As you probably know, the official English version of Kono Oozora ni, Tsubasa wo Hirogete, If My Heart Had Wings, will be released at the end of this week.
We were really curious about Moenovel, the company in charge of publishing If My Heart Had Wings, so we decided to contact them and we had the chance to have an interview with Fujisan, producer at Moenovel.
Here are the questions asked by the Projet Saya’s members to Moenovel:
Saya : First, can you introduce yourself and Moenovel as well?
Fujisan : Nice to meet you, I am Fujisan, producer of MoeNovel. I am Japanese, born and raised in Tokyo, but MoeNovel is a company made up of mostly native speakers that localize and market visual novels. MoeNovel was created for the purpose of delivering officially localized Japanese visual novels to the world.
Saya : How did you choose “Moenovel” as the company name?
Fujisan : I think you know the word “moe” in MoeNovel is an important word in Otaku culture meaning “crush.” It is a phrase that is used when someone is saying something like “xx-chan, I like you…” There is this implication, but if I have to say, we adopted the original meaning of “moe” which is more important to the meaning of the MoeNovel brand.
The original meaning of “moe” is “The sprouting of grass or trees” or “To announce something beforehand/an indication.” For this new band name that is dispatching Japanese visual novels into the world, I think this is an appropriate name for MoeNovel’s brand. Incidentally in Japan, the meaning of “moe” is attached to a color which is “light green.” The MoeNovel brand color has become this light green.
Saya : Is Moenovel related to Pulltop or are you an independent company?
Fujisan : We are definitely closely related to Pulltop. I was actually influenced by the first Pulltop brand (Note : Will). MoeNovel is not an independent company and you can think of MoeNovel as being a member of the same corporate group as Pulltop.
Saya : What decided you to bring Japanese visual novels to the western market? Why now and not earlier?
Fujisan : In the past I think visual novels were localized and released in the west. However if asked if the visual novel genre entered the world market, I don’t think you can quite say that.
MoeNovel was started in order to improve this situation, even if only slightly.
Why didn’t we release these visual novels earlier? Hm…I think timing was the problem.
Saya : Why did you choose If My Heart Had Wings in particular?
Fujisan : The reason why we made this our first title was because we wanted to release something that had received high praise by Japanese players and which was recently released.
Actually, the original version for If My Heart had Wings was called “Kono Oozorani, Tsubasa wo Hirogete” and received the award for best visual novel last year.
Saya : Why did you decided to cut off the ero content? Do you think it was not suited for the western market?
Fujisan : We decided that if we had sexual content it would not distribute (as easily).
The purpose of MoeNovel is to expand the presence of visual novels from Japan.
From our experience we understood that if we had the erotic content in the game we would be completely unable to deliver it to a wide and distant audience.
For the product to receive recognition, we thought it was important that we try to appeal to everyone. But because we cut the erotic content and replaced it with new content, parts of the novel were no longer consistent and so we had to fix and revise all of it. Of course we recorded new voices for those parts and made a higher degree of perfection for the visual novel.
Saya : If If My Heart Had Wings is successful, what are your projects? And if it’s not, will you try to release other games?
Fujisan : If If My Heart Had Wings is a success and receives high recognition then we will make an effort to raise its popularity even more. In other words we will try to make the next project a success as well. Even if it isn’t a success we will do the same thing.
First of all, raising the awareness of visual novels is our first task, then we will release the next project and make an effort to make it a success.
Saya : What do you think you have to do to appeal to the western market?
Fujisan : Firstly, we need to try to expand the knowledge of its existence.
For example, we want 12 year old French girls who like anime to know about it as well, and make it so that there is no problem appealing it to these girls. Thus we will need to make it easy for such girls to tell their friends who also like the same type of anime.
Saya : Do you think that your initiative will encourage other Japanese VN editors to release their games outside Japan?
Fujisan : I would be very happy if we influence others but it might be thought as simply a reckless move. We might be looked at in the same light as companies like Don Quixote (Note : Don Quixote, who is fighting against windmills, is the stereotype of the one who starts a battle that he’ll never win).
Saya : Do you have anything to say to the western VN fans?
Fujisan : We released a version of If My Heart Had Wings without the sexual content but MoeNovel by no means thinks negatively about visual novels that have sexual content. In order to get a high degree of recognition for visual novels in the world we think that diversity is necessary. We, at MoeNovel, wish for the visual novel genre to expand worldwide. If this is realized we will be very happy.
We worked very hard to write If My Heart Had Wings and it has a wonderful story so please buy it!
We are really grateful for the time granted to us by Fujisan and Moenovel’s staff. We will soon write a review of If My Heart Had Wings, so if you’re interested, please come back and read it.
If you want to pre-order If My Heart Had Wings, you can do it at Mangagamer.