Alright, you all asked for it. Right from the designer of Maid RPG, Ryo Kamiya. Here it is.
Yuuyake Koyake, Part 1
It's like Maid RPG (in that it's a rules-light anime-themed system built for oneshots) and Changing Breeds (in that play is centered around animal people), but instead of anime tropes run rampant or Skill Focus: Fucking the Dog, you have supernatural powers and the magic of friendship. This is what you'd get if ADTRW and Pet Island teamed up to make a game.
The book isn't (yet) available in English, but I did manage to get an unfinalized translation courtesy of a friend. It's definitely getting an official English release, though.
The book opens with a foreword explaining what RPGs are, how you play them, and generally what you'd expect out of an RPG preface. Nothing too special here. After this, we move on to the first of four chapters.
Spring, Part 1
Every chapter is named after a season. Spring tells us what the game is about. It starts off with a brief passage called "In a Certain Town". Kamiya's authorial voice has done a pretty drastic shift from what we saw in Maid RPG where he was lamenting his life decisions.
Only a single rail line passes through it. A two-car train comes every hour, and no more. In front of the station are a row of shops not seen anywhere else. Many of the roads around the town are narrow, too small for cars to pass. Some of them are mere dirt paths, used by cats and rabbits more than people.
You can see open fields here and there. The rice paddies outnumber the houses. If you look into the distance, you’ll see only mountains and trees. Narrow rivers flow from mountains, from ponds, gathering into one big river. The water flows in, the water flows away.
There are temples and shrines, empty and quiet. Bamboo groves filled with whispering wind. There are endless fields of pampas grass, flower beds, fields of lotus flowers and clover. There are ponds with lotus flowers, footpaths with blooming amaryllis, and stone walls sprouting morning glories. The mountains retain their caps of white snow, even when spring comes to the town.
The sky seems endless. At night there are no streetlights. In this town the moon and the stars shine brightly on the town.
There are only a handful of traffic lights in the town. The tallest building is a three-story school.
The town is full of sounds . The sounds of leaping fish, of playing children, of the mailman’s motorcycle, of the print shop’s spinning machines. There are the sounds of dogs, cats, birds, and insects. There are sounds of flowing water, blowing wind, and falling rain.
Here, there are many things livelier than the people.
Here, the other living things outnumber the people.
This is the kind of town where you will create stories.
The Japanese designer or the American translator/editor?
Okay. It’s been a while, so if you need a refresher, here’s a link to the
first Yuuyake Koyake post
Now let’s move on.
Yuuyake Koyake Part 2: Henge Types
Yuuyake Koyake’s a light-hearted game where you play animals who can take human form. There are six types: Foxes, raccoon dogs (which I’ll call tanuki because I’m used to it), cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds. Each section here is told from the point of view of one of these henge describing themselves and their kind. They don’t all get an equal amount of coverage, and I think it’s because some of them carry a lot more cultural weight than the others. Anyway, let’s begin.
Suzune Hachiman introduces herself as a fox who appears to be “a girl of mere ten and one” in human form, but is actually over 300 years old. She speaks very formally. She mentions that foxes have lived in the town for far longer than any other henge, and a number of her kind have shrines. Foxes are the nobility of the henge world, and have a closer relationship to the local gods. However, since they don’t tend to get their hands dirty, they don’t have skill with a lot of “trivial matters.” They have people who do that for them.
On further talk, she mentions that:
- As an animal, she has beautiful fur with a body two shaku long and a tail one shaku long. Shaku being an archaic unit of measurement about a foot long.
- She considers herself beautiful, and is proud of it. She hates being called cute, especially by people younger than her.
- Her clothes aren’t out of date. It’s people these days who just keep chasing the latest fads in fashion.
- She hasn’t hunted in ages, but has mostly been living off of peoples’ offerings. She doesn’t think she’s lost any of her edge, though.
- Foxes have long lifespans, and they get bored. They crave human companionship, and that’s why there are so many stories about fox-human relationships in Japanese mythology.
Raccoon Dog (Tanuki)
I don’t actually have too many images. Please accept these as a substitution.
Riko is a 3-year old tanuki that can transform into a 13 year old kid. She’s been able to transform for an entire year. Tanuki are the masters of transformation, turning into anything and anyone they want to. Tanuki reach adulthood at two years. They don’t really have territory, so everyone gets along, and sometimes at night, they go to the town to look for food. They look like raccoons, but their tails are shorter, and they’re fluffier. Riko grudgingly admits that tanuki are also fatter. She wears black-rimmed glasses because tanuki have tanuki have black patches of fur around their eyes.
Kuromi is a cat. She’s 15, both in human form and as an actual cat. She doesn’t think being a henge puts her above other cats. Cats are still cats. She will do whatever she wants. She’ll help someone or ignore them based entirely on her own whims, and she’ll take whatever she wants depending on how she feels. You can usually get an okay idea of how she feels by looking at her tail. She doesn’t like being treated like a pet because she only hangs around if she feels like it. Lastly, she hates stories about monster cats because stories like those tend to stir up trouble for cats.
I have to say that I was expecting her to act a lot more like a usual “anime catgirl” and be all affectionate and playful, but no. She does not give a single damn about anything.
Koro Tanaka is a 5-year old dog, and turns into a 12-year old human. She’s clumsy, and she’s proud of her collar that her master gave her. Dogs are always hanging around people, so dogs are really into making new friends and getting along with people. Some dogs have masters, others don’t. They’re incredible diverse in terms of size and color too. Koro loves chasing her tail and going for walks. Dogs are descended from wolves, and unlike dogs, they’re big and scary. There aren’t any wolves around town, but deep in the mountains, they still live, and some have become local gods.
Amami is a rabbit. She isn’t a year old yet, but she can turn into a 7-year old girl. She hates being alone. In Japan, there’s this idea that rabbits will die if they get lonely, so it ends up playing a large part in YK. Anyway, rabbit henge are good at making dreams come true. Amami has white fur and red eyes, and she likes to wear cute clothing, even if none of the other henge tend to care about fashion. Her feet don’t have any pads on them, and says that if you want to touch paw pads, you should ask a cat instead. (In Japan, there’s this fixation on cat paw pads. I don’t know what’s up with that.) Amami’s also a fast runner. She prefers spinach and lettuce over carrots. Lastly, she thinks the rabbit in the moon (Japanese mythological figure) must be really lonely.
Finally, we have Sarah the bird. She’s got no idea how old she is, and she’s a bit scatterbrained. In other words, bird henge are a bit flighty. har har . Birds live up in the trees and the sky, so they don’t quite understand people who have to live on the ground. Sarah’s caused a bit of trouble with her misunderstandings and generally weird behavior.
Birds are a diverse species. They like to sing. There are some flightless birds, though Sarah’s never met a flightless bird henge. However, considering her ability to remember things, she might have met one and totally forgotten. This probably means chicken or kiwi henge are totally okay. Birds love to fly, though. Every once in a while, migratory birds fly into town. Sarah mentions the migratory ones remember her whenever they visit, but she doesn’t, so it might be that Sarah’s just a particularly bird-brained example of the henge.
There’s a few more things, but nothing too notable. You get the general idea. Hopefully the next update should come soon. Again, sorry about that delay.
Oh, and have a fox picture.
I'm probably getting a little ahead of myself, but after this is done, I might write about the official Pokemon RPG. Yes, one existed. It was built for kids, and didn't label itself an RPG. Came in a box, and there was supposed to be a series of them, but while a few were designed, only one actually made it to stores. That's the one I'm planning to look at.