TERA: competing with Bayonetta for the sluttiest women still wearing clothes?

[2014 update: This post is one that I stand by, the title is regrettable in that it’s really slut-shamey. Since writing this, I’ve changed my stance on using that word – it wasn’t okay for me to use that term and I’m sorry. However, this being the internet, once posted it’s out there forever, and I’d rather be honest about my mistakes than pretend they never happened. So please consider this post in context. Thanks.

[ETA: This whole thing has probably blown over by now, but for those of you just seeing this – I’ve posted a followup that DOES look at male castanic armors. You can find the new post here.]

>Before I get into today’s post, I just want to refer your attention to a very interesting feature by Jonathan Holmes on Destructoid. It’s a very excellent look at female characters in video games and the over-used sexy badgirl/chaste goodgirl dichotomy that dominates all video game writing ever. Also, do yourself a favor and watch the video. It’s kind of long, but worth it – it’s very funny.

I never thought I’d tell people on this blog to go read something on Destructoid, but there you go. I guess anything is possible.

And now for something completely different

A while ago during one of my WTF roundups, I posted a screenshot of a character model wearing nothing but crotch floss:

I’d forgotten to include the name of the game in the file name, so at the time I just posted the screenshot as a bit of trivia. My helpful commenters informed me that this was a screen from the upcoming kMMO TERA Online which is being released soon. I filed that information away and promptly forgot it amidst doing research for other posts. That is until someone mentioned TERA to me again and I decided to take a look. Surely anything with character models that tasteless would be totally easy to mock, right?My expectations were pretty low when I followed a link to the European site for TERA Online. Still, I was pretty shocked when this is what I saw on the main page:

Does that curvy spine remind anyone else of Bayonetta?
Holy crap! I mean. Wow. That’s… um. That’s a lot of crotch. Like. Right there. On the main page. On second thought, it might be a little silly being surprised about these things, but usually they don’t bust out the crotch right on the main page. They save it for screens of the character models on the race and class pages, but it’s usually not so… blatant.I was a bit hesitant as I clicked on the race page to check out the different races and was pretty surprised when the first race page (Amani) featured this image:
Whoa! That’s, um. That’s some crotch! Some male crotch! A lot of male crotch! So, okay, maybe this TERA game is just all about crotch. And that wouldn’t be so bad, really – as long as it was equal opportunity crotch. Really, that’s been my beef all along. If you’re going to have tasteless nudity, at least have EQUAL OPPORTUNITY tasteless nudity. But wait, no. It looks like TERA isn’t equal opportunity after all:

At least she’s not taking a dump.
So it looks like just another case of a monstrous male character being suggestively depicted to make some sort of statement about his “monstrousness”. Certainly we don’t see any of that from our human male, who is also allowed to stand up straight. Unlike the female mage who is sticking out her ass and waving her tits in our faces. Why, oh why, is it that there is not a single female mage in all of MMO-land who is capable of casting spells without gyrations worthy of a pole dancer?And it gets worse:

Ladybits! Attack!
In this image, the clothing dichotomy is even greater! The male character is wearing about fifty pounds of plate mail and the female character is wearing… even less clothing than the last one. Not that this is really anything new. This is the sort of thing you see from pretty much every MMO ever – and not just the free ones. Guild Wars, EverQuest, WoW – they’re all just as bad.And of course, what MMO promo would be complete without…
Lesbians! …okay, they’re not actual lesbians, but they’re two hot, almost completely naked chicks in blatantly sexual poses. It’s very hard for me to think that there’s NOT some kind of lesbian subtext intended. Of course, this might be cynicism on my part. Maybe the artist wants the intended male audience to think of banging these chicks in serial instead of in parallel. (Ha. I’m such a nerd.)

