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Old 2016-07-01, 00:57   Link #1
Marcus H.
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[NEWS] Short Story Contest Bans 'Traveling to an Alternate World' Fantasy

Short Story Contest Bans 'Traveling to an Alternate World' Fantasy

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Originally Posted by Anime News Network
One currently running Japanese short story contest, a collaboration between Bungaku Free Market and Shōsetsuka ni Narō, has apparently seen enough. The contest has announced that it will not be accepting any submissions with plots about "traveling to alternate worlds" or "being reincarnated into other worlds." According to the contest website, any genre is allowed, including fantasy, horror, and drama, but only alternate worlds are banned.
Has this happened before? And was Re:Zero the straw that broke the camel's back?
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Old 2016-07-01, 02:46   Link #2
Cerilla
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Isn't the entire Syosetsu's top novels are these reincarnation one?

I agree with the decision taken by the contest organizer. As it is right now, the premise ended up as a crutch for writer to write boilerplate story which doesn't sound interesting. If one serious about writing, a limitation or two in writing should not hinder them in writing good story.
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Old 2016-07-01, 02:57   Link #3
Marcus H.
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Based on the discussion on ANN, Narou already started dealing with isekai by excluding them from the default ranking page. Same person also stated that isekai (the exact tag, 異世界) counts for 56,000 search results out of ~400,000 entries total, and that the yearly rankings for Narou (as of last month) had 100 of the top 140 consist of isekai stories.
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Old 2016-07-01, 03:07   Link #4
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Good, not like I mind the genre overall but it reached a saturation point. The problem was not the genre itself, but the lack of quality of the stories inside it. And the protags were often defined by the waifus around him and whatever cheathaxxcode he have (to have a sample of it, the webnovels subforum is a start). Other than the occasional sleeper hits like Konosuba, seasons and future announcements felt like publishers were scraping the bottom of the barrel.

I'll elaborate a bit: while many feels it looks like outright censoriship, it may be more like "Hey guys, try SOMETHING DIFFERENT instead of the story inspired by this story that have been inspired by THAT story inspired by the story from back then!" The problem is that it seems that many writers in young adult literature, which is what light novels are, cant seem to do research outside of their comfort zone and think outside the box. Their universe is mostly fed off gaming, anime and those light novels.

Unfortunately, this may mean that the aspiring authors will turn to the other hot thing that sells like hot cakes: battle harem in magic/mecha musume highschool where the MC is different or have SOMETHIGN SPESSHUL!

Last edited by Sheba; 2016-07-01 at 05:55.
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Old 2016-07-01, 12:12   Link #5
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I have been seeing that theme pop up quite frequently lately. I think it's a plot device that is both unnecessary but also helps add a flare of comedy, given that the protagonist trying to interact with the new world as they would their own tends to make things funny for a while until the novelty dies down and it just sorta becomes another fantasy once they've accustomed to their place in that new universe.

I don't disagree with them banning it if they're seeing too much of it, though I almost feel that they should judge them anyways and just not have them win for lack of originality the moment they feel they haven't managed to pull off something truly unique off the idea.

For example, GATE could be considered this kind of story but the creative use of interaction between worlds and political clashes make it unique enough that something that could pull off the same feeling should be considered unique enough for consideration, I think.
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Old 2016-07-01, 22:30   Link #6
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I actually have mixed feelings on this.

A year ago, I might have enthusiastically agreed with this ban. And I realize that these types of LNs and anime shows have become even more commonplace over the last year, but... I also feel that they're gradually getting better at it, and doing a decent job of trying different approaches with it. I can't help but think that maybe someday soon they'll truly create a masterpiece with one of these types of LNs/anime shows.

GATE, Overlord, Grimgar, KonoSuba, Re:Zero... whatever you think of either of these shows, there's a decent degree of diversity among them. Tonally they vary a lot, the lead characters vary a decent amount, and the overall focus of these shows varies a lot.

There's significant criticisms I can make of all 5 shows, but each of these 5 shows also has some considerable strengths. And Re:Zero, the latest of these (at least in anime form), does strike me as the strongest of the 5 overall. Maybe somebody out there could take the best elements of multiple "Traveling to an Alternate World" stories, and piece them altogether into something truly wonderful.

I definitely think the otaku fandom - Or at least the portion of it that enters contests like this one - Really does need some strong encouragement to think more outside the box. That they should cut back on using certain premises and tropes as creative crutches, essentially. So I completely get and appreciate the intent behind this ban.

So on the whole, my take is similar to SethOfI's. Not ban this entirely, but make it known that if you as a contest entrant decide to go with "Traveling to an Alternate World", then you're going to have to make it extremely good to make up for going with such a commonly used premise.
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Old 2016-07-01, 22:48   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I actually have mixed feelings on this.

