The debate over which is the true role-playing game (RPG) and which was influenced by which has been going on for decades. With the rise of so-called Western RPGs over the last few years and the fall of the Japanese gaming industry the distinction has become larger and the debate that much louder.
Western RPG fans have maintained that their model offers true "role-playing"—control a character and take him or her (mostly him) through an adventure controlling how you interact with the world. Japanese RPG fans have trumpeted the importance of story and unique characters (though mostly teenagers) and their experience in a larger overarching story.
With such seemingly opposite takes on the genre, the argument usually devolves down to proponents of each genre arguing that theirs is the best example of "role-playing." Extra Credits dares to jump into the fray to see is one group is right, or perhaps if one is more right than the other or maybe even if both are wrong. Clearly it's not an easy task or it wouldn't be broken up into three parts.
Source: Extra Credits on Blip