The real nail in the coffin is when you start lining up male models and female models. Here for comparison are male and female human models:
The most exposure we see from any of the human males is a very shallow v-neck. Otherwise they’re completely covered with multiple layers of clothing and armor, while the ladies are left to shiver with all their bits hanging out. Let’s hope they control the thermostat, otherwise they’re going to be pretty cold.The outfit on the far right is the most ridiculous in my book. First of all, the design is actually quite ugly and doesn’t really do flattering things to the figure. Second, the other two female humans at least get proper panties while she gets something that barely qualifies as crotch floss. It’s practically a crotch decoration. I hope she used some body glue, because I don’t see how those are staying on…And of course, it’s not just the humans. The high elves are just as bad:

Okay, maybe not QUITE as bad. The woman on the far right is wearing the most clothing I’ve seen on a female TERA model so far, which puts her ahead of her counterparts I suppose. Still, I’m getting awful tired of the stripper boots. Is there some kind of stripper boot outlet in the TERA world that causes them to be the most economic form of footwear?Oh, and let’s not forget another important bit of promotion. WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE WITHOUT THEIR CLOTHES?? Come on, people. Let’s remember the important questions.
Why is it that in their underwear, their breasts are still more covered than in some of the “armor” sets that I’ve seen? Ditto for their crotches. What gives? Why is THEIR UNDERWEAR more modest than their actual clothing? Do people not understand how absurd that is? How is anyone supposed to fight anything in clothing that you’re about to pop out of at any moment? Seriously, check out these action shots:

So the woman on top… What the hell is she thinking? Did she seriously think that it was a good idea to go fight monsters dressed like that? “Well, I’ve taped sea shells to my tits, so I think I’ve got everything important covered here”. Really? This is about as likely as giving a stripper a sword and telling her to go kill some monsters. I’m not terribly likely to believe that someone dressed like that is capable of wielding a sword that large. Plus – WHY IS SHE ALL MOIST? What purpose does that serve besides making her even more fap-worthy? “Well, I don’t have any armor, so I’d better grease up before I tackle that monster over there!” Come on, people. Now you’re not even trying.

And then from our mage on the bottom, we have more spell casting pole dancing gyrations. Does the magical energy she’s summoning come from her ladybits? Because if it doesn’t, why is she standing like this?

The sad thing is that all of these screens took me maybe twenty minutes to round up, which means I didn’t even have to look all that hard. I’m a little scared of what’s out there that I DIDN’T find. Now I’ll admit that the graphics are pretty impressive, but you can put lipstick on a pig and it’s… still a pig. Graphics do not a good game make. Neither do tits, but tell that to the people eagerly awaiting the North America release of TERA. I guess they disagree.

>Reaper Miniatures: still a fap-fest, even at 1 inch high

[August 27, 2013, ETA: I was contacted by the photographer of the image for the Brigitte the Naughty Maid figure asking me to take down those images from my post, as they were being used without permission. When I went back to look at the Reaper website, it seemed like they may have taken photographs of painted figures from their community. Since I wasn’t sure of the provenance of the image, I honored the request and have removed those images from this post. However, if you want to see the figure that is discussed, you can visit the above link for photos of the figure that are hosted on Reaper Miniature’s own website as part of their product catalog.]

Okay. So last time I posted this teaser image for a post about Reaper Minis:


Dragon replacing alligator as a fashion accessory?

That’s pretty representative of a lot of minis. As any woman who’s tried to find a mini to represent her character in a D&D game can tell you, it can be really hard to find female minis that are A) wearing clothes AND B) not showing their breasts.Now Reaper Minis have gotten pretty popular for fantasy minis lately. Partly because of the very high quality of their minis, and partly because of the product lines that they produce minis for. What caught my attention is their line of Pathfinder minis, which I hear sell pretty well. I will definitely admit that the minis I’ve seen that have been based on existing illustrations are impressively sculpted. And they do well enough for themselves to run a convention called Reaper Con every year, so apparently their product is pretty popular.However, their catalog is pretty similar to pretty much any collection of minis I’ve ever browsed at a con in that it’s light on females, heavy on males, and chock full of naked or mostly naked women. So I thought that I’d go through their catalog and pull out some particularly egregious examples.So first of all, meet Sophie. Sophie is the Reaper mascot; there are special edition Sophie minis released for Christmas, sometimes Halloween, and each year for Reaper Con. These are concept sketches that were later turned into special edition minis. (Except for the top right – that’s going to be the special mini for this upcoming Reaper Con.)

