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Extra Experience Points

Naked Anime Games

Greg Chatham
September 13, 2000
 

I hate anime. Anime stole my girlfriend. Anime took her to Dragon Con, got her drunk, dressed her up in a Sailor Moon costume and had its tentacular way with her. Then it took pictures of them doing it and posted them on Yahoos "My Asian Girlfriend" club, knowing full well Id see the photos and download them to use as desktop wallpaper.

So I probably wasnt the best person to playtest Naked Anime Games (NAG). To this day, if I see someone wearing an otaku t-shirt, I cant decide whether I should hit him over the head with a mallet or open an animation-themed Mexican restaurant: O Taco.

I was also a bad choice for a playtester because Naked Anime Games is written by one of my enemies in the gaming industry. No, not Dragon Magazine or Justin Achilli--just a gamer whos writing his own role-playing game. He hates me because I asked him why the world needed another anime RPG when it already had Sailor Moon.

Since I found out he hates me, I have taken great joy in picking apart his game without ever having read it. When I was offered the chance to playtest the system and point out flaws that actually existed in the game, I was reluctant to do so. I only agreed when Isaac said hed allow me to play a Chow Yun Fat gunslinger who, whenever he fell down, flashed his panties.

I had never playtested a game before, unless you count Conspiracy X, which I playtested for $25 after buying it at my local game store. The session of Naked Anime Games came up on the spur of the moment, so I didnt get to read the rules except for those that pertained to character creation. I was a little put off by the games terminology, the author refers to the player characters as JAPS (Japanese Anime PersonaS), but thats the only problem I had time to find in the text. Im sure there were more.

Naked Anime Games tries to capture the flavor of that particular brand of anime I hate the most, the type the comes from Japan. This style, according to The Dummies Guide to Tenchi Muyo, is not only entertaining, it is a cultural exchange between our two countries. It a serious pursuit for people who dont realize that only teenagers watch these cartoons in Japan. Lame teenagers.

The game does have its merits. The latest revision brings back the monk and foreign barbarian characters from 1st Edition. It also greatly expands on the NAG magic system and now includes spells for priests. Magic-users are divided into 3 different JAPS-Did I say magic-users? I meant Magic Cops. Actually, I meant Japigicians. And those were Shinto Priests. All these terms have yet to be copyrighted and I welcome you to beat the author to it.

The powers in the game are all taken from a popular anime convention: KatsuCon 99. The book is missing the special ability to make everyone stick their tongue out or blush whenever my character fell down, but otherwise I couldnt think of anything the author left out. So I wrote down some powers that I never saw in anime and made up names for the series they came from.

I dont know how well the dice "mechanics" work. It took me 6 years to realize the White Wolf Storyteller system would never permit my players to get a success on a damage roll. Anyway, I just let Isaac roll the dice for me and tell me what happened.

The most unique aspect of NAG is how it captures the style of anime. When the game is in session the players can only speak in Japanese with subtitles or in dubbed English. There are separate rulebooks for each version, and though the dubbed rulebook is cheaper, otaku are expected to shell out the extra $10 to buy the subtitled ruleset. Each book is divided into 7, 44 page chapters, all retailing at $20 or $30 apiece. Bargain-hunting gamers will always be able to find Chapter 2, Table of Contents, at their local used bookstore, but the rest of the series will never show up.

I created my gunslinger in about an hour, complete with different panties for each day of the week. Brian had already made up his character, a steam-powered Hello Kitty.

Isaac made us start. We role-played the opening credits sequence first. We had to make up the lyrics to the love song ourselves, but got lots of experience points for it. Then we were in a bar.

ISAAC:
Youre in a bar! An old man comes up to you and

GREG:
I fall off the stool. Everyone in the bar turns to look and sees my panties! What day is it?

ISAAC:
Its Friday!

GREG:
Then they say "Monday" on them. And theyre pink! With flowers. And a hole near the right thigh.

BRIAN:
I blush, incapacitated.

ISAAC:
The old man laughs and red tentacles leap from his chest! He rips off your clothes!

BRIAN:
I help the old man!

GREG:
I call for Totoro, Duke of Wind!

ISAAC:
The old man says, "Totoro cannot save you now!" Then Totoro rushes into the room and saves you!

GREG and BRIAN:
Yay, Totoro!

ISAAC:
Now youre flying away!

BRIAN:
I shoot out my tentacles and rape Totoro!

All in all, it was a pleasant role-playing experience that recalled my early D&D days. Remember that time when we were attacked by the balls of flesh with mouths? Or when the DM kept shape-changing us into hot Drow maidens? 25th level multi-class ones, of course. Roll 5 times on the random magic items table for sexy treasures.

I came away from my playtesting experience with good things to say about the game and some bad things I made up, but I still dont see how Naked Anime Games is doing anything that Call of Cthulhu hasnt already done. And I still hate anime.

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What do you think?

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