Why My Favorite JRPG Isn't Even Japanese

One of the editors over at RPGFan has penned an editorial describing exactly why he thinks Ion Storm's Anachronox stands out as one of the greatest JRPG-style video games of all time.
My favorite JRPG is not even Japanese. Seriously. Sure, the scores accompanying my library of reviews may tell a different story, but if asked what my favorite JRPG is, I would say Anachronox (by defunct US developer Ion Storm) without hesitation. If I had a gun to my head and was forced to get rid of every JRPG I owned except for one, I would keep Anachronox.


Although I've played a lot of great throwback-style JRPGs from independent developers, I would like to see them go beyond refining standard JRPG conventions. I'd like to see them also reinvent, redefine, reinterpret, rewrite, and/or just plain shatter those age-old conventions. One trait that made me love Anachronox so much was that though it played like a Japanese RPG, the storyline, character archetypes, writing, and visual style were distinctly American. In these key areas, Anachronox did not try to copy or emulate Japanese conventions, making the experience feel genuine rather than being the equivalent of that "weeaboo" kid in school who acts like an anime character in order to "become" Japanese.

I am sure there are scenario writers who love JRPGs, but are tired of JRPG character relationships never going beyond the level of superficial kindergarten crushes. I would like to see them write a script where the character relationships are more fleshed out, mature, and believable, with teenage and/or adult characters that speak and behave like believable teenagers and/or adults respectively. Maybe an artist tired of the glut of stock fantasy trappings can create a vibrant modern, contemporary, or post-modern setting; a setting not used often enough in RPGs.
Anachronox is excellent, Demon's Souls is excellent. Shake up those JRPG conventions more often, developers.