Riiight. So, instead of releasing special edition minis that are actually interesting they just decided to make a busty demon chick their mascot and make slutty special edition minis. Which are useful in what context other than fap-material? It seems to point out the dearth of women in gaming, and especially in minis-related gaming. I mean, what gamer DOESN’T love cleavagey hot girls?…oh wait.Speaking of cleavage… Some of the sculptors need serious anatomy lessons when it comes to the female torso. I found way too many examples of head-sized sphere-boobs – many of them on the same models that also had impossibly tiny waists and no rib cages:
boobs

I fail to see how any of these are attractive. Some of them, like The Little Please Have Buttsex With Me Mermaid, are downright freakish. And some of them are just stupid. What is it about the chicks with huge tits, no clothes, and a large weapon?

However, even the misshapen tits are better than the sheer preponderance of models I found that need to PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES.

Half of these models are bare-breasted, and the other half might as well be. How edgy! And by edgy, I mean pathetic. Seriously, isn’t this shit what the internet is for? Why do they need to produce fap material for guys who can just as easily find the real stuff online? It’s especially silly when you consider the scale of these things.And of course, some of them go beyond stupid and right into WTF:

“Ghostly summons” (top left) my ass. That’s two lesbians having hot ladysex in a cloud of smoke. Don’t try to claim it’s all artistic – her head is in the other woman’s crotch and you folks can’t exactly claim the artistic high ground. And check out Miss Muffet (top right). WTF? Why is she showing that spider her tits?Even that’s less ridiculous than the witch (bottom left) and the ZOMBIE STRIPPER. I mean, for god’s sake, people. Both of these are supposed to be gross and monstrous, and yet it’s STILL tits or gtfo for these women? What if I don’t WANT to see their tits? Cause that’s kind of gross.The worst, though, are the two middle images. The chained succubus (bottom) is bad enough, but the VICTIM ON A SPIT is naked folks. Because nothing says “awesome” like tying up a naked woman and hanging her on a spit. In what world is anything like this even remotely appropriate? Gah!But wait! The WTF doesn’t stop there!wtf1

… you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.The figure on the left is actually a special edition figure, so another example of fanservice to reward their loyal (male) customers? The figure on the left… Gah. So she’s described as a “naughty maid”, but the expression on her face just makes me think she’s surprised. “Holy shit, when did those get so big??”Can the maid fetish please die now and forever? kthxAnyway. Not all of the Reaper Minis are complete fail; there are some hidden gems if you look long enough, like this mini from the Pathfinder collection:

I have mixed feelings about this one. The deep cleavage made me roll my eyes at first, but then I re-considered. This is the rare example of a woman who is NOT Barbie and also not monstrous. I think she’s quite attractively rendered. So I’m not sure if the cheesecake is ridiculous, or if I should be happy that they’re presenting a non-standard body type as attractive. (Thoughts?)And then there are a few that are totally awesome. Why can’t they all be like this??
Okay, so yes, the middle figure has a little cleavage. But she’s awesome! Her tits aren’t huge, she has a waist, and she looks badass! And I love, love, LOVE the knight on the right. And the nun on the left – awesome! Another woman who’s not Barbie, and so completely badass!Why can’t THIS be how Reaper depicts its women? All of these figures are totally awesome! But no, they’d rather continue to cater to their “safe” market of desperately horny young males, which is disappointing. The quality of their product is clearly pretty high. It’s disappointing that for the amount of work that goes into each mini, there’s a base level of contempt for women as potential customers that clearly isn’t being addressed.

>Just because your fans tell you you’re not sexist doesn’t make it true

>Okay, a bit of a quickie here… I’m working on a post about Reaper Minis that has wound up consuming way more time than I thought it would. So in the mean time, here’s a preview of what you can expect:


She’s going to have some serious scratches later.

So there’s that.Anyhow. Dale North, who is a major contributor on both Japanator and Destructoid, asked his readers if he was sexist. Amusingly, in describing the difference between Japanator and Destructoid, he had this to say about Destructoid:

If you frequent Japanatator, then you surely know about ModernMethod’s flagship site, Destructoid. This gaming community is past hope, and we like it like that! We offend on a daily basis, and we’re championed by our readers for it.

