Chic Pixel Plus Episode 22 – No Male McShooterMen

Goodness gracious, is this what I think it is? A new episode of Chic Pixel Plus?! Praise whatever you hold dear, because I’m back with (hopefully) fortnightly updates and a constant slew of new and awesome guests!

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This episode features games blogger, importer, and frequent Twitter-er @_Kimimi! We talk about what we’re playing, but keep in mind this was recorded all the way back in June, so there’s a little bit of old news if you follow us elsewhere… Hopefully we’ve long since moved past whatever we were playing nearly four months ago (Resident Evil, Magical Beat, etc.)! We also talk about importing games before moving on to our major topic of the episode: What makes a good female video game character? Who knew a topic recorded so long ago would be so relevant to current events…

Of course, there’s always time for some otome game discussion, so Kimimi and I take the opportunity to dig into some older releases such as Angelique.

Please excuse the audio issues, as we had problems with the call cutting out numerous times. Regardless, I hope you enjoy this new episode of Chic Pixel Plus!

Opening ♫ – Fly Me to the Moon (Climax), Bayonetta
Closing ♫ – Shinya Arino fails at Angelique Trois (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aoc5x9r3kU)

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About Anne Lee

Also known as apricotsushi. Anne can be written with the kanji for apricot (杏), and sushi was the most quintessentially Japanese thing I could think of when I was 13, resulting in my goofy, albeit memorable, nickname.

  • AlanWithTea

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this but it’s a mildly interesting take on one aspect of the ‘female characters’ topic.

    Jim Sterling tried to think of a good female protagonist in one of his Jimquistion videos for the Escapist, and all he came up with was a dinosaur from Primal Rage. Sounds like a joke answer but it was genuinely the only character he could think of who was prominent, playable, powerful, had agency in her actions, had motives completely independent of a male, etc. The video is here, if you’re interested:

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/8177-Vertigo

    In any case, I agree with many of the points raised during the podcast, but particularly the one that female character shouldn’t be included to appeal to a female demographic, but just because having them in there is the right thing to do. I don’t see how it’s even a question for developers/publishers. Look around the room, street, shop – wherever you are, where there are other people. See how there are some men and some women? That’s the real world, and it should be the game world too.

  • rubergly

    Great podcast, and loved the prescient discussion of female characters.

    I totally agree that Samus barely qualifies as a character, and so holding her up as some paragon of female characters is really silly. But I think the fact that she has so little characterization actually creates a really interesting and powerful effect (or was at least effective for me). That she has so little character and that her gender is unclear outside of occasional cutscenes (pretending Other M doesn’t exist) mean that dudebros play the game, start to put themselves in the mindset of the onscreen avatar, start to feel that THEY are the badass ultimate bounty hunter Samus, and then—BAM—it’s actually a woman in the suite. I think there’s something to that thought process (“I’m so badass! I’m so badass! oh, wait, what? it was actually a woman who was so badass? huh, I guess women can be badasses without being sexualized or needing to weaponize their femininity”). I really don’t think most male players go through this entire thought process on a conscious level, but I think it’s always there on some level.

    A topic tangential to this discussion that I’d love to hear you discuss on a future podcast (if you find it interesting) is the idea of—and potential issues with—criticizing Japanese media from a western feminist perspective. Are there other considerations you have to take into account, compared to analyzing western media? Is criticizing a Japanese game/anime for elements we consider problematic cultural imperialism if Japanese feminists don’t consider it problematic? For example, I was offended by how the Danganronpa cast immediately stopped using Chihiro’s preferred pronoun once they learned she was transgender. But I’ve heard that Japanese feminists don’t find this problematic and claim that in the context of Japan they wouldn’t actually consider her trans and that would be obvious to people who know more about gender expectations in Japan. I’ve been thinking about this a bit lately because I’ve gotten some flak for frequently talking about gender representation issues on a Digimon podcast, which I think is ridiculous criticism (probably from someone who just hates feminism, TBH) since we primarily discuss the US dub (which is definitely a product of the west) and how it impacted us as a US audience, so the fact that the show was originally written and animated in Japan seems largely irrelevant.

    Also, I’d always love to hear more episodes giving impressions of currently-airing anime.

  • apricotsushi

    Thanks for the link! I’ll definitely check it out. Glad you enjoyed our discussion!

  • apricotsushi

    Thanks for your whopping comment! Sorry for the late reply but I’ve been away for the past few days.

    I do really like what you brought up re: Samus. If a male player does play through the game and has his feelings towards what constitutes a strong character (i.e the reveal that Samus is a woman) changed, even if only ever so slightly, I think that’s great. I really believe there is room for all kinds of different characters, but I think the main point we were trying to get across is that there are just incredibly few options.

    I can definitely try to tackle the topic of critiquing Japanese media from a Western feminist perspective at some point! That would be quite the discussion, haha. I think I’ve tried to stay away from that because I might get far to into the academic side of things since that’s pretty relevant to what I do in academia. But if it’s something you’d like to hear, I’ll try to find a place to fit it in!

    As for more impressions for currently-airing anime, I’d love to do that too! I’m generally a little behind, though, so I can only talk about the one or two series I’m watching that are relevant…

  • rubergly

    Yeah, totally agree about Samus being incredibly sad as one of only very few options. It’s a bit like praising the storytelling of the Walking Dead adventure game (which is great, don’t get me wrong) and then stepping back and realizing “wait… this is just getting up to par with what we would consider absolutely necessary for storytelling in TV or film” (except, in the case of female characters, we can’t step back and look at TV or film because representation sucks there too =/).

    Oh, an academic perspective sounds awesome! I can only speak for myself, but I’ve love to hear things from that angle. From what I understand listening to other academic feminists, so much of what the feminism that the internet outrages over is so basic (like Feminism 101 stuff), and it saddens me that the discussion in pop culture doesn’t move beyond that because of silly resistance.