Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: August 11th, 2018
I’ve made a series of 5 articles talking about what was coming and made a series of updates in the following months and it seems that what many of us feared would happen has begun. Here we have an article from Game Revolution that criticises Japanese games for fanservice and attacks fans as well; covering all its bases. So what’s so special about it, hardly a first, right? You would be wrong. The piece was featured by Google (It was literally the first thing you saw if you typed in “Fanservice” on Google):
So this is a serious push and the article’s content is nothing to ignore either. I dare say it marks the moment when the mainstream media begins to openly attack Japanese entertainment; granted, related to video games but for how long? You would have to be naive to believe that this won’t affect anime in the slightest.
On with the article. First off, the title is pretty self-explanatory and requires no analysis: Why Games Shouldn’t Pander to Fan Service and Toxic Fandoms. For those unaware, social engineering and the GamerGate movement that pushes back against it have caused a major slump in the sales of many Western games (Especially AAA big hitters), many of whom were from previously profitable franchises that decided to serve propaganda instead of art (Mass Effect: Andromeda anyone?). This has caused an avalanche of interest in Japanese games, which offer unique and different content not afraid to give fans what they want, that are soaring in popularity to higher levels than previously seen and this of course did not go unnoticed nor well with the establishment:
Look, I really love my Japanese games, and love that they’re having a renaissance, long may it continue. But there’s a pernicious part of Japanese games that will always cause eye-rolls, and that’s fanservice.
While about games, anime has not escaped the author’s attention:
As a term, ‘fanservice’ originated in Japanese anime and manga, which extends to anime-style games.
Anyways, it continues by explaining that fanservice is about giving the fans what they want and establishes its sexual nature. He then goes on to claim that Japanese fanservice is different than Western one for being “Particularly questionable”. Following this, he takes what is perhaps the most hilarious example of “Tasteless” fanservice (Compared to what’s available) to make his point: Shining Resonance Refrain. He then takes the series’ strong and independent female cast and reduces and objectifies them by claiming that because their sexuality is featured in the game, this somehow diminishes their worth. No, he’s serious. Hey, Alan Wen, if you dismiss a women because of what she wears or because she’s not afraid of her sexuality, then you’re the sexist. You might want to work on that.
The next phase is called “Criticism is Not Censorship”. Given their previous history, their feeling the need to mention it means that it pretty much is. Writing hit pieces and pushing them hard in media leads to company noticing and leads to pressure on the creators and they know it. Or as One Angry Gamer puts it:
The editorial states that it’s just criticizing the fandom and not calling for censorship, but we’ve seen these kind of tactics in the past and it has inevitably led to lots of censorship. In fact, it’s led to so much censorship that sexy female characters are no longer even featured in Western gaming media.
He then attacks fans by calling them “Horny 14-year old boys” (Ignoring that actual 14 year old boys might actually be the target demographic as well) and questions why this sort of content would be released, even as DLCs (Implying that even as optional, this is no longer appropriate content for a game; but hey, no call for censorship right?).
He pursues with a joke:
I’m not trying to be puritanical.
Then moves on to call Dead or Alive 6‘s move to censor their game “A sign of maturity” in spite of the fact that all indications and precedents suggest that by giving the finger to their fanbase, the game has essentially made certain its potential profit margin is bleak at best.
He then tip-toes around the issue of who the content is aimed for to avoid offending lesbians and bisexuals (You know, people who actually find this content enjoyable and have said so in the past) but ultimately dismisses them and their tastes by claiming that these types of games are made for men (The male gaze is what he said precisely). Which is a ridiculous argument because even if true, being aimed primarily at women has never stopped men from enjoying bishonen stories, so why should girls care who it was aimed at if they enjoyed it? Moreover, straight women will also enjoy this type of fanservice and care for the characters displaying it, as evidenced by anyone whose ever seen how many women actually cosplay sexy characters; it’s sort of like how straight men like macho characters who go shirtless, they admire them even if they don’t have the hots for them. But the subtlety of multi-dimensional tastes is too much for a game journalist, unfortunately.
Next up he says:
Even the latest Persona dancing spin-offs include a VR viewing mode that allows upskirt angles. It’s not known how the Western localization will handle this, but considering the PS4 version has the equivalent of an M rating in Japan, imagine having to explain why that is. It’s enough to alienate fans who just want to either enjoy a good rhythm game or spend time with their favorite characters and not perv on them.
It does take a rather impressive level of arrogance to assume that every game has to be aimed at you or that optional features should be removed because of your personal hangups.
So we finally come to the inevitable attack on the fandom:
Point being, a fan is anyone who just really likes someone or something (look it up, if you must). But when an issue like this comes up, self-appointed gatekeepers reveal the worst side of fandom when they don’t get ‘what they want.’
