Nutaku covertly censored dialogues to make rape scenes in free-to-play ero-RPG Kamihime Project R seem consensual, reneging on earlier promises.
Kamihime Project R is Nutaku's latest free-to-play ero-RPG from Japanese partner DMM, launched on 2/15/17. Such games, which have become increasingly popular in Japan, feature gameplay incentives sold for real money, sporadic gameplay, and lottery systems that resemble gambling. Nutaku launched their digital platform in December 2014 to bring these games to English-speakers, later expanding into downloadable titles. Kamihime Project R is currently Nutaku's #1 grossing and most popular free-to-play title, with turn-based RPG gameplay resembling Granblue Fantasy, animated erotic scenes, and social elements that encourage players to band together into guilds to defeat difficult raid bosses.
Nutaku censors again
Kamihime Project R is notorious for rape and soft netorare themes in many of its erotic scenes. Given Nutaku's past history of censorship of a wide variety of potentially offensive content, I was surprised that Nutaku released this game. Yet given that Nutaku had earlier promised to disclose any future alterations to games sold in its store, I was hopeful. And indeed, the potentially offensive content (loli, rape) seemed to be intact as I played through the game. Eventually I started skipping H-scenes and clicking through the dialogue faster than the voices were played, content that Nutaku had finally lived up to my expectations.
But as I revisited some of the H-scenes, a pattern of deliberate mistranslation began to emerge. I noted that the intro H-scene of Nutaku's Kamihime Project R had been badly mistranslated. After a few more scenes like this, I noticed a pattern: the mistranslations tended to occur in scenes with coerced sex, and typically involved cries of "No, stop it!" being replaced with "Please fuck me!" 'Pinned' appears to have been replaced with 'pined' in one scene. The resulting dialogue is so incoherent, the edits handled so hamfistedly, that even those without Japanese knowledge could spot that something is amiss.
To demonstrate one of the more egregious examples of ham-fisted editing, I translation-checked the introduction to Belphegor's first H-scene. You can view the text of the scene in its entirety at the link below.
Translation check of Belphegor's first H-scene in Nutaku's Kamihime Project R
The full extent of the changes made in the English version is currently unknown. I've spotted deliberate mistranslations in multiple H-scenes, including the game's intro scene, Belphegor's 1*, and Cybele's 3*. I can only spot mistranslations in scenes from characters I've unlocked, and only when the English dialogue doesn't match the Japanese female voices. Much of the scenes is not voiced, and I don't have most of the characters, and therefore what I've uncovered is possibly only the tip of the iceberg.
I reached out to Nutaku community coordinator Nordland for comment on Twitter at @nutakugames. She seemed sympathetic to my concerns and her response was encouraging. I present it below with light editing. She emphasized that the opinions expressed were her own and didn't necessarily reflect the official stance of Nutaku as a whole.
We have to change up any non-consent scenes. Because Rape is strongly forbidden, it would never pass compliance, and our payment processors would shut it down. It's either Kamihime with a few words changed, or no Kamihime at all.
I would hope that by now most people have a strong understanding that North American payment processors are strongly against any games containing non-consent/rape scenes.
Q: There is the matter that Nutaku [Public Relations Manager] Robert Mann promised in an interview [...] that any future censorship would be publicly disclosed before [or] at the time of release. Does Nutaku have plans to make this disclosure about Kamihime Project R, and any future titles with similar issues?
Unfortunately, Robert Mann is no longer with the company. He had a strong mandate to do just that, and we did support it wholeheartedly. I do believe that promise was overlooked since he's been gone, since he spearheaded that idea. I will bring it up with the person who has taken on his role, and see where they stand on the idea.
Message to readers
I encourage users who are concerned about these changes to confront Nutaku about it on Twitter and via both game support ticket and website support ticket. While users may or may not deserve a censorship-free experience, they DO deserve to be told when changes to the games have been made to comply with regulations, and Nutaku has failed to meet this obligation.
You can also follow me on Twitter for updates on eroge censorship.