There are so many companies out there localizing and publishing Japanese games. It can be difficult to keep up. But, there is one company that might occasionally be forgotten or stereotyped: MangaGamer. The thing is, the growth of the company is making it one people should not discount. Instead, they should be keeping an eye on what they are doing and which sorts of audiences they may end up courting.
First, let’s state the obvious. MangaGamer localizes and publishes adult visual novels. Their main website is for ages 18 and up only. Most of the titles involve male and female nudity and stories designed to appeal to men. Which is fine, for people who want that kind of content and fanservice. The company’s roster continually grows, which is good for people who want that. But, the issue is that some people let that get away of what else the company has to offer.
MangaGamer has been branching off into otome games. This means titles that have a female audience in mind. Ozmafia is its first, and it is an all-ages game that follows a young woman in a world where men plucked from various fairy tales are part of different mafia families. They also offer equal opportunity adult content, with Fashioning Little Miss Lonesome, a visual novel about a women being courted as a model by two men, is such a game for women. It also has an all ages version available too.
It can also be easy to forget MangaGamer is behind the localized release of Higurashi: When They Cry, one of the most famous Japanese murder mystery games. This is an all ages series about supernatural and unsettling events in a rural village. This company picked up the eight original ones, also bringing the connected Umineko: When They Cry to people outside of Japan. These are renowned sound novels that have no adult content and can be enjoyed by anyone who feels they can handle their adult themes.
Speaking of all ages releases, MangaGamer even cover some of those. The company is behind some other notable horror games that offer no nudity. One is The House in Fata Morgana series. The original entry features an opportunity to experience terrifying things in four different time periods. In the more recent The House in Fata Morgana: Requiem for Innocence, a story about a young woman mistaken for a witch. There are post-apocalyptic adventures, like Tokyo Babel. This game follows people trying to ascend seven layers of Babel to reopen the gates of heaven. Go! Go! Nippon! My First Trip to Japan is among the most innocent, as it is essentially a guided tour of different locations in Japan. The company also offers all-ages versions of some of its more adult offerings via Steam as well.
Then, there is the movement to offer games with same sex couples. MangaGamer has been bringing over more titles like this. A Kiss for the Petals: Remembering How We Met and Kindred Spirits on the Roof are both what are called yuri titles, meaning they show romantic relationships between two women in various stages. For people who prefer relationships between two men, the company has released two adult novels showcasing those relationships. One is No, Thank You!!!, about a mysterious man who finds himself with amnesia and working for a detective agency. The other is Hadaka Shitsuji: Naked Butlers which is, well, I think you can tell what it is about. In each of these situations, the company is offering an opportunity to showcase different kinds of relationships.
It is important not to stereotype companies. Yes, they usually have certain spheres of influence. MangaGamer is definitely a go-to for people who want adult games. But, we also have to keep in mind that the publisher does other things too. It has provided people with all ages mystery visual novels, some horror games, games geared toward women, and titles promoting same-sex relationships. Not to mention, going with the Steam versions can make some other games appropriate for all ages. Don’t be quick to judge!