Hey, hey all you wonderful Heroes and Travelers out there it’s Monday, and that means another Melanin Monday post!! For those of you just joining us, Melanin Monday is a bi-weekly post series that I started for Black History Month, where I talk about Black and Brown skinned characters in anime, manga, video games, etc., but you guys loved it so much I decided to continue it!
Since this is an otome game blog, I figured at least one of these Melanin Monday posts should be about Black and brown characters in otome games/visual novels. So I compiled a list of games that featured characters with darker skin tones. This isn’t a comprehensive list of every game with dark skinned characters, but it does the trick for now. Also, most of these titles are English language visual novels since they tend to feature more characters of color than Japanese otome games… but, that’s a discussion for another day.
A seven-year drought plagues the entire region surrounding the country of Nishtif, leading people to wonder if their goddess Scheknt has abandoned them. In contrast, young noblewoman Neqtia has lived a comfortable life insulated from hardship and suffering. One of the poorer surrounding countries, Djedi, sends their usual tribute of natural resources and livestock to Nishtif in exchange for the larger country’s aid and protection. Rumors that two attractive slaves are among the cargo intrigue Neqtia. What lies in store for her after the slaves are brought to live at her family estate…?
Taarradhin was developed by indie English visual novel developers Cyanide Tea for NaNoRenO 2014 and features a full cast of dark skinned characters. Now, while I applaud the Cyanide Tea team for creating a game solely comprised of people of color, I’m not okay with half of them being slaves… it’s in bad taste.
So, you guys are probably wondering why this game is even on this list, well, I have to admit that this is a really well made game. The writing is on point and the art is gorgeous, but the way some of the characters are portrayed is problematic as hell! Which is a shame since it’s rare to see games featuring Black characters in prominent roles, let alone the entire cast… I love Cyanide Tea and their games, since they are known for incorporating diversity into all of their games, so while I have a lot of issues with Taarradhin, I still think it’s worth a playthrough.
The crystal Kingdom of Chalcedonia was once a beautiful place, under the rule of the Princess Rosalia, they lived happy peaceful lives. Until one day, monsters called Nightmares destroyed the kingdom. Princess Rosalia and her fairy knight Diana hid deep in the castle, praying that their last hope, the magical Rose Crystal Mirror would produce a miracle, and save their home, however, they were attacked by the leader of the Nightmare Agency, Druzy. Diana fought helplessly before finding herself transported Earth, but her Princess was no where to be seen.
Unfortunately the nightmares began to attack this new world too. Valerie Amaranth, an ordinary 17 year old, has her world changed forever when she receives the powers of the Legendary Crystal Warrior Diamond Heart. Now with the help of Diana, she must find her allies, defeat the Nightmares, and rescue the missing princess Rosalia.
Magical Warrior Diamond Heart is still in development, however Pyonkotchi is releasing the game in short episodes. Currently Episodes 1-5 are available for download through their itch.io page, but if you support their Patreon, you will be able to access new chapters before the general public.
I love Sailor Moon, it was one of the first anime series I ever saw, and while I absolutely loved seeing young girls and women kicking butt, the show is based in Japan so there isn’t much in the way of diversity… But, Magical Warrior Diamond Heart has all of that and more! This game has all the magical girl action I love with the racial diversity I crave, for a delightful gaming experience!
In this barren world of endless deserts, almost all live their lives upon large fractions of land floating above the surface.
Here there are two types of people: Normals and Abnormals.
Buffalo Seer is an eccentric Abnormal who wants nothing more than to use the magic ability within them; future seeing. However, even within their society where everyone has a special power, future seeing is considered dangerous and advised against.
Unable to be swayed, Seer finally gains permission to look into their own future, only to receive an unbelievable revelation. Not only have they left Abnormal society, they’re married to someone they’ve never met before.
With visions of happiness in their mind, Seer leaves everything behind and ventures to the part of the land fraction where those without magic live; Normal society.
Seer is going to convince this stranger that they are meant to be together no matter what it takes, even if it means tagging along on an adventure.
