Ten Questions With… Nicole Mejias (Sekai Project)
Fans of the Boy’s Love genre should know by now that Sekai Project is running a Kickstarter for Witch boy Magical piece. With little over a week left to back the project and still some ways to go for it to reach its goal, we caught up with Nicole Mejias to find out more about the game and why players should show their support.
Can you give our readers a quick introduction of yourself and the studio?
Sekai Project is a multinational group of fans and creators, working to promote Japanese multimedia and live content overseas. Being fans of visual novels ourselves, it is our dream to see many of the classics released in English. As for me, I’m Nicole Mejias, the Witch boy Magical piece project lead, and a fellow VN fan, Otome games being my favorite VNs to play. As the localization project manager, I try to reach out to as many communities who might be interested in this Kickstarter project, along with updating the Kickstarter page itself with any new info. I also try to post up any news of the updates on social media, so people know what’s up.
Why was Witch boy Magical piece chosen for English localization?
We chose this title due its unique nature: men turning into women and finding out that what’s truly important is to “be yourself” and not just “be a man” or “be a woman,” all while fighting the Creatures that threaten the Earth and gradually becoming interested in one another. Also, since this is normally a mobile game, we’d thought that more people would have a chance at playing it on a PC, so we’re aiming to release the most complete version of this game possible for fans to play!
What can players who are new to the genre expect from the game?
One key aspect of the game is the transformation into Witches. By transforming into Witches, the main cast is able to do damage to the Creatures that threaten to destroy Earth. Some items can only be equipped by certain characters, and there are rare items that can only be obtained after meeting certain requirements.
Another key aspect is the Battery system: the stronger the pair’s Connection, the more power they’ll wield to deal the finishing blow to the Creatures. What needs to be achieved is the Synergy Effect resulting from two characters forming a Battery with one another and fighting together. This can be achieved by selecting certain response options when prompted. The selected option will decide the result of the battle as a “Great Victory”, “Victory” or “Defeat.” Of course, getting the “Defeat” result will lead to a Game Over.
Is the game aimed exclusively at fans of the Boy’s Love genre or does it have a broader appeal as well?
While the game is indeed a BL game, and BL fans and Otome game fans are the primary audience the game is aimed at, Rosemary House advertises the game for “both ladies and gentlemen”, so anyone can play the game if they feel inclined to!
The game appears to deal with sensitive topics, such as gender and identity in a lighthearted manner, what are the challenges in creating a localization for such a title?
The Rosemary House team gave us a reply after many backers expressed that same concern:
“From a global perspective, Japan is fairly behind the times when it comes to understanding homosexuality. The country doesn’t allow same-sex marriages, and because society views homosexuality negatively, many continue to keep their lives a secret.
This game in particular is tailored towards fujoshi, and is a fictional work that is not related in any way to these “real world” gender and sexuality issues. Naturally, there will be homosexual or bisexual people among our players, and we have worked to ensure that this game doesn’t include discriminatory remarks or comments. The characters do change bodies from male to female, but their hearts are still very much men; hence, their behaviors and speech patterns don’t change from what they originally were.
Magical Piece’s cast of characters worry about their romantic feelings towards other men, but in the end, realize that what really is important is not “being a man” or “being a woman”, but rather “being yourself”. All in all, this is a boys’ love game, so the romantic elements are primarily between two male characters, however, they do also talk about love between a man and woman, and love between a woman and another woman.”
We’re keeping in mind people’s concerns; they have not gone unheard!
Who is your favorite character in the game and why?
That would be Shiharu! He joined the Magical Pieces squad to find that he doesn’t have enough power to transform into a Witch like the others, so he cross-dresses as he goes into battles along the rest of the crew. He has this severe inferiority complex since he’s the lowest ranking Witch (Alice), and he wishes to become strong enough to become the most powerful Witch (Queen). He’s a truly interesting character, and I can’t wait to see more of him in the game!
With more and more visual novels appearing on Steam and in bundles, do you think the public or media’s perception about the genre has changed at all?
It’s definitely become more accepted these days. I remember years ago, people would often balk at the idea of playing a visual novel while asking “but that’s not really game, is it?” Now with popular visual novels like Nekopara available for all to play on Steam, that game genre has become more popular and appealing for people, so I think people have embraced it more than before.
If the Witch boy Magical piece Kickstarter is successful can we expect to see more BL games being localized this way?
That’s a possibility; however, we want to try and see what can be done to get the game released first before we think on any other possibility to work on.
What is the most unusual thing on your desk right now?
Here’s Space Ghost sitting at his own desk while accompanied by several owls. I dig figure-collecting, so I have quite the collection. I found Space Ghost at a local comic book shop, and I just HAD to get him for my desk!
The owls are “lucky owls” from Epcot’s Mitsukoshi shop in the Japan pavilion. Each color means something different. I just thought they were cute, so I picked up several of them. If you’re curious as to what the colors of the ones I chose symbolize:
- Yellow Owl: good fortune in wealth
- White Owl: good luck and happiness
- Green Owl: strength in academics
- Black Owl: protection from illness and evil spirits
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you all for your support and well wishes. We wish to pave the way for more localized BL games and Otome games available for fans, so we’ll do our best to provide those! Please lend us your support to make this vision a reality in order to give you all some awesome games to play and support!
A big thank you from our side to Nicole for taking the time to answer our questions. We urge all fans of the genre to head over to the Kickstarter page to show some support and to spread the word about this game.