…which, amusingly, is one of the best descriptions I’ve seen yet of Destructoid. Good to know that sexism is apparently part of the writing style guide.

Now normally I would ignore stuff like this on a site like Japanator. I do try to avoid crossing too much into anime fandom here, since the problems with anime fandom are rooted a great deal in cultural differences and Japanese misogyny. However, since Dale North is a contributor on both sites, and content that he writes for Japanator sometimes gets cross-posted on Destructoid – which are both part of the same blogging network, I consider this fair game.

So here’s the question Dale posed to his readers:

Am I, Japanator’s Editor-in-Cheif, a sexist pig? And, if I am, should I be concerned about this as a writer on anime/manga/Japanese culture?

Not surprisingly, given the wording, the rest of the post was then followed by defensiveness and strawmen. This seemed to be more a facetious inquiry to cause a bit of controversy and garner hits rather than a genuine attempt at self-examination. Especially since near the end of his post he tosses out:

I’m not really doubting myself or the work of the Japanator staff here. And in the end, like it or not, we still get paid to write this crap. Sexy? Maybe. Japanator is filled with sexy commentary and pictures and whatnot. We’re all horribly perverted, as good otaku should be. But I don’t think there’s anything here that makes us terribly sexist.

Nope! No sexism here! I mean, there’s scads of sexy women. And our staff is mostly men. And GOOD OTAKU SHOULD BE HORNY. I mean, come on. QED. But none of that makes us sexist. (Now show us your tits.)

Anyhow. None of this should be in any way shocking coming from Dale North, who titled an article about the banning of RapeLay in Japan with: “RapeLay raped off Japanese shelves for good”… and then had this as the headline image: 


For fuck’s sake.

Dale’s no Jim Sterling, but he certainly has his moments.Predictably, Japanator users fell over themselves to defend Dale. Here are some of my favorite comments. (My commentary is in brackets.)

Grow a backbone! Be more like Jim Sterling. He doesn’t give a fuck. [Note: Yes. Because we should all seek to emulate Jim Sterling…]

I’ve been a reader for over a year and I’ve never found your comments insulting (I have a vagina). I think there is a lot of coverage on “sexy news” like PVC figures, but that’s a part of the otaku experience. So, no, you’re not sexist, you’re just an excited fanboy as we all are. [Someone with a vagina says you’re not sexist! That makes it true!]

Last time I checked, I had a vagina so I can comment I suppose. =P There are those on the interwebs that love to stir up a bunch of bull. As a long time reader (though I rarely if ever comment), I have never been offended by your nor anyone else’s word choice or whatever has been shown here.

Tits or GTFO

Either way the entire otaku community has a heavy emphasis on fanservice. Girls who get all huffy at a small thing like the term “good looking gal” should just stay away completely [Yeah! Hear that, wimminz? GTFO!]

As a person with no financial relationship and thus no legal liability with Samantha Robertson, you have the opportunity, nay the duty, to be a sexist pig for all us sexist pigs out there unable to attend this convention. As a representative of this fine oasis of otaku in the vast desert of drivel we call the intarwebs, you carry the honor and privilege of commenting on all the shapely figures and voluptuous bosoms you might encounter in our stead. So go forth and offend. With pride. With courage. With conviction. And let exhaustion and weariness not touch you till you have recieved at least one restraining order.

As a girl, I have to say, not only are the things you say not sexist, but they’re downright hillarious! The call me thing was classic.

Just as the other females have said, my tits say you aren’t a bad guy at all. I think you’re hilarious. I don’t understand what the commotion is about, you guys cater to the female crowd too with the yaoi. [Right. Because all women love yaoi, right?]

Dale, I must admit that you are indeed a sexist pig. You offend the very core of my man-finger, and you continue to do so on a regular basis with your sexual innuendo, such as your reference to “I worked hard,” and referring to me as “dear reader.” I am appalled, good sir! Now back to the beautifully luscious breasts and asses of Anime Expo 2008!

As always, the internet restores my faith in humanity. Or, wait, it restores the inverse of my faith. Anyway, having female commenters tell you that you’re not sexist doesn’t automatically make it true – in the same way that “having black friends” doesn’t make you automatically not racist. Read Derailing for Dummies, for god’s sake.

