Online seminar Wed 27 Oct: A dialogue on visual novels (games), University of Manchester

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Apologies for cross-posting. We are pleased to inform you of the first East Asian Studies Online Seminar at the University of Manchester this semester. Details are below, and all academic staff and students are welcome to join. (Please note that this is not intended as a seminar for the general public.)

A DIALOGUE ON VISUAL NOVELS (GAMES) 1.10pm- 2.30pm UK time, Wednesday 27th October 2021

‘Playing with Characters: Dating Sims as a Transcultural Space’ Nicolle Lamerichs


‘Affection by Design: Adult Computer Games as Moving Images’ Patrick Galbraith

ZOOM LINK:, Meeting ID: 997 5683 2935

Affection by Design:

Reading against the grain, where a handful of computer games are argued to be art and their designers lionized in American circles, the talk instead presents one of those men as engaged in a similar project to another form of adult computer games, namely bishojo games, which focus tightly on interactions and relations with manga/anime-style cute girl characters. Noting that these interactions and relations can include explicit snd sometimes extreme violence and sex, and the girls can appear very young, bishojo games have been shut out of evolving discussions on adult computer games outside Japan. Focusing on design and effects rather than the most salacious content, and drawing on actual examples and producer and player experiences, the talk opens up seeing in bishojo games some rather radical tendencies, not the least of which is queer affect, or feeling the self in the other and the other in the self, feeling outside and beside oneself, otherly, together and in pieces.

Dating Sims as a Transcultural Space:

Games allow players to form different relationships with characters, such as in the Japanese games Persona 5 (Atlus, 2018) and Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo, 2020). Visual novels, such as Hatoful Boyfriend and Stein’s Gate, excel in these intimate relationships. Western designers have remixed, deconstructed and queered this Japanese genre and character types. By discussing examples such Boyfriend Dungeon, Dream Daddy and Doki Doki Literature Club, I show how indie designers have remixed Japanese tropes and anime aesthetics. I connect this to fan studies and character studies to show how gaming is essentially a transcultural space where different cultures and audiences meet.

About the Speakers:

Dr. Nicolle Lamerichs is senior lecturer and team lead at Creative Business at HU University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht. She holds a PhD in media studies from Maastricht University (2014). In her book Productive Fandom (2018), she explores intermediality, affect, costuming and creativity in fan cultures. Her current research focuses on participatory culture on new media platforms, specifically in relation to identity, narratives and play.

Patrick W. Galbraith is an Associate Professor in the School of International Communication at Senshū University in Tokyo. He holds a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Tokyo and a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Duke University. Recent publications include Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan (Duke University Press, 2019), AKB48 (Bloomsbury, 2019), Erotic Comics in Japan: An Introduction to Eromanga (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) and The Ethics of Affect: Lines and Life in a Tokyo Neighborhood (Stockholm University Press, 2021).

Best regards

Peter Cave
Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, University of Manchester