Yaruki Zero Podcast #2: Anime and RPGs

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Ewen talks to himself about the relationship between Japanese animation and role-playing games at length. What do people mean when they say “anime” in the first place? What kinds of anime RPGs already exist, and what kinds could exist?

Yaruki Zero Podcast #2 (31 minutes, 24 seconds)

Episode Outline
1. Introduction
2. Perceptions of Anime
3. The BESM Paradigm
4. “System Does Matter” and Anime
5. Anime Fans and RPG Fans
6. Closing Comments

Show Notes

Next Time
The next episode will be an interview with Clay Gardner, creator of OVA: Open Versatile Anime.

This podcast uses selections from the song “Click Click” by Grünemusik, available for free from Jamendo.com. If you like the song, consider buying some CDs from Nankado’s website.

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8 thoughts on “Yaruki Zero Podcast #2: Anime and RPGs

  1. I fan of RPGs since 1977 and Anime since long before it was popular here in the US, I’ve been utilizing Anime and Manga thematic and content influences since at least the mid-80’s. I own several Japanese language TRPGs including Metal Head, Wares Blade, Ru/Li/Lu/Ra and the numerous editions/variants of the Gundam RPG.

    I find both your blog and podcast fascinating and feel you have an incredible grasp and insight into the way Japanese source material can expand of Western RPG field. I am surprised however to hear so much about BESM and so little about the real ‘pioneers’ of the Western Anime RPG movement in the US, R. Talsorian Games. Long before Guardians of Order and BESM came Teenagers from Outer Space and Mekton. In addition, RTG spawned the first (and perhaps only) Anime RPG magazines in the form of Mecha Press and later V*Max. Protoculture Addicts, made by the same company as Mecha Press, also featured Anime influenced RPG articles in the mid-to-late 80’s and early 90’s.

    As much as I love the subject and prefer rules lite systems, I was never overly fond of BESM, though that did do some amazing adaptions (Tenchi Muyo, El-Hazard, Duel!, Slayers, etc.). I must prefered (and still prefer) TFOS for my Anime/Manga styled comedy needs. Before V*Max was cancelled I had spoken to the editor of the magazine about writing an article feautring my own ‘houserules’ that made the game a bit more compatible with Mekton II and Cyberpunk 2020. Entitled “Advanced Teenagers from Outer Space” (based on a joke in the original edition rulebook) I was unable to finish it before I was informed of the magazines demise.

    Anyway, I just wanted to make sure we give a tip of the hat to Mike Pondsmith and his crew, unsung heroes of the field. Can’t wait to read and hear more and looking forward to getting the Maid RPG soon. Thanks!

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  2. Yeah, when all’s said and done I probably should’ve gotten a bit more into talking about R. Talsorian. You’re quite right to call them the pioneers, and you’d think I’d have remembered that considering I’ve played a lot more Mekton Z than BESM. I’ll have to fit in a mention of them in a future podcast. My first interview subject, Clay Gardner, is also of the opinion that R. Talsorian has done a better job of portraying anime in RPG form than Guardians of Order.

  3. As one who uses and likes OVA, I’d like to know how Clay Gardner is coming with his ‘update’ for it. Any concept of when it might see the light of day? What sort of changes/simplifications/expansions should we expect? Will it include specific rules for mecha?

  4. Not a big anime fan, but found out about your podcast because of Maid. I found this episode to be very enlightening. It was interesting to learn about gaming and nerd culture in Japan as well as about anime culture here in North America. I look forward to future episodes.

  5. Ewen,

    first a big “thank you” for doing that podcast – I just listened to it while commuting and I want to do that every day from now on.

    I’m also of the opinion that Mike Pondsmith is kind of the unsung hero of anime gaming, but then we also have to add Dream Pod Nine (what is it with the Canadians and anime, btw?) with their Jovian Chronicles Setting they did for Mekton, which later became its own game; and Heavy Gear, their Battletech/anime-crossover game.

    They captured the look and feel of Gundam/Robotech-like anime just perfectly (Jovian better than HG), without saying “anime rpg” either – other than through the visuals, obviously. The games also used rather traditional rules, just like Japanese rpgs seem to do.

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