(Sidenote: I’m amused by the concept disembodied body parts leaping to Dale’s defense. “Hey! I’ve got four tits and two vaginas that say I’m not sexist!” Protip: having ladybits does not automatically make you an arbiter of what is and is not sexist.)

Now, I get that Japanese culture mass-produces misogynist media, and that a certain level of tolerance for that goes with being part of anime fandom. Examining issues of sexism in anime fandom isn’t easy because it’s often hard to tell when you’re dealing with Japanese cultural issues and when you’re dealing with Western cultural issues – which is why I usually stay out of it.

But here’s a tip for all you game “journalists” out there who may be wondering if you are sexist. If you’re actually interested in obtaining a real answer, then you need to step outside your little echo chamber. The users on Japanator are there because they like the site and the content that it posts. Are they going to want to see a negative label attached to a major contributor for said site? No, because that would mean being a fan of that contributor might make them sexist as well.

But I guess that wasn’t really the point of this whole exercise.

>Apologetic linkspam: Have some WTF, and also some win

>

Okay, folks. As promised, here’s a bit of extra WTF to carry you through the weekend. I resolve to fail less starting next week, but as I’ve discovered I need my weekends. Those two days to detox from all the icky shit I look at during the week in the name of research for this blog are important. Srsly. You don’t even want to know some of the shit I stumbled across by accident while researching “clothing damage”. Brr.

Anyway. Here’s some WTF to console yourself with.

WTF the first: yet more creepy shit from Japan

So. There’s this thing in Japan called a hostess club, where lonely young men go to spend time with women who are employed by the club, and by spend time I mean just that. Some of them will have board games, others will just have coffee… whatever. Anyhow, I stumbled across this article about a Japanese romance game centering around young women who work at a particular hostess club.

…yeah. Because stalking women home from work is totally romantic.

Anyway. No idea on if it’s being translated – these screens are all in Japanese. But here’s a taste:

If you want to see more, you can see the full article with lots, and lots, and LOTS of creeptastic screens here. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. (And don’t get caught reading it at work.)

WTF the second: dear Nukezilla, I heart you

Okay, this isn’t so much WTF as an awesome repudiation of WTF. So remember the fail-tastic IGN Gamer Girl Christmas Gift Guide? If you haven’t seen it, please do go glance through it. Don’t bother reading the text if you’re in a hurry – just check out the photos. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

… yuck, right? I mean, I’m pretty sure anyone who would attach a photo like this to an article supposedly about gifts for “girl gamers”…


Okay, why is she making Seductive Face at SACKBOY? That’s just creeping me out.
…has never really talked to a woman that games. (And yelling ‘tits or GTFO’ over XBox Live doesn’t count, fellas. Neither does sending ASCII penises in chat.)Anyway. John Kershaw over at NukeZilla wrote this amazing rant about how horrific that feature was. It starts off with “girls, meat, what’s the difference?” and gets better from there.

John Kershaw, I don’t know you, but you are my new hero.

WTF the third: The Bayonetta creator said something misogynist? NO! SAY IT ISN’T SO!

So everyone is familiar with Bayonetta, right? I have to say that she’s hands down one of the best female characters to come out of the gaming industry in the last few years. She’s strong, well rounded, not sexualized and… okay even I can’t maintain the sarcasm.

Anyway. She’s inspired a fair amount of controversy, which isn’t too surprising since one of her main attacks involves spreading her impossibly long legs to kill things with her ladybits sword.


Bayonetta. Feminist icon and role model.
Anyway, Hideki Kamiya – the creator of Bayonetta – apparently thinks that all women view each other as enemies. Which begs the question… He designed a title with a female lead… why?Oh right! The tits. I mean, sorry – the ass. Almost forgot. Kamiya is clearly an ass man.

…okay, that’s enough fail. So here, have some win:

Troll data analysis

Blogger Kirbybits got involved in that whole Penny Arcade internets fiasco and got a lot of internet traffic to her blog. Interestingly, she decided to analyze comments to see what sort of trends troll comments display. The results are super-interesting! You can read the post here, but be warned there’s lots of super-graphic language involving threats of rape.