Long story short, when people who actually enjoy a product don’t appreciate this product any longer and complain (You know, consumerism and feedback), they “Reveal the worst side of the fandom”. He then follows this by talking about localisations of games having removed content and the followed “Cries of censorship”… If content is removed from an existing game, then we are not talking about “Not getting what you want” there Alan. Removing existing content to prevent people from having access to it is censorship, whether you agree with it or not. For further reference, game journalists get particularly angry when people also do not buy a game that features their political agenda or heavy censorship. So it’s not just fans being angry “For not getting what they want”, if fans happen to be the primary consumers of a game and speak with their wallet, that is also not acceptable to them (As seen with The Last Jedi, Ghost Busters reboot, marvel comics, Battlefield 5…).
Just look to the subset of people behind #RemakeTheLastJedi or the supporters of ‘Comicsgate’. They would have you believe that they are the ‘real’ fans, protecting their hobbies from outside forces with political agendas.
When an entire brand’s comics are redesigned with the same sociopolitical propaganda that is being pushed at every level of society (Societal, political and educational) from outside activists and pressure groups in multiple countries across the world and a campaign is launched to disparage and attack anyone who disagrees with the new content, then there is an agenda. A political one. You would have to be blind not to see it.
What’s really been happening is that times have changed…
Then explain the slumping sales of any who “Gets with the agenda”. Or more aptly put: Get woke, go broke!
…these franchises are loved by more people. And hey, guess what, they’re a diverse bunch.
Indeed. And anyone who followed GamerGate and ComicsGate will know that women and minorities were fighting alongside the so called “Traditional fans” because they too do not like and actually feel insulted, by the forced agenda. This is why DC Comics, which have been introducing “Diverse” characters in a natural and respectful way, have gotten to dominate the comics market while Marvel, who insulted its fans and destroyed established characters to allow gender-reversed or ethnic-changed versions of the same characters to ride the existing heroes’ popularity (Which is actually pretty insulting to women and minorities, when you think about what they did and what it says: You need a white male character’s legacy to be successful; like seriously!), led to a massive sales slump and multiple comics cancelled.
…anime, games, sci-fi or comics can be anyone, not just a straight white dude with serious insecurity issues?
I love the blatant racism and personal attack, classy “Journalism” there; I’m using the term journalism loosely of course.
The downside is that this pandering ultimately stifles any possible innovation for fear of upsetting the fragile fandom.
Niche fandoms usually feature the most creative and diverse content out there. It is mainstream that has a reputation for cookie-cutter formulas to “Appeal to everyone” and never upset the “Potential profit margin” with something as trivial as originality, which leads to studios with such impressive creative diversity as Disney.
As it stands, fanservice looks retrograde, conservative, and just plain boring.
His definition of conservative seems to clash with pretty much everyone else’s. I must have missed the point where conservatives became the sexually free, hot outfit loving folks. Or perhaps the left having become as puritanical as the right is leading to some cognitive dissonance as they run out of boogeymen to cast blame on? Anyways, next is a video by appabend that pretty much explains in great details how ridiculous this article is:
Ultimately, this piece can be considered the opening salvo of what will be an ugly battle over artistic integrity and the fan community vs. the radical and conforming agenda of political correctness, now squarely setting its sights on Japan.
Source: Article Image: Shining Resonance Refrain character shot
Political Correctness, Again!
First we have a Study Breaks article attempting to pretend that anime is “woke” based on a generous reinterpretation of various series’ themes. If it’s so “Woke” then you and the other SJWs should have no problem leaving it alone then. The article does tell us, however, how they have already begun to infect the community:
Anime lovers, in the past few years, have banded together to join their anime fandom and social justice activism. Non-profit organizations, such as Anime For Humanity and Woke Weebs, curate events and discuss varying issues of sexism, racism, ableism and mentalism through anime programs.
These “woke” anime fan groups have developed into community organizations that bring anime fans, community leaders and industry professionals together to meet, connect and collaborate.
Let that sink in without getting a chill. Anyways, the article also attempts to hijack anime’s stellar portrayal of various issues (Such as mental illness or racism) as somehow part of the “Woke” movement, even though such themes are usually tackled with taste and refinement within anime and rarely feature any of the sociopolitical posturing that Western media do (When was the last time a Japanese creator self-congratulated himself and stopped to tell the fans how “Good” he was for tackling an issue for the sake of it).
For those familiar with the Battlefield 5 controversy, there has been development. For a refresher, the game advertised itself as an accurate look at historical World War II but then altered so much as to look cartoony at best and further altered it with socio-political content for the sake of being “On the right side of history”. One of the worst sticking point is how they inaccurately depicted women as being on the front lines of the war, which was not only inaccurate for the time but also insulting to women, as the creators of the game could have used the real women who did fight during the war (Largely in militias and rebel groups) but ignored them instead for fictional women who were not there in a game advertising itself as historically pertinent. A lot of the franchise’s fanbase were not having it and decided to give honest criticism over the issue, only to be censored. The sub-reddit for the game has now made it clear that you can no longer discuss you criticism of the game, in the sub-reddit for the game:
Originally posted by Sloth_on_meth
We’re done, its over. New rule: No more bitching about historical accuracy, it’s a game, not a history book. Violatons will have consequences.
