Category: Op-Eds

Shut Up and Let Me Enjoy My Otome: Elitism in the Otome Games Community

Elitism in the otome games community has been the bane of the fandom since the beginning and I’m tired of folks bashing otome game localizations and Western fans of the genre. It seems like every time a new otome game localization is announced, folks who have played these games in the original language seem to crawl out of the dark recesses of the internet to find fault with the as of yet UNRELEASED localization. As a Western otome fan who doesn’t have a working knowledge of the Japanese language these new localizations give me and others like me a chance to experience otome games that otherwise we’d never get a chance to play. 

I usually stay out of the otome discourse, because fandoms can be toxic and as a grown adult woman, I have bigger things to worry about than arguing with folks on the internet. But, with the increase in new otome game localizations the elitism that permeates the otome fandom has reached an all time high and I’m just sick of it! So, today I want to share my thoughts on elitism in the otome games fandom from the perspective of a Western fan who is fed up with all the BS. 

So first off, check your privilege at the door–I am not here to entertain trolls. If you don’t agree with me, fine; everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I will not abide by personal attacks or bullying–you will be blocked. 

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OWLS June “Vulnerable” Blog Tour – Inspiring Hope and Strength in Others: Making a Case for the Vulnerability of Otome Heroines 

Hey Hey Owlets!! As many of you guys know I’m a member of the blogging group OWLS (Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect). We’re a group of bloggers and vloggers that hope to spread a message of acceptance and understanding through thoughtful community activism! We use our love of pop-culture and other media to discuss a wide range of topics. 

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Last month during our Happiness Blog Tour we looked at the things in our lives that bring us joy, from our hobbies to families and friend, and everything in between. This month we’re redefining our weaknesses in the  June Vulnerable Blog Tour!

In the month of June, we will be discussing what it means to be vulnerable. To some individuals, being vulnerable could be seen as a sign of weakness, but in fact, vulnerability is actually a sign of strength. In this month’s posts, we will explore what it means to be vulnerable and how certain characters in pop culture glamorize vulnerability. When do we show our vulnerability? How do we express vulnerability? Why should we show vulnerability? These are questions that we will be discussing in our posts featuring characters that show vulnerability and/or sensitivity and what we can learn from them or even our own personal stories. 

June 2019 Vulnerable Blog Tour Prompt

I thought long and hard about what I’d write about for this month’s tour. Since this is an otome games blog, I figured I’d go with something related to that rather than the usual anime and manga topics I usually pick. Otome heroines get a pretty bad rap since they are typically seen as self insert characters with little to no agency within the context of their respective games. But, there has been a shift in recent years towards more self sufficient heroine characters, especially in English otome games where protagonists tend to have a more well defined personalities and motivations. Though, generally speaking heroines are still arguably the weakest characters despite having the most important role in otome games. So, I wanted to look at the roles otome heroines play in otome game narratives through the lens of the heroine, Ichika Hoshino in the otome game Collar x Malice.  

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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 

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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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Otome Debates: Localization

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, as promised, here’s the first official Otome Debates post! Going into 2018 I wanted to branch out a bit from just otome game reviews, by adding some editorial styled otome games related content. The idea is to produce informative content about otome games that both fans and non-fans of the genre can enjoy. So what should you expect from this and other Otome Debates posts?

This is a brand spankin’ new bi-weekly (Tuesdays) post series where I talk about a few of the “controversial” topics floating around the online otome community. I’ll be covering a wide range of topics within the scope of otome games and their connected media. You don’t necessarily have to be familiar with otome games or the online otome games community to enjoy these posts, since they will mostly offer a general overview of the topic with points from both sides.

Otome Debates: Introduction 

This week’s topic is one that has caused a lot of buzz in the online otome community. It’s a topic that has been at the center of some of the most heated Twitter battles… a topic that has divided the community for years… I wish I was joking, it seems like every time an English language version of an otome game is released in the West, the online otome games community implodes. Friend turn on friends, members of the #OtomeArmada immediately scramble to opposing sides and the rampant passive aggressive tweets begin to fly… But, what is “localization” and is it really worth all the fuss?

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