And that’s all I have time for today. I’ll check in a few times this weekend just to make sure people aren’t setting themselves (or each other) on fire in the comment threads, but otherwise I’ll see you Monday!

>Yuna: yes I liked X-2. Suck it up and deal. (possible spoiler warning)

>I’m having a really shitty day, so I thought that I’d write about something that I liked rather than going off on another rant that I really don’t have the mental energy for today. So today, here’s a love letter (so to speak) to one of the greatest female characters ever, who – like Lightning – would have been perfect in every way if she’d been wearing pants:

There’s a reason why I’m addicted to Square and BioWare games – both companies know how to write some fantastic female characters. And Yuna was the first character I ever encountered in my gaming life that made me sit back and say ‘holy crap, she is such a fantastic female character!’.

Okay. So enough peaens to Yuna. Just what makes her so awesome? Let’s start with the fact that she’s a complete and total badass. The first time you meet Yuna, she’s tired and sweaty from just having completed a huge ordeal – successfully summoning her first aeon:


Now that I’m a summoner, I could totally feed you your heart on a plate. Just sayin’.

So right off the bat, Yuna is established as a powerful character. She’s no fragile little flower, waiting for a big, strong, manly hero to solve her problems. Aeons are entities of unbelievable power, so being able to call and control them confers with it a certain base level of badassery. I mean, when someone can call something like this to do their bidding:


(Oh, she can also walk on water, bee tee dubs.)

…it pretty much means you shouldn’t mess with them.

What I liked even better about Yuna was that she didn’t fall into the “powerful weakling” trap that’s so common with many female characters in JRPGs. From the outset, Yuna was the leader of the party who had the skills and knowledge to get the job done. Really, Tidus – the protagonist – was just along for the ride. And how great is that? How many times in gaming do you see a female character really, truly in charge? Even the strongest male character, Auron, deferred to Yuna’s judgement when they were at odds.

And let’s face it, it’s not like Yuna’s job was all sunshine and puppies. Nope. She was walking a road that ended, as far as she knew, with certain death. What’s more, she had to deal with the aftermath of disasters that left hundreds of people dead in their wake, and she was constantly being scrutinized as a public symbol of hope. But Yuna never whined or complained like you’d expect of a more strereotyped character. She did what she had to do.

One of the things that I loved most about Yuna was that she was either the saddest happy character or the happiest sad character I’ve encountered. Both roles are pretty stereotyped – pretty much any JRPG you play will have at least one genki girl. And many JRPGs and anime have stereotyped sad girls (often sad girls in snow). I love the fact that Yuna managed to turn both stereotypes on their head. When Yuna is sad, the player is sad because she’s a genuinely endearing character. And when she’s happy, it doesn’t ring false like it would with a genki girl.

Furthermore, her sadness doesn’t detract from her strength or otherwise make her seem like a weaker character. She has her moment of sadness, then she straps on her big girl boots and gets on with what she has to do. Her sadness, rather than being seen as a weakness of character, helps to define her strength because even when she is most sad she doesn’t let that sadness control her life. That’s powerful stuff.


Let’s face it. If you found out the person you fell in love with wasn’t real, you’d be pretty sad too.

The thing that makes me appreciate it all the more is that Yuna’s sadness in X-2 mainly stems from not being able to be with Tidus. And that makes me appreciate her refusal to sit around and mope even more. She’s moving forward with her life, not sitting around and being all weepy because of a man. Yuna’s shenanigans in X-2 aren’t all about saving the day, sometimes they’re about having fun, pure and simple. And sure X-2 was full of fluffy “girl power” moments involving Rikku and Paine, but frankly I think that’s the sort of thing that gaming needs more of – not less.

In the end, Yuna manages to be a strong, well-rounded character who never loses sight of herself or her ideals. And maybe best of all, she manages to save the day and rescue the prince instead of being the damsel in distress. At the end, Yuna’s actions bring Tidus back – which wouldn’t have happened if she’d sat around being a sad girl in snow (or in sand, considering that Besaid is pretty tropical.)


I’m not too proud to admit that I cried.

