Presenting at FanLIS 2021: Building Bridges

Even though we’ve had a string of awesome conference and workshop experiences over the past half a year, now that things have been slowly restarting after all the pandemic related cancellations and postponements, the FanLIS 2021 Symposium: Building Bridges has left us with a very special warm feeling and excited buzz. The enthusiasm, the positivity and the sense of community was so strongly expressed and felt that it was impossible to not get caught up in the excitement that acted as a constant backdrop to the excellent string of presentations.

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Tiny Use Case 4: Examining the concept of media mix by looking at networks of co-staring characters

Taking inspiration from the network representation of real-life actors co-staring in movies (see Bacon number) the central question for this Tiny Use Case (TUC) was can we find patterns in the networks of co-appearing characters that are specific to Japanese media mixes (explained below). The short answer is we couldn’t, but read on to learn about the interesting things we found in the process of trying.

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Information Commons for Manga, Anime and Video Games, first meeting

We are very happy to report that we held the first Information Commons for Manga, Anime and Video Games meeting on the 12th of March. The participants of the meeting were present and former colleagues from the Ritsumeikan University Center for Game Studies in Kyoto working on the datasets for the Japanese Media Arts Database, members of the startup Animeshon from South Tyrol, and, of course, everyone from the JVMG project.

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Tiny Use Case 3 Part II: Stratifying Our Dataset

During the first part of this blogpost, we outlined our investigation into recurring practices of character design in visual novel games employing character data from The Visual Novel Database (VNDB). To map these practices, we visualized our dataset as a network of nodes, and examined its modularity and the eigenvector centrality of its subnetworks. Through the combined examination of modularity and eigenvector centrality, we were able to observe patterns of trait distribution across our dataset. We identified three trait communities, one of which included the near totality of character traits describing character sexual activity and pornographic depictions. The gendered distribution of types of pornography in the field of visual novel games elicited us to stratify our dataset according to characters’ intended audiences. This second part of our blogpost describes the results of our data stratification.

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Tiny Use Case 3 Part I: A Bottom Up Approach to Visual Novel Game Characters

The process of designing characters for a visual novel game relies on shared conventions for drawing character clothes, hairstyles, accessories, for articulating character demeanor (through visual and other cues) and more. In some cases, certain character types are conventionally depicted with certain visually recognizable traits. For example, a character’s hair could be drawn so that it sports a strand of hair which moves according to the character’s mood, this is called an ‘ahoge‘(idiot hair), and signifies a correspondingly whimsical personality. Another character might treat their love interest coldly while secretly harboring affections for them, struggling in the contradiction, a ‘tsundere’ demeanor, which does not necessarily have a corresponding outward visual trait to signify this personality type. Ahoge and tsundere are two of hundreds of templates for character design, which combine to shape a character’s identity.

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