For all the progress gaming has made in becoming more open to different demographics, the industry still has a silly trend of objectifying female characters. Be it from skimpy outfits, games made purely to sell off sex appeal or women being treated as literal rewards, it’s safe to say we have a long way to go before being accepting of the opposite gender.
While I understand that, in real life, some women enjoy the attention that their bodies grant them, a lot of women don’t derive that same feeling. For some, they wish that their thoughts and personalities would be the attention grabbers instead of their “assets.”
When it was recently revealed that Nintendo had “censored” costumes in the recently released Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water and the upcoming Xenoblade Chronicles X,, people were upset. How could Nintendo of America be so ignorant of artistic intent? Why don’t they just let us Westerners have the same content?
While I get that choice is a big part of freedom and freedom is important in fostering creativity, I just don’t see the purpose of the original “uncensored” costumes. For starters, why would you ever wear skimpy clothes into battle? Second, why do the women look like whores when the men look like they are doing a load of laundry?
There isn’t the same kind of representation going on between the two genders. This may come down to me being heterosexual, but I don’t see any of the male costumes inXenoblade Chronicles X as being particularly sexual. The female ones, on the other hand, make the characters look like high class hookers.
The changes in Fatal Frame make more sense as the replacement costumes actually represent some of Nintendo’s franchises. The original costumes are wildly out of place in a horror game, but being able to play a game on a Nintendo console as a Nintendo character fits pretty well. Samus even explores areas similar in tone to Fatal Frame, so that is a double win.
It just plain makes more sense.
The biggest thing we need to look at is whether or not this constitutes censoring. If the developers of the original content have no problem with the change, then no one else should be complaining. I’m fairly certain that Nintendo of America is checking with the respective developers before giving the okay to dramatic changes, but I could be wrong.
There is also the discussion of what is being changed. Having a 13 year old parading around in a thong and bra is a bit strange, regardless of what culture you exist in. Even in Japan, which everyone mistakenly believes is pro-sex, that kind of imagery is looked down on.
There exists a sub-culture of people in Japan called otakus. I don’t believe I need to explain what that is to anyone on this site, but regular citizens don’t accept otakus. They are seen as socially awkward, gross and repulsive. A lot of “artists” manufacture content to manipulate these otakus.
It’s similar to the English term, “trainspotting.” It also blends with “hikikomori,” which is a Japanese term for a social recluse. These people retreat from society for an extended period of time, often living with their parents and taking an extreme obsession with a hobby. That hobby usually ends up being anime and gaming.
Why go outside when my life is all in this room?
The types of costumes that are being “censored” are targeted at these people. It’s preying on the weak to make a quick buck. It’s pretty despicable, if you ask me. It also doesn’t have anything to do with creative freedom or expression.
Another reason for such sexualized costumes deals with Japan’s birth rate. For years now, Japanese citizens have been shunning marriage and dating. Their lifestyles place perfection and job performance above all else. Not being affluent and not attaining the best possible life earn you disappointment and condemnation from your elders.
Japanese citizens don’t have time for silly concepts like marriage and children. As such, the birth rate has been falling. Just last year, the mortality rate in Japan surpassed the birth rate. If the trend continues, the Japanese will become a nation of only adults.
Anime artists and game developers include hypersexualized content to spur arousal in their consumers. While it may inadvertently reinforce negative stereotypes of body image, it’s being done in the hope of boosting birth rates. I’m pretty sure most nations don’t look forward to the day of their extinction.
That’s what we’ll call it!
So the debate about this censorship isn’t black and white. I feel strongly that such costumes should be removed from games like Xenoblade Chronicles X as they serve no narrative intent. If it were Xenoblade Swimsuit Chronicles X(XX), then we’d have a different story.
The same goes for Fatal Frame; those costumes have no purpose being in a horror game. When you go to investigate a scary mansion in the cold wilderness, you tend to dress in layers. I would imagine donning a bikini and frilly skirt wouldn’t retain heat.
Is there ever going to be a correct answer to this question? Not really. Many people hold different values on what constitutes negative or damaging imagery versus playful extras, but we need to get our facts straight. Japan isn’t a sex loving, orgy induced frenzy of a nation.
There is also some reason behind a lot of the content in anime and gaming. Along with that, the hobbies that a lot of us love aren’t necessarily seen in a positive light by a majority of the Japanese.
Whether or not you agree with me in my thought that the removal of these costumes is good, you shouldn’t walk into a discussion without knowing all the details. It’s time to stop spreading false information and getting down to the real core of this topic.