Now if only more women in games were written as well as Yuna, I’d have a lot less to complain about. …and okay it would be nice if she was wearing shorts that didn’t expose the lower half of her buttocks. Details…

>Clothing damage being exported to North America? (VERY NSFW)

>[Note: It’s been a shittastic week, hence the lack of posting. I’ll get back to three posts for next week. Meanwhile, I’ll try to hammer out a linkspam in addition to this post. Sorry, folks.]

While I wouldn’t exactly call clothing damage a hallmark of Japanese/Asian games, it’s something that is common enough that (for the most part) it doesn’t raise any eyebrows. However, it’s not exactly something that’s been too common in North American games. Unfortunately, it looks as if that trend may be changing, thanks to games originally made by Asian companies and translated for North American players.

So here for your, um, edification are screens from Kabod Online, Soul Calibur IV: Broken Destiny, and Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday. I wanted to confine this post to titles that have gotten more hype than others – but there are certainly smaller titles featuring clothing damage as a key feature that are being translated as well: Ikki Tousen Xross and Queen’s Blade: Spiral Chaos are just two that I’ve stumbled across recently. I’m sure there’s more.

Kabod Online

Kabod Online is a translated Korean MMO from Kabod Entertainment. As far as fanservice-y models go, they seem to be pretty standard as far as free Asian MMOs go:


Fully armored dude? Check. Standing next to a chick in cheesecake armor? Check. Le sigh.

When you go to Kabod’s website, there are apparently only three character classes to choose from, with only two specializations for each class – so it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot of gameplay diversity. K-MMOs are pretty infamous for not even trying to disguise the treadmill, but this seems perhaps more egregious than most.But Kabod Entertainment doesn’t seem too worried about that. They’ve got a sure-fire plan. Sell their game with breasts! Only, since that’s what ALL of the free Asian MMOs are doing, they had to take it to eleven – hence the introduction of clothing damage. In Kabod, both players and monsters take clothing damage as they engage in combat. There’s a base level where clothing/armor is undamaged, a middle level where it’s mostly off, and a bottom level where you’re in your skivvies and, if the character is female, your gazongas are hanging out:


So Kabod has this neat combat simulation feature called clothing da… BOOBIES!!
Unsurprisingly, the clothing damage feature is what has gotten the most attention and what Kabod Entertainment has been advertising most heavily. Way to pander to the lowest common denominator guys. From what I read while searching for screenshots, it’s pretty common to play a rogue (one of the least clothed classes) and let her get down to mostly naked just so you can ogle her while you play. I mean, check this out:
LEFT: One breast in, one breast out? That’s gotta be uncomfortable. RIGHT: Oh god. They modeled ladybits, didn’t they? That’s just gross.

Will this be the game that launches a thousand faps?
So. Moving on. Shame on you, Kabod. Etc, etc, etc.

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny

The studio behind Soul Calibur is apparently having a competition with Dead or Alive to see who can make the skeeviest game – it’s the only explanation I can think of. Soul Calibur IV is getting a PSP release, with the addition of – you guessed it – clothing damage! Because, really, we weren’t seeing ENOUGH of these ladies, amirite?

Also, there is a character creator that will not only let you create new characters, but will also let you customize existing characters, in case you’re feeling like some of your wimminz are too covered up.

Anyway. I’ve ranted enough about Soul Calibur here, so here’s some screens:


FLAWLESS… um… nudality?
Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday

So we have yet another entry in a series of female characters who used to be mildly positive strong characters and who have been turned into walking fapfests designed to please male gamers. Poor Aya. I’m not saying that Aya Brea was ever on the level of Samus, but she’s a far cry from Princess Peach!

It should be noted that there was a fair amount of buzz about the fact that the beginning of 3rd Birthday features a shower scene. OMG! Color me excited!

So the shower scene is bad enough, but series creator Nomura decided from the outset that there would be clothing damage in this title, and that Aya would take more damage as her clothing got damaged further. This would make sense if Aya was walking around in plate mail, but since she’s wearing just normal clothes, the only possible explanation is “sex sells”. So here’s the progression that Aya goes through:


LEFT: Very slightly damaged (jeans start out distressed) MIDDLE: Medium damage RIGHT: Max damage
Now, Aya can get changes of clothing to cover herself up again by going back to base – but it doesn’t really seem like that’s a feature that’s being heavily encouraged, since Nomura has said in an interview (unfortunately, I can’t find the link anymore) that you can get Aya to max clothing damage quickly by dropping a few grenades nearby. “Not that anyone should play that way” – he hastened to add.