A year ago, I might have enthusiastically agreed with this ban. And I realize that these types of LNs and anime shows have become even more commonplace over the last year, but... I also feel that they're gradually getting better at it, and doing a decent job of trying different approaches with it. I can't help but think that maybe someday soon they'll truly create a masterpiece with one of these types of LNs/anime shows.

GATE, Overlord, Grimgar, KonoSuba, Re:Zero... whatever you think of either of these shows, there's a decent degree of diversity among them. Tonally they vary a lot, the lead characters vary a decent amount, and the overall focus of these shows varies a lot.

There's significant criticisms I can make of all 5 shows, but each of these 5 shows also has some considerable strengths.
Keep in mind that we as non-Japanese-speaking foreigners are only exposed to a small part of this isekai WN/LN phenomenon, and that the anime medium due to its larger scale has to play catch-up to popular trends. We don't see the whole picture just from looking at current anime adaptations of the few most popular isekai stories, and from what I'm heard it's very very likely that among untranslated web novels and light novels, the isekai genre *is* overloaded with poorly written insular garbage to the point of overshadowing other genres.

Hell, there's a chance that in the next few years the anime medium might catch up and we might see an overflow of isekai anime every season with the same writing quality of Infinite Stratos and the like, just like how we had battle harems like Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan and Gakuen Toshi Asterisk which are so uninspired that they seem to be ripping each other off.
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Old 2016-07-01, 22:57   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tempester View Post
Keep in mind that we as non-Japanese-speaking foreigners are only exposed to a small part of this isekai WN/LN phenomenon, and that the anime medium due to its larger scale has to play catch-up to popular trends. We don't see the whole picture just from looking at current anime adaptations of the few most popular isekai stories, and from what I'm heard it's very very likely that among untranslated web novels and light novels, the isekai genre *is* overloaded with poorly written insular garbage to the point of overshadowing other genres.

Hell, there's a chance that in the next few years the anime medium might catch up and we might see an overflow of isekai anime every season with the same writing quality of Infinite Stratos and the like, just like how we had battle harems like Rakudai Kishi no Eiyuutan and Gakuen Toshi Asterisk which are so uninspired that they seem to be ripping each other off.
Good points. So maybe the situation is more severe than what anime alone would make it seem.

And I guess one good thing that could come out of this is a helpful hand to the sci-fi genre. If I had a good "Traveling to an Alternate World" Fantasy story in mind, and I was told that this (sub)genre was now banned from consideration, then I might try to take the bulk of my story ideas and turn it into a sci-fi story.
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Old 2016-07-01, 23:02   Link #9
Cerilla
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An interesting take on these whole Isekai things and why they got so popular at Japan in the first place.
https://frogkun.com/2016/05/05/whats...ggers-explain/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus H. View Post
Based on the discussion on ANN, Narou already started dealing with isekai by excluding them from the default ranking page. Same person also stated that isekai (the exact tag, 異世界) counts for 56,000 search results out of ~400,000 entries total, and that the yearly rankings for Narou (as of last month) had 100 of the top 140 consist of isekai stories.
Thanks for the data. That is a lot.
I bet that some of them doesn't got catched by these tags which should inflate the number a bit more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SethOfI View Post
I don't disagree with them banning it if they're seeing too much of it, though I almost feel that they should judge them anyways and just not have them win for lack of originality the moment they feel they haven't managed to pull off something truly unique off the idea.
But that is the things. There are a lot of these kind of stories that the judge have to read, and the rather low barrier of entry to the contest doesn't help at all. Cutting of that one main source of bad writing will tremendously help reducing their work. There will be some good work that will fall under the crack, sure. But it is a risk worth taking IMO.
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Old 2016-07-02, 00:54   Link #10
Marcus H.
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And I guess one good thing that could come out of this is a helpful hand to the sci-fi genre. If I had a good "Traveling to an Alternate World" Fantasy story in mind, and I was told that this (sub)genre was now banned from consideration, then I might try to take the bulk of my story ideas and turn it into a sci-fi story.
Gotta wonder about the dwindling of sci-fi too. I don't believe that the recent discoveries in science (like being able to culture cells and growing entire vital organs from it and discovering more subatomic particles) can kill sci-fi due to its disconnect with normal society, and yet the closest thing we have to sci-fi are "near future" concepts like Kawamori's "The Next" and Kazuma Kamachi's "Heavy Object". (Gundam and other mecha shows should still count, but I sometimes consider them war/political dramas than sci-fi.) There's also the anime Dimension W, but no idea how it fared with the Japanese audience.

