Category: Melanin Monday

Melanin Friendly Otome Games & Visual Novels

I’ve written about the importance of representation in media quite a few times in the past, I even have a post series dedicated to talking about inclusion and diversity in nerd culture. Most recently, I wrote a post about diversity (or the lack there of) in otome games and after penning the post an indie developer friend of mine reached out to me about the topic. We had an awesome discussion about the depiction of people of color in visual novels and the importance of wholesome representation. She even gave me some insight into the difficulties some content creators have when crafting characters of color in their games, a perspective I hadn’t considered. I’ve seen quite a few polls and surveys floating around about the content of western otome games and visual novels, many of which have sections dedicated to gauging player interests in diverse characters.

I love that there is an open dialogue about diversity in games, especially in romance themed games since there is a noticeable disparity in the number of otome games that feature black and brown characters in major roles. However, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are a handful of developers that have been saying that they don’t include darker skinned characters in their games because they “look bad” or aren’t as attractive as non black and brown characters. Some people have stated that it’s harder to create characters with darker complexions using the anime art style common in otome games… and hearing that is really heartbreaking. On some level, I feel like this is just a carryover of colorism, and the notion that dark skinned individuals are not as attractive as lighter skinned individuals (which is not the case at all). But, on other levels, it’s less an issue with darker characters looking bad and more a case of an artist needing more experience depicting characters of color.

There is a demand for more diverse games, heck, this past weekend someone used the search term ‘otome games black girl friendly’ to get to my site and I’m gonna be honest with you guys, it made my whole weekend! As more people start playing otome games (and romance visual novels) the demand for more inclusive characters and narratives will only rise and those who stay stuck in their ways are really limiting themselves. So, for the person that searched for black girl friendly otome games and for the folks that think “darker characters look bad” here are a few Melanin Friendly Otome Games and Visual Novels!!

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[Melanin Monday] Why Blackface in Cosplay is NOT Okay

With con season in full swing in most places, anime fans across the country are gearing up for weekends full of otaku fellowship. But, for many one of the highlights of any con are the cosplayers, who dedicate months, sometimes years into carefully crafting their costumes and props in order to pay homage to the media and characters they love.

Cosplay 

noun

A portmanteau of the words ‘costume play’, is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially characters from Japanese media.

Amateurs and professionals alike flock to these otaku meccas in hopes of showing off their hard work, strutting their stuff among the throngs of anime fans eager to share in their love of Japanese culture. Cosplay is a way for fans to express their creativity while also showing their appreciation for the media they love. Some cosplayers strive for accuracy, with carefully constructed costumes that perfectly capture the original source material, while others let their imaginations fly with unique alternative takes on popular characters.


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[Melanin Monday] Diversity in Otome Games

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and NPCs, out there it’s Monday, and that means another Melanin Monday post!! I know its been awhile since my last Melanin Monday post (I’ve been slacking off), but, for those of you just joining the party, here’s a little refresher. 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! This week, I’m looking at diversity in otome games!

Otome games promise a player driven gaming experience, giving players the opportunity to romance a diverse group of characters. But, really how diverse are otome games? Sure they feature characters from a wide range of character archetypes, but when it comes to their appearance, they all seem to fall into the same generic bishounen category. What’s more, mainstream otome games tend to have a distinct lack of racial diversity among their romance options. Western otome games have been more successful at integrating more diverse romance options in their games, with characters from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicity, but, Japanese otome games are much more restrictive in the types of romance options they offer. But, given that otome games are created with a Japanese audience in mind, this is not wholly unexpected.

However, with an increasing number of Western gamers playing otome games, this lack of diversity could alienate individuals looking for games featuring characters that share similar characteristics to themselves. In recent years, Western otome games and Original English Language Visual Novels (OELVNs) have stepped up to provide a solution by offering games with more diverse romance options that are more reflective of their target audiences. As a woman of color, I appreciate the efforts of Western developers to incorporate diverse characters into their narratives, because it creates an opportunity for representation that may have otherwise not existed.

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[Melanin Monday] So Is It Just Me or Did They Kill A Lot of Black Folks in Infinity War?!: A Rant

If you happened to stumble upon this post by accident, this will be the last spoiler warning before I start my rant… I will not apologize to anyone that knowingly reads beyond this point and gets spoiled for Infinity War, that’s on you boo.\

infinity war.jpg

So I joined droves of moviegoers in seeing one of the most anticipated superhero films to come out this year, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. Ten years of planning and 19 films have lead to this sort of final act in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Infinity War, it had everything I could ask for in a superhero film: all the heroes (minus Hawkeye and AntMan, they got put on the bus for this one), action, suspense, witty banter, and one of the biggest emotional sucker punches so far this year. It was an almost perfect film and I applaud Marvel (read: Disney) for pulling it off, if you’d asked me back in 2004 if I thought Marvel would have the monopoly on superhero films, I’d have probably laughed in your face and bopped you on the head with my homemade wand and pulled off on the Hogwarts Express back to Harry Potter-ville.

