Retoruto and Kiyo are two of the most successful gaming commentators (known as game jikkyousha) in Japan, but you probably have never heard of them. Let’s get to know them one by one, shall we?
I don’t watch any other gaming commentary (known as game jikkyou douga) other than Japanese ones and so I can’t say for sure how Japanese commentators compare to English-speaking ones. What I do know, is that Retoruto and Kiyo’s videos gave me countless hours of fun and laughter, improved my Japanese, and allowed me to get to know many great Japanese games which I otherwise wouldn’t have known. I know about all the famous Japanese doujin (indie) horror games thanks to them. Some examples are : “Ib”, “Mad Father”, “The Witch’s House”, and “Ao Oni”. Those who can understand Japanese to some extent and love Japanese games will likely enjoy watching their videos very much. Who knows, you might even be tempted to play some of those games yourself.
Retoruto (pictured left) is a Kyoto-born jikkyousha best known for his witty humor, deep knowledge of and extreme devotion to games. He often plays games without using any guides, and will restart a game from scratch if he misses even just one ending. Retoruto started his jikkyou career on Niconico Douga, but now also has a Youtube channel.
Ib is a horror/puzzle game set in an art museum. The player controls nine-years-old Ib as she solves puzzles and attempt to escape the museum. This game is made on RPG Maker 2000 by Kouri. There are countless other doujin games of this genre out there, but Ib is one of the most famous.
This is Retoruto’s most viewed series. With more than 17 million views over 15 parts, this is one of the most viewed series of video on Niconico Douga itself.
What I enjoy so much about watching Retoruto’s Ib, as well as his other horror game videos, is that Retoruto has the ability to make everything seem funny even in a horror game. Also, as the videos are on Niconico Douga, there are user comments that stream across videos. Often there will be advance warnings in red font given by other users before a jump scare. This makes horror game videos much more easier to watch. Most users are Retoruto fans, and they often tease Retoruto for his poor gaming skills in a friendly manner. Such things also add to the video. I recommend watching jikkyou videos on Niconico Douga rather than on Youtube, and definitely with comments on, because this is the one thing that makes Japanese jikkyou different from other languages.
I recommended Ib first before it was the first Retoruto series that I watched, and it got me hooked on his videos. Since then I have watched more than 200 of his videos. As it is his most famous series, it’s as good a place to start as any.
Other great horror game jikkyou videos by Retoruto :
Mad Father : http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm19561060
Nanashi no Game : http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm22773534
Night Cry : http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm28526136
Pachipro Fuunroku 5 Seishunhen
This series is my personal favourite. I have never heard of this game until I saw Retoruto play it, but I have since become quite fond of the game’s developing company, Irem Software Engineering. This is a side-game available in the PS2 pachinko game “Pachipara 13 ~Super Umi To Pachipro Fuunroku”. The main game is simply Japanese pachinko.
The “side-game” is an open world RPG with bishoujo game elements. The game revolves around the central theme of a “Pachipro”, short for pachinko pro, someone who makes a living playing pachinko. However, the player can go around solving people’s problems, buy and wear different clothes, try to court girls, or even build a super bike that fires lasers (no kidding). It’s an open world RPG of day-to-day life as a young Japanese man. What I really love about this game is also what Irem Software Engineering is well-known for – inappropriate and comedic reactions for players to choose from in various situations.
For example, during a romantic scene between the main character and a love interest, a player is presented with choices such as “confess your love” or “kiss her”, which are perfectly normal in a bishoujo game of course, but then there will also be totally inappropriate choices such as “jump into the sea”, or “slap her”.
This is a screenshot of Fuunroku 6. The main character wakes up surrounded by people who saved him from drowning. He is told that the girl in tank-top saved him. Five responses are available :
1) Thank you for saving me.
2) In return for saving me, here's a kiss...
3) I wanted to be saved by that chick over there...
4) You should have just left me alone!
5) I don't care. I'm so hungry!
Got a rough idea yet?
Retoruto will almost always pick the most ridiculous choices available, which make for some really funny moments. That, coupled with his already funny commentaries, makes this series this most enjoyable one in my opinion.
Irem Software Engineering is playful with not just the Fuunroku games, but also with other games like Zettai Zetsumei Toshi (Disaster Report in English), which Retoruto also did.
Other funny game jikkyou videos by Retoruto :
Zettai Zetsumei Toshi 3 : http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm12000746
Pachipro Fuunroku 4 Gintama Satsujin Jiken : http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm23256568
For those interested to see more of Retoruto’s videos, here are the lists.
List with all part 1 videos of long series : http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/16254406
List with all videos of shorter series : http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/16269807
I hope you will enjoy Retoruto’s game jikkyou videos as much as I do. Perhaps you do like the idea of game jikkyou but Retoruto’s style isn’t your cup of tea? There are many, many game jikkyousha out there; each one plays different games, has different commentary styles as well as different sense of humour. You are free to explore and find the ones you like. Enjoy!