As for High Fantasy, maybe the Japanese are already sick of Dragon Quest-like scenarios—no thanks to isekai sometimes using DQ-like settings as a base—and the glory days of Slayers and other relevant "kingdom war record" series have lost since passed.

By the way, where does non-fiction stand in the LN scene?
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Old 2016-07-02, 01:27   Link #11
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This is nice.

Now everyone will try to copy sukasuka.

I think they also should have banned any oretueeee story. If you take the isekai out of an isekai work, then they could just make Danmachi and there would be little difference.
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Old 2016-07-02, 02:13   Link #12
Sheba
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This is nice.

Now everyone will try to copy sukasuka.

I think they also should have banned any oretueeee story. If you take the isekai out of an isekai work, then they could just make Danmachi and there would be little difference.
What's sukasuka?

From my understanding ORETUEEEE is about a protag so powerful that the entire universe fellate him. Right?
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Old 2016-07-02, 02:55   Link #13
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What's sukasuka?

From my understanding ORETUEEEE is about a protag so powerful that the entire universe fellate him. Right?
http://sneakerbunko.jp/series/shumatsu/ or Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka? Isogashii desuka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desuka?
it was almost canceled but word of mouth spread and now its a success mainly because of how well written it is.

Sure. OREtueeeeee is mainly just a badass protag with badass skillz. Usually makes it so they stomp everyone else. Just look at tate no yuusha, mushoku tensei, etc.
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Old 2016-07-02, 09:13   Link #14
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So, how about the main character was travelled to the future world, learn the future techniques, enjoying the future lifestyle only to get teleported back to his own world on later...which pissed him so much and now he is finding a way to go back to future world and he not longer care about girls in his era?

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Old 2016-07-02, 09:50   Link #15
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My feelings on this is that its a bad idea to just broad stroke exclude them, but in the context is fine because all the GOOD ones could actually transition easily to some other plot device with out any great loss.

I think most of the times I'm totally fine with it is when it's used in a very single-fire device to motivate why the character either has a special trait or has different thinking patterns compared to his pears (or why he has talent), something like: reincarnation with past memories intact (a sort of hardwork = next life talent style trope) or posession (character travels to another world and though some process either posses a character in that world or passes their knowledge to them). There's a few rare cases where it makes sense as the main plot device, such is the case with Re:Zero this season, but those are hit or miss (mostly miss). Re:Zero in particular shows how pulling from the "inter-deminetional traveler" plot-well just yield crappy character development, and is mostly saved by its other gimmicks and characters.

Series that dont fall into those two might as well be described as fanfiction where the author just slips himself into the story in the most shameless and convenient way possible. Nothing against the author having his persona in the story, but with out any other drive to the story it tends to end up being pretty egocentric story telling with little if any depth. When it's not that overbearing it just feals like the character in question is there as merely an observer which is also boring in and of itself.
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Old 2016-07-02, 10:36   Link #16
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This reminds me of when judges on The Voice or American Idol or whatever ban contestants from singing I believe I can fly, except here you're not perverting anything great but just making something perverted (ZING!). I want to believe the isekai stories are also subject to Sturgeon's Law rather than them being a crutch to roll the plot forward. Much the same way film adaptations of video games have a ray of hope these days instead of being impossible to make good. Or maybe we're just seeing too much of it; remember when Long Named Romantic Comedy Titles That Might Involve Imoutos Used To Be A Thing (Or Are They, I haven't Scanned a Hard Look at a Chart in a while)?

#isegate
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Old 2016-07-02, 10:42   Link #17
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Just when I thought of my own isekai style story
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Old 2016-07-02, 11:09   Link #18
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Even the publishers are done with seeing the same bullshit being told again and again.
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Old 2016-07-02, 11:35   Link #19
Sixth
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I am kinda agreed with this ban. I mean, just look at the web novel section, almost of the stories were about isekai, and many of them were extreme generic to read. While it was fun to see main character somehow cheated the system and stomping those fodders, but it starting get old when every fiction was doing it.

Can they just write a story about main character and HIS WORLD and how he is climbing the society ladder or something?
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Old 2016-07-02, 14:02   Link #20
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I am kinda agreed with this ban. I mean, just look at the web novel section, almost of the stories were about isekai, and many of them were extreme generic to read. While it was fun to see main character somehow cheated the system and stomping those fodders, but it starting get old when every fiction was doing it.

Can they just write a story about main character and HIS WORLD and how he is climbing the society ladder or something?
One word: Escapism.

As stated in a post here, Japanese labor sucks.

No Security of Tenure + Long Work Hours (as high as 50+ a week) + No Time For Self + Throwing Away Your Identity Just To Get Work and Keep It = Disaster for Young Japanese Workers
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