In only a few days Seer will learn just how far away that pleasant future is.
I’ve covered GB Patch’s steampunk visual novel A Foretold Affair before during a demo review I did just before the official release, which you can read HERE. So, I will try to keep this short, since I pretty much got all my thoughts about the game out there… But, I was so impressed with how inclusive this game was, that I just had to include it on this list!
This game features Black and brown skinned characters as potential love interests and as part of the extended cast! I don’t know about you guys, but when I see characters that look like me in prominent roles in games, my heart does back flips. But, GB Patch takes it a step further by portraying these characters in a positive light, they don’t readily adhere to pervasive negative stereotypes that plague people of color, they rise above them. I usually don’t go for female love interests in games, but Piper is my favorite, because she is a strong, beautiful woman of color and that is just sexy!
One of the reasons I loved Voltage’s AmeMix line of mobile otome games (now part of Lovestruck) was because unlike their Japanese based mobile games, the AmeMix titles always featured people of color as potential love interests. While I chose to spotlight Gangsters in Love I definitely recommend checking them all out when you have the chance… they are all fantastic!
So why did I pick Gangsters in Love over all the other titles? Because of a certain chocolate attorney… *fans self* Irving Monroe is absolutely gorgeous, I’ve seen my fair share of Black men in otome games, but Irving is by far one of my favorites! But, while I was mooning over that ebony king, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t appreciate how diverse this game is, each of the main love interests and much of the supporting cast are made up of individuals from a wide range of racial and cultural backgrounds, so there is literally something for everyone here.
“Love isn’t easy. For hopeless romantic Brian and struggling writer Lee, the pursuit of love has been difficult. That is, until they meet the heroine! Can she help fill their lives with romance? Maybe even find some herself?
Everyone’s a fool in love, but the heroine is here to help!”
This is another game I covered before, albeit briefly during one of my Thrifty Gamer posts, but whenever I see a game featuring a characters that look like me I can’t help but check it out, but to also have one of them be the heroine of the game… perfection!!
Anise (name changeable) is a chocolate young woman with a healthy build and curly natural looking hair, when I saw that, my heart skipped a beat… Someone, finally made a character that I could literally see myself in, thank you Black Jesus! Unfortunately, like most romance visual novels, you don’t actually get to see our lovely leading lady very much since she doesn’t have an in-game sprite, but she does appear in the CGs… so that’s a plus! I just wish the game was longer so we could spend more time with the characters, ah well…
You’re working as a nurse in a hospital.
One day, you come to say good bye to one of your patient, Fujishima, who’s about to leave the hospital.
To thank you for all your good work, he offers you a lamp.
Back to home, you rub the lamp to burn it incense,
but you’re sucked in it by force !
When you open your eyes…
A man you don’t even know is facing you.
The genie of the lamp tells you that
you have to fulfill the real wish each character made if you want to go back to your world !?
What does it mean ?
While you’re doing your best to find out how
to fullfil theirs wishes, a new love story begins ?
Like I stated at the start of this post, generally it’s rare to find Black and brown skinned characters in Japanese otome games. Sure, there are a few that feature American or European characters, but let’s be real, Black folks don’t really show up in otome games… not unless the game is set outside of Japan or maybe if it’s one of those fantasy romance scenarios and OKKO’s Arabian Nights Love Story has both.
As cliche as the plot for this game is, I have to commend OKKO for featuring so many potential love interests with darker skin tones. You’d think it’d be a no brainer since the game is set in the Middle East, but, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen films set in the Middle East and Africa with nary a brown skinned person in sight… you mean to tell me that with all that sun, folks can’t even manage to get even a little tan? A sunburn? Something?! If a Japanese otome game set in the Middle East can give us characters of color, why the hell can’t Hollywood?!
So that’s my list, were there any games that you though should have been on the list that weren’t? Something on the list that you think shouldn’t be? Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you like what you see, like this post or follow Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! As always THANK YOU FOR READING!!