Sunday, December 27, 2009

"That CoroCoro feel"

Once, on the Janime boards, there was a discussion concerning what made YGO different from other monster-battling franchises. One poster replied that YGO did not have "that CoroCoro feel."

This made sense to me, even back then, but it often comes up in arguments against YGO being placed alongside Pokémon. It should probably be addressed in detail here, if only so that the issue can be resolved once and for all.

For those unfamiliar with Japanese comic standards, CoroCoro is a kodomo ("children's") serial comic book publication. Two of its most notable titles are Doraemon (not a Digimon) and Pokémon. (Duel Masters is also a CoroCoro property.) In this case, the 'CoroCoro feel' applies to many other series, even if they are not serialized in CoroCoro. The "feel" comes from status as a kodomo series.

So, apparently what makes YGO stand out is that it appeals to the more mature shounen demographic- boys of ages 10-18. Shounen manga is known for high-action scenes, funny plots, and a focus on teamwork. Fanservice is not a necessity, but common (and can be seen in some kodomo series as well). Shounen Jump and pretty much anything else with "Jump" in the name appeals to this demographic.

Besides YGO, several other card games are technically shounen. Digimon, as many people know, was intended for an older demographic than Pokémon. Insofar as I can tell (after looking up stuff on Sgt. Frog- don't ask), Battle Spirits is also shounen. You could have fooled us with the animé, which looks a LOT like Duel Masters. Naruto is from the exact same manga publication as YGO; if the issue is with CoroCoro, the fact that DBZ with ninjas also has a card game makes the argument about YGO being a unique shounen series moot.

There is nothing really special about YGO being a shounen card game as opposed to a kodomo one. Hell, Japan has a few card games with an even higher maturity level.

What's the difference, then?

4Kids is treating a shounen series like a kodomo one - not cool! There have been plenty of other card games in this demographic, but many have flopped over here in the States. Because it was effectively a wolf in sheep's clothing, not only did it get censored like crazy, it managed to slip under the "all (Japanese) card games are for children" radar. Of course it has a different feel than Pokémon; it's not supposed to be Pokémon at all. It's supposed to be a watered-down version of M:tG.

The wolf called YGO was de-clawed, had its teeth filed down, and now has to eat grass like a sheep as well as dressing as one. Yes, this does mean that YGO is officially a children's card game. It is handled by 4Kids. The name alone should tell you that its intended audience is children.

Is it a 'children's card game' in Japan? Not really. Everywhere that has the mark of 4Kids? Congrats. You got a grass-eating wolf. If you can pick it out from the flock of sheep, good for you, but there is nothing that will change it now.

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