Vanillaware, the makers of Odin Sphere and Muramasa , have come under some fire recently due to their newest release Dragon’s Crown, because of the artwork of the characters. George Kaminani is the artists behind the colorful fantasies that those who played his previous games are familiar with. So what is the rising issue with the newest addition to Vanillaware? T and A. Or more specifically the highly disproportionate bodies of the characters-though most of the flack is given to the female characters.
Now for those of you who have played previous Vanillaware games, you are familiar with this art style. The men have huge chests, bulging muscles, and could crush their enemies head with a single flex. On the flip side the women are curvaceous to the max with very thin waists and chests that seem to defy gravity. A few example images are given below as reference from the game Odin Sphere:
The upper picture is of a Faerie Queen, and as you can see she is quite well endowed with a tiny waist and a heaping fill of hips. Below is the father Odin of our heroin, and the man is ginormous. Is hand alone is almost half her body. These are just a couple of examples of previous art styles. Now, when these came out, I laughed at the horrifically altered bodies of both genders. I found them entertaining and a unique art style. Though the females were hyper-sexualized in a way, I found their bodies so silly in proportions that I really didn’t take offense. I am all for pro-female, non-objectifying, rah-rah in the world of video games (and that is a whole different posting that can be done). In this case I just laughed it off because I enjoyed the story so much, and the dialog/story/etc didn’t focus on the females, or males bodies for that matter. I really enjoyed the game besides, and just ignore the fan art/comments/etc about the characters if they went there.
Now, I don’t recall hearing or seeing any rantings about these previous games and the depictions of the characters. Maybe I was just naive or blind, but I swear they weren’t really there. Now, with Dragon’s Crown is is a much bigger issue. One fact may be that the previous exaggerations were taken to a whole new level of epic proportions. It may also be that the issue of how women are depicted and treated in video games has become a rising issue and topic in recent years (and should be). Whatever the case, this game has had a bit of a focus on it. Below I will two photos, one male (Dwarf) and one female (Amazon), of the recent game. If you go to the main website linked at the beginning of this post you can see the others. Both photos were pulled straight from the games website.
As you can see, the Amazon has hips bigger then her hair and head combined, and her chest is just barley covered by her small top, not to mention they look like they could knock out an opponent by themselves. The other female, the Sorceress, is most commonly shown because her chest is even bigger (yes, bigger), but I wanted to show the amazon because you could easily see her proportions with her outfit. Below is the Dwarf, who has so many muscles he doesn’t have neck. Again, this is similar to previous games if not more exaggerated. When I first saw this, I again laughed and rolled my eyes, they all looked ridiculous! Which I think was part of the point of the artist. Yet on the internet he is getting poked at for his insensitivity or immaturity at how he portrays his characters (again mainly aimed at the females). Here is one such article that I will link you to, it deals with the author responding to such comments himself and the reasoning behind them. The conversation continues on both sides of the argument below in the comments section.
Now in my personal opinion, the writer of the article comes off as a bit childish himself and lacking some professionalism in his writing, but that’s just me. To the core of the topic, I am rather on the side of the artist. Yes, women (and in this case men) are drawn often as an allure to the male gaming population, for power complexes and alluring bodies to look at. Normally I’d be getting my rally stick and joining in on the “I’m not sure this is really needed for the game…” conversation. Yet, in this case, the characters of both genders are so crazy in their body shape and so obviously drawn to unrealistic proportions that I can’t find it as sexist, only humorous. As a female, there is no way in hell I would want a body like that, and I can’t really find them attractive in any way. Does this make me insensitive or missing some point? I’m not sure. In my opinion, these are some colorful crazy shaped people who are a part of a bigger more interesting story line, and I’m excited to actually delve into the game then stare at the oddly huge boobs.
What is your opinion on this particular topic of this specific game?