Even worse is that the clothing damage is, again, pretty much how they’re promoting the game. I mean, check out this promotional art.

Look at that! Half her ass is just hanging out there! Oh Squeenix. I know that you can be pretty sexist, but why do you have to do shit like this? You want to give me well written female characters with no pants and very little clothing? Fine. I’ll roll my eyes and pony up. But this? This is not okay.

Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is that you can switch Aya’s costumes. There’s a loooong list of options, including a Lightning costume aaaaannnd…

Fetish wear! Because who doesn’t want to watch a maid get her clothes torn off while fighting monsters and stuff?/headdesk

>Industry artist fail: Hyung Tae Kim (so VERY VERY nsfw!)

>While looking for another entrant in my fanartist hall of shame, I happened to stumble across an artist whose work I had not been familiar with – Hyung Tae Kim. I initially found him when I stumbled across this image:

/sigh. Distorted anatomy? Check. I mean, even more so than usual. Improbably large breasts that defy physics? Check. Lovingly detailed ladybits? Cheeeeeck. This guy is a charmer all right.

When I did more research I discovered that HTK is actually a pretty influential artist in the Asian gaming industry. He’s worked as lead character design on a huge number of roleplaying games, including the War of Genesis series (3 games), the Magna Carta series (2 games), and Blade and Soul online. And while normally, I wouldn’t tackle an artist like HTK because of the fact that he does work primarily in the Asian games industry, the fact remains that he does have a HUGE following here in North America and does occasionally work over here. That blue crotch-floss with butterflies? The cover for an Exalted sourcebook. So I figure that makes him fair game.

Amusingly, one of the first articles that I found about HTK that tipped me off to what a following he had over here was this one. The headline image shows a totally cleavagey chick, but don’t worry folks. She’s just an exception!

WTF is up with her boobs, man?

If this is an exception, why go to the effort of picking out this one? Methinks thou doth protest too much, sir… Anyhow. Mr. Mahan is mostly correct in that yes, a lot of HTK’s women don’t display actual cleavage. No, instead they have impossibly large, impossibly pointy breasts that flop around like distended lemons. I mean, seriously. Look at these things:


LEMON BOOBS AHOY!
I never thought I’d have to invent a new category of boob mockery, but here it is. LEMON BOOBS. Methinks this guy can’t be getting a whole lot of action because holy shit in what universe do women have breasts that are this large and this pointy? Those gazongas are practically WMD! Also, contrary to popular belief, jiggle physics does not exist in real life just because it’s called “physics”. I know that there has never been a situation in which I’ve had to dodge being hit in the face with my own breasts, so ease off with the anti-grav field!Another pretty common feature of HTK’s artwork is the OUTTHRUST LADYBITS. (Yes, capitals required). If you look at his art, a lot of the women seem to be thrusting their ladybits pretty much right at the camera:

NOOOOO! THE LADYBITS!

So, I’m guessing he would feel quite a bit of affinity with the WoW artist who did that infamous ladybit assassin picture I mocked a while ago… Another pose that’s way too freaking common is the “please do me from behind” school of posing:


Come on. It doesn’t get less subtle than this!
So, yeah. This guy clearly not winning a lot of awards for class. I realize that Asian culture is a lot more misogynistic in some regards, but the fact that there are plenty of North American dudes panting to get their hands on scans of this guys art books is just discouraging. This takes the garden-variety misogynistic character design we get over here and make it seem tame in comparison!The thing that makes me really want to punch HTK in the nuts is his fetish for lovingly detailed ladybits:


Seriously? Talim is totally underage! That’s just gross.

The thing that makes me most sad is that Blade and Soul seems to have adhered to HTK’s designs pretty slavishly in the rendering of their character models. I mean check this out! We have actual modeled camel toe:

Yuck.