*** Infinity War Spoilers***

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Melanin Monday: Why We Need Quality Representation- A Short Rant

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s Black History Month once again and with it comes the revival of Melanin Monday, the post series where I talk about the representation of Black and brown characters in pop culture. While I mainly focus on the nerdier side of the pop culture spectrum, from time to time I will cover more personal posts about my experiences as a Black nerd.

This started as part of Black History Month 2017, but you guys liked it so much that I decided to keep it going, albeit rather sporadically. However, for the month of February I will try to post one of these every Monday.

This week I didn’t really have anything planned since this post coincides with my OWLS Blog Tour post, and I am notorious for waiting until the last minute to do anything… So rather than focus on a particular form of media, I’m just going to talk about the importance of representation in general… as a rant.

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Melanin Monday: Why We Need Black Panther

I recently saw Thor: Ragnarok, and while I think it is one of the better films to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, though I will admit a lot of that had to do with the tone of the film, rather than the actual plot (but that’s a discussion best saved for another day). In fact, I absolutely love the MCU, the good, the bad, and the ugly (I’m looking at you Hulk and Incredible Hulk), but there is one film that I am looking forward to the most from the MCU… and no, it’s not Infinity Wars Pt 1…. I mean, I am, that shit looks like it’s going to be epic, but even more than that, the film I am most looking forward to is Black Panther!

I still remember the first time I saw the teaser trailer, it literally gave me chills, hell, I still get chills every single time I watch this trailer. Don’t get me wrong, T’Challa is not the first black superhero to grace the silver screen (and God willing, he won’t be the last), but Black Panther has something the Blade franchise, Spawn, and of course the comedies like Blankman and Meteor Man never quite seemed to capture with their Black super hero leads. Don’t get me wrong, each film mentioned above, has it’s merits, but each one is missing a bit of that inherent Blackness that makes Black Panther stand out as something truly revolutionary.

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Melanin Monday: I’m Black, I Like Anime, and Other Nerdy Things… So What [Part I]

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! The series has since expanded to cover discussions and my own personal stories about being a Black nerd, because being Black and being an otaku/nerd is all a part of what makes me, well, me. 

I thought about this week’s topic for awhile, but unlike the previous weeks, I just couldn’t think of any snappy topics or lists, so I decided to go with something I knew I could easily write about… me! I know, I know, seems pretty shallow, but hear me out, I actually came up with the idea for this post after reading all of your comments on my previous Melanin Monday posts. (Yes, I read them, which is why it takes me so long to reply.) While I appreciate all comments and criticism, I was most surprised by how many Black nerds and otaku shared their stories with me about being Black in the otaku community and I’m not gonna lie, reading your comments really made my day, because you guys get it, you all get my struggle! I wish I could give you all a hug and thank you personally, because outside of my tenure at Howard and the internet, it’s not often that I meet fellow Black folks that openly admit to watching anime…

I was going to make this a one off post, but the longer I wrote the more I realized I had more than one story to share, so this will be a series within the Melanin Monday series… Series-ception! In this week’s Melanin Monday post I wanted to write about my early experiences being a black otaku, of course this isn’t the whole story, I’ll save those bits for future posts. I just wanted to share my stories the way so many of you have shared your stories with me, so this post is dedicated to all my fellow Black nerds and otaku!

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Melanin Monday: Otome Games/ Visual Novels Featuring Black & Brown Characters

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.

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Melanin Monday: Six Sensational Black Superheroes You Should Know

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!

As a Black woman and self proclaimed nerd it really means a lot to me when I see positive images of my people in media. There are so many hurtful stereotypes and images about Black and brown skinned individuals out there and it breaks my heart, so I decided to throw some positive energy out there by combining my love of my brown skin and my love of all things nerdy… two things that have never been mutually exclusive in my heart. I am and will always be a Black Nerd… or Blerd!  So, for this week’s Melanin Monday post I’m spotlighting six spectacular Black superheroes!!

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Melanin Monday: I Am Not Your Stereotype- Racial Representation in Anime [Part II]

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 special 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.

I was originally going to end the series at the end of the month, but due to the positive feedback, I will continue Melanin Mondays!! However, another weekly post series on top of all the other stuff I have to write for this blog would be a bit too much for me to handle, so I’m making this a bi-weekly series instead. So expect a new Melanin Monday post every other Monday until I get tired of writing them…

Last week I did a Top 5 List of My Favorite Black Male Anime Characters and this week, since it’s the final Monday of Black History Month, I’m going to revisit a topic I talked about two weeks ago: the representation of Black characters in anime. But, if you all will remember, that post focused on the negative portrayals of Black characters in anime, so this week, I wanted to look at the flip side of that, the positive portrayals!

*Disclaimer: I realize that this is a touchy subject for some people, but I want to let you all know right now, that while comments are welcome, I will not tolerate any personal attacks or overtly nasty comments. If you can’t discuss this post in a respectful and civilized manner, then keep your hands off the keyboard… I promise you I will not be very forgiving of anyone that uses my comments section as such! 😀

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