Of tropes, readers and storytellers

Binge-read the fifth book of Maoyu Maoh Yuusha for the umpteenth time tonight. 今天晚上第不知道多少次再次高速阅读了《魔王勇者》第五集。

The appendix had the author of the book discussing creating novels with the author of novelizations of Earthbound and Dragon Quest. 附录中该书的作者与《Mother》 《勇者斗恶龙》小说版的作者谈论创作小说。

《魔王勇者》是一部很奇特的小说。Maoyu is a strange novel. Originally posted on 2channel (which is like 4chan), it’s a story about the Hero and the Demon King (who’s female, and an economist) together, trying to save the world from war and economic ruin. 最早贴出在 2channel 上,它是一个勇者和魔王 (女性、经济学家) 一起试着拯救战火和经济垮台中的世界的故事。更加奇特的是,这是一部没有旁白,没有叙述,只有对话、音效和场景切换的小说,也就是剧本体。而人物的名字则是例如 “勇者”“魔王”“年轻商人”“总管”这样的职位名字。Even stranger, it has no narrations, no descriptions, only dialogue, sound effects and scene changes, in other words, a novel in the form of a screenplay. And the names of all the characters are titles like “Hero”, “Demon King”, “Young Merchant”, “Butler”. But, Richard Eisenbeis writes for Kotaku that while these prototypical roles, who are familiar to many gamers and readers, start out generic, soon they develop into deep characters in this unconventional story. 这些玩家和读者无比熟悉的角色,在这不寻常的故事中,很快就发展成了相当惊喜的人物。

The discussion observed that creating an engaging story is the work of both the writer and the reader. 谈话中提到创作令人不能自拔的故事,要作者和读者配合完成才行。所以真希会尽量拿出读者服务精神,作为作者主动把手伸过去,尽力能够拿出读者脑中已有的概念,让读者能够感受到例如“啊,魔王大人好可爱”。So Mamare would make an effort in fanservice, extend his hands as an author trying hard to invoke the existing concepts in the reader’s mind, and let the reader feel, for example, “oh, Her Majesty the Demon Queen is so adorable”.

To me this is a strange way to use the word fanservice. “读者服务”一词这样用我觉得很奇怪。一般“读者服务”总觉得有些“让读者简单的满足”的感觉,例如绘胸大的女孩子。Usually “fanservice” has that “satisfy the reader with the most expedient way possible” feel, like drawing a girl with a full buxom. Here though the word is used to describe something else. 但这里“读者服务”似乎指的是别的什么。

Tvtropes.org (a massive time-waster, never go there) is a wiki, that analyzes and catalogues elements of story telling, many which a creator can rely on the viewer respond in some way. The wiki calls those elements tropes. TvTropes.org (绝对的浪费时间,不要去那里) 是一个 wiki,主要分析整理讲故事中的元素,其中很多元素创作者可以有信心地预计观众会如何反应。With all this discussion about storytelling, it’s disappointing the page of the Maoyu characters is mostly based on how they are portrayed in the comic, instead of the novel, since it has never been translated into English. 可惜的是,虽然小说的附录有这么多关于讲故事的讨论,这个分析故事网站的《魔王勇者》的角色描述页基本上是根据漫画而不是小说完成的,因为小说从来没有被翻译成英文过。

But you can watch the anime on Crunchyroll. And you should. 但是(在北美)动画可以在 Crunchyroll 上观看。你也应该看看。

And Log Horizon, also by Mamare, is available in English in book and dubbed animation, so check that out too. 同为真希作的的《记录的地平线》,小说和动画都有英文版,也可以看一看。

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