretty comparable to greek theater. The two big genres are romance and drama. You get a good amount that are well-written experiences, and then you get an insane amount that are just pleasure plays.

    Saya no Uta is generally the only VN that is accepted as something that didn’t just add H-scenes for the hell of it, but really… I think it did. It has been a reeeaaally long time since I read it, but the story could have worked just as well without showing explicit H-content. Just look at Now and Then, Here and There, or anything that uses sex as a plot point. Implication is just as effective, if not more so, that outright presentation.

    I agree that the intimacy of romance VNs is ostracizing to the reader, at least, for most readers. I know of people who see themselves as the protagonist, but I don’t think that is common. When I think of… let’s go with a VN that’s already been mentioned – Little Busters!, I ship Yuiko and Riki, not Yuiko and the reader.

    Oh god… IMHHW. I’ve never actually played it, but I’ve heard so many different sides that I can’t form an opinion on it really. I’ve heard that they removed adult jokes, or rude comments, or little things. Stuff like that is stupid. It brings a bad name to the “all ages” tag.
    All Ages is a form of censorship, which some people will dislike, but it’s minimal censorship. It should only remove or alter the explicit content, without removing anything important from the original experience.
    Some people have told me that they didn’t actually remove little jokes and scenes. That those problems were false rumors spread by angry VN readers. I don’t know if that’s true either… but if it is, the people who argue that removing H-content is detracting from the original content are stupid. If you want H-content, then just say that you do. Don’t act like it’s removal destroys the quality of the whole product, because it doesn’t. People need to stop making bad excuses and have enough faith in their own beliefs and opinions to speak about them without creating a scapegoat or a mask.
    Ugh, irritating much?
    I’ll read the VN one day (I do like to dip into mindless romance stories as a guilty pleasure) but until then, I can’t decide what to think of that drama, not that it really matters. You can patch it anyway.
    I pretty much agree with Aspi right now.

    Speaking of the IMHHW drama, there was a similar drama in Japan around ‘Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm’ by Sprite, which was brought to attention on Kazamatsuri by MalignantSeraph.

    Sprite were hyping up their VN before release, and people were asking questions about it. Spritesaid it would be an adult romance game, so the majority of Japanese consumers were happy, but on release people realized there was only 1 H-scene per route. People got angry, because they thought there’d be more. It still had high ratings though.

    The God in Angel Beats! was pretty much an assumed figure. The people against God in AB! were people who were unsatisfied with life. Whoever controlled the situation – whoever brought them to this strange afterlife – that is the person they look for.
    They just use God as a name for this controller, because they are young, and it’s simple. Hell, they call Angel… Angel. It’s a title based on assumption.

    You could argue it’s the same case in real life though… If someone’s at the brink of death, who do they think of? Who could possibly control such a situation?

    I think God should only be used in media as either a title given to a person by themselves or others, or as a plot device to create questions. If a God does exist, chances are it’s something we can’t comprehend; many believe it’s something beyond us after all. Can you give words to something you can’ comprehend?

    Key Otome game when? They write guys better than girls all the time.

    I love Kanon’s art ;~; It’s pretty. I like those eyes. I think CLANNAD’s is the worst offender in Key’s, although the Little Busters! eyes are iffy, and Tactics’ ONE as well as AIR have some really bad ones.

    IIRC the protag of Harmonia is the Artificial Human this time around. Might be interesting.

    1. Holy moly, what a comment! I don’t think I can reply to everything you said, but I’ll pick out what I can.

      Yeah the defining line between “adventure” and “vn” is hard to pinpoint, but I’d probably agree with you. The more emphasis is put on story, the closer it is to being a VN, while the more emphasis is put on gameplay, the more it becomes a genre defined by the gameplay. Little Busters is my favorite example of a VN that subtly incorporate gameplay elements while entirely maintaining its existence as a VN.

      Yeah, Parasyte was a letdown because, at first I didn’t like it, but then it unexpectedly grew on me. Rarely do I enjoy something of that genre, so I got excited and then disappointed. YLA was just all over the place.

      Yes, the individual routes in LB are pretty mediocre, but it’s pretty amazing as a whole.

      Yes, Now and Then, Here and There is one of my all-time favorites!

      Thanks for listening and starting a conversation! Maybe you can submit a question to the podcast for our next episode :3

    2. I’ll just respond to a few things since the comment is too long 😛

      Kara no Shoujo was on my mind actually, but in the interest of time, I withheld it. The first game was too frustrating though with how it was programmed to allow you to skip so many mandatory points.

      The dying VN industry is definitely something that should’ve been brought up. Rewrite was arguably a commercial failure (by Key standards), but still a best seller. Rather than being a financial bonus, H scenes are basically a required inclusion to not lose money, for the average trash VN.