…we get that y’all have valid criticism about battlefield V and the customisation options within the game. Sadly, this subreddit has proven to be unable to have a civil discussion about these things without devolving into name calling and slapfights.
…Hate us all you want but we’re done with this bullshit. This issue has been discussed in a million threads but we’ve never been brigaded more than we have in the past months. Admins can only keep up with so much. We’re done wasting our time on this, every point has been made, no you’re not sexists or whatever, but this is just repetitive now.
Meanwhile, Boon Cutter, game developer, decided to go and attack gamers because, why not?
Originally posted by Boon Cutter
If you’re so socially and culturally inept that the option to play a video game as a female gets you all worked up in a frothy nerdrage:
My name is Boon, I make games, but not for people like you. Your kind is done, mate. Do everyone a favour and fuck off. You’re embarrassing.
The most cringeworthy aspect of all this shit is the ridiculous narrative that game developers are all held to ransom by the oppressive choke hold of the “SJW agenda”.
Truth: We actually WANT to make good games, inclusive games, games that disregard your toxic gamerbro bullshit.
Basically, this was aimed at everyone who doesn’t like the SJW agenda and who thinks games would be better without social engineering. When people got angry at being once again demonised because they like playing games, not sitting down for a good session of brainwashing, they decided to let Cotter know how they feel, which prompted him to respond:
Originally posted by Boon Cotter
Hang on. I’m telling people who are “frothy nerdrage” to go fuck themselves. The type who comment “fucking gay gross” and “sjw propaganda” on our trailer. Surely you know the type? They’re pretty hostile. It seemed an appropriate response. Sorry if you took this personally.
Attacking gamers and portraying them as sexist and racist has become a signature of game journalists and SJW developers who refuse to accept the failure and rejection of their political agenda in games.
Censorship and Other
The mobile strategic game Girls’ Frontline is going to be heavily censored in the English release, apparently, even more than the Chinese version. You know its bad when you get Chinese-level censorship, you know something is seriously wrong when you’re hoping for Chinese-level censorship. The changes are largely altering the character designs to eliminate cleavage, short skirts and other sexually revealing elements. All demands for answers on the game’s official Enlgish Twitter account have gone completely ignored. Worst of all, the Chinese version, which had some minor censorship as well, included a workaround to access the uncensored version, a workaround removed by the English localizers. Take a minute to think about this, we are at a point where video games are being censored in the West to a degree higher than China, a country where censorship is administered by a communist, authoritarian government. If this doesn’t let you know there is something seriously wrong in our modern industry then nothing will.
The Yakuza games’ remaster of Yakuza 3, 4 and 5 is set to feature cut/altered content due to the “Current social climate” but it seems that it is a “Japan thing” this time around as overseas fans have just been told they may get uncut content.
You guys remember James Gunn, well it seems the establishment really like the guy because even more celebrities are coming out of the woodwork to defend him and his behavior. First we have Dave Bautista saying it feels “Nauseating” to work for a company that would “Empower a Nazi smear campaign” (Really though, Gunn was fired for making multiple “Jokes” supporting child abuse, not because of who pointed them out or the agenda they had). Kurt Russell also chimed in, saying “It’s sad. But it’s a part of our fabric now and I get it…”. He further added “But I do think we’re getting a little too sensitive on maybe some of the wrong people.” Really Kurt? Who exactly are “The wrong people” and why can’t we touch them? Explain this one to us, Kurt. And finally, Bobcat Goldthwait also defended the director and stated that if we start attacking comedians for stuff they said years ago, we won’t have anyone left. I agree with you Bob, but this mess of political correctness is one of your own making. So the question is, are you guys willing to stop it?
Man, these guys really do not want Gunn to take the heat for this thing. Where were all these celebrities and public figures during the months where anyone who was so much as thinking the wrong way (And having done so decades ago) got publically humiliated and fired? I guess now we know why Disney was largely unaffected by #MeToo while their rival studios all got hit hard.
And finally, while Gunn may be getting all the help he can get, the same cannot be said of Koichi Sugiyama (Music composer for Dragon Quest), whose past homophobic remarks have now resurfaced. The remarks are real, and they are homophobic, there is no grey line this time around. But that is not the point. People are asking that he loses his job simply because of his personal (Regardless of what it might be) opinion and that a boycott of the games he participates in be made. I don’t understand, what happened to all that “We need to stop being oversensitive and not turn this into a witch hunt” talk? Or does it only apply if you work as a director for Disney? Anyways, Square Enix made an official statement on the issue:
The views of an individual do not reflect the views nor efforts of the company. SQUARE ENIX employs a global multicultural staff of various beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities. As a matter of policy we do not condone discrimination or harassment of any kind and we respect the diversity of sexuality and gender identity of everyone around the world.