      I’d say I personally agree with you on Saya no Uta, but was acknowledging what is probably the best example of “needed” H scenes.

      I read part of that thread regarding Sprite. iirc, that was more an issue of false advertising, which I think is completely fair, but I’m not familiar enough to really say.

      Seriously, Key produces such well written guys.

      Thanks for listening and the long response!

  3. Great episode! There was so much I wanted to comment on, but I’ve forgotten everything (it was pretty long, after all, hehe). I do remember that A) I need to finish the Little Busters anime…I made it through a bazillion episodes but quite with like 5 left and B) Sean has the ability to tell truth very unwaveringly – I wonder if he’ll draw criticism our way (something that I think I would welcome).

  4. I just have a few quibbles about certain remarks made about the Catholic Church circa 1500–as you might expect! First, the Hundred Years’ War was fought from the mid-thirteenth through mid-fourteenth centuries, not the 1500’s. At any rate, I’m not sure if one can blame the Church for the rise in capital and cruel and unusual punishments in the 16th century, aka the Golden Age of the Executioner. Except in the case of armed rebellion or treason, capital punishment was actually rare in the Middle Ages until the rise of nation states. Even in the case of murder, the culprit usually faced either paying a fine (wergild) or exile rather than death. There even used to exist ecclesiastical courts which could not hand down capital sentences until Church authority began to wane and kings removed these courts.

    As kings consolidated power, it was felt that they needed to strike terror into the hearts of evil doers, hence more gruesome manners of execution were resorted to more frequently. Of course, one might blame the Church for not speaking out about this, but they were likely as culturally blind as everyone else. And, in the 1500’s, methods of execution in both Catholic and Protestant kingdoms seem to have been about the same.

    Basically, I don’t believe the Church is as much to blame for such things as people like to say. At the same time as one sees clerical corruption, there are always reform movements and criticism against it. And these movements were tolerated as long as they did not espouse heresy!

    1. Whoops! Should’ve been 14th century then. It’s definitely set during the end of the Hundred Years’ War. History is hardly my strong point, so I’ll just take everything you said as a history lesson. That said in regards to the anime, I didn’t mean the Church was at direct fault for the rise in cruel punishment/etc; perhaps I implied it unintentionally through poor explanation of the series. I was and do think of the Church’s portrayal of corruption and/or failures as mostly on the religious side of things such as preaching things beyond the teachings of the Bible (or in a couple cases, using verses out of context to fit their motives), or branding people heretics for rather questionable reasons. Maybe my timeline is off again on when these things were a problem versus the time period of the anime, but I do think pre-Reformation era (was this started in the 1500’s? Maybe that’s why I got my centuries mixed up. I’m probably wrong again.) issues with the Church are accurate, although since it focuses on only a couple themes, probably not an accurate portrayal of the overall state of the Church at the time. I would love to see you critique Junketsu no Maria though, as I have been thinking for some time that your expertise on that time period would lend far more credence than my surface level knowledge!

      1. Yep, the Reformation began October 31, 1517 with Martin Luther posting his 95 theses. Curiously, he was right in attacking the way indulgences were handled at the time–during the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church actually came down on many of the practices he criticized. The problem is that Luther then went too far with other doctrines of his. I don’t really think much of heretics before Luther–reading the beliefs of the Cathars, who were crushed in the Albigensian Crusade, will give you an excellent example of why. Others were similarly off base, but this might just be a prejudice I have as a Catholic.

        But, I have watched seven episodes of Junketsu no Maria and am finding it pretty interesting. I already have one idea for an article and will probably have a few more by the end of the series.

      1. Thanks! I do claim to be a medievalist after all, even if only of the enthusiast and amateur variety.

        On another note, I decided to start watching Maria no Junketsu. A surprisingly interesting story. The weapons and armor are surprisingly accurate to the times, except that they did not include chainmail anywhere. But that is understandable as chainmail would be a pain to animate. The first three episodes seem to set up some arguments against the Church–powerful arguments indeed. I’m curious to see whether counter-arguments are put forward in the later episodes.

        1. Yeah it’s an interesting anime that shows the church in a different way than other animes. It has a lot of fan service….but asides from that, it’s pretty interesting. I have to catch up, I think I stopped on EP 3

          1. I remember being concerned with the mentions of fanservice, but so far it seems no worse than many popular shonen anime. And there are lines of dialogue which are no worse than older co-workers hazing younger and inexperienced colleagues. But to each his own. I’ll probably start writing a few articles on the show soon.

            1. Your opinion on that one will be much received. Looking forward to reading it 🙂 I can handle the fanservice, but it’s always good to mention for those that look to us to mention such things so they know in advance.

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