Category: Op-Eds

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. 

owl

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 

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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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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Otome Debates: Introduction

Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, welcome to the introductory post of the new Otome Debates series! *throws confetti* Technically, this series won’t start until next Tuesday, but before I spring it on you guys I wanted to go over what to expect from the series when it kicks off next week.

What The Series is About…

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.

The Format…

The basic format will be as follows:

  • Introduction: Brief overview of the topic and an introduction to the various viewpoints people in the otome community have about said topic.
  • Viewpoint Breakdown: This will make up the bulk of the post (roughly 2-4 paragraphs) and focus on fleshing out the opposing viewpoints of the topic. I’ll highlight the main points of each opposing viewpoint, while offering examples to support or refute each argument. I will try to remain as impartial as possible in this section in order to give readers a better understanding of the subject matter without my ickle feelings getting in the way.
  • My Personal Opinion: Like it says, I’ll offer up my opinion on the topic and where I stand on the issues presented in the Viewpoint (name to be changed) section. I’ll try to keep this short, but if I feel strongly about the topic, it might be longer…
  • Conclusion/Wrap Up: A summary of the points presented in the post followed by a poll, so that you guys can weigh in on which side of the debate you stand on (anonymously). You can also share your opinions in the comments section and/or ask for clarification on a point brought up in the post.

Like I said, I won’t be unrolling this bad boy until next week Tuesday, so be on the lookout for that. As a show of good faith, I’ll reveal the topic for the inaugural post… *drumroll* Otome Game Localizations! Yeah, people have strong feelings about localization, so I figured it’d be the perfect way to kick off the new year!!

What do you think of the new post series? Think it’s a good idea? Do you have a topic suggestion? Wanna chat? Drop a line in the comments section (I promise, I don’t bite…much). As always THANK YOU FOR READING!! 

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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Don’t Do It: Where I Stand on Piracy in the Otome Community

This post has been a long time coming, and while I have been relatively silent on the whole thing, this is something that needed to be said. Now, there are two reasons I have been quiet about this and they are as follows: One, I know some of the purists out there will find my stance a bit “controversial” (mind you I legit made air quotes when I said that) and I didn’t want to deal with the backlash from that when I was just getting my start… believe it or not I am sensitive about that sort of thing. Two, I was a pirate myself and I had no desire to draw attention to myself by making any claims one way or the other, again in order to avoid backlash…

control your emotions

Before you guys start sharpening your axes and grabbing your pitchforks, I’ll have you know I am reformed and believe me, I have the bank statements to prove it! So, I more or less have a pretty strong opinion about people pirating games, however, you should note that I am not a purist in any sense of the word, so my stance is double sided. I am prepared for a bit of backlash with this one and honestly, you’d be pretty hard pressed to change my opinion on this topic since I have literally been on both sides of the debate. But, I do encourage you all to share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section, however, keep the personal attacks to yourself. I am not against telling someone to *clears throat* “Go fuck themselves”, and that’s literally all the warning I plan on giving, because I do not tolerate personal attacks. 

*Disclaimer: This post contains my thoughts and my opinions about piracy and such I tend to use rather colorful language when discussing things I am passionate about, be warned that there will be a bit of swearing involved in this post. I could have censored this post, but I didn’t! 

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Only Lonely Women Play Otome Games and Other Common Misconceptions

This post has been a long time coming, and I mean a LONG time coming… I had the idea for this post around the time that post about the infamous Vogue article, but it wasn’t until a month or two ago when I saw an especially troubling search term that I actually started writing this post.

Otome miscon

Before I get into why this is so problematic, let me say that I am in no way shape or form the authority on otome games and the types of people that play them. I can only speak for myself and my experiences. However, despite that I can still say with some degree of certainty, that otome gamers get a bad rap sometimes. So I decided to write a post that addresses some of the misconceptions people have about otome gamers while still answering the above question.

*Disclaimer: The ideas presented in this post are my own, it’s fine if you disagree with me. All I ask is that you be respectful when commenting. 

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Mystic Messenger Bans and the Petition

Edit (9/25): I have been receiving a large number of comments from players that are receiving bans for reasons other than turning back the time on their devices. If you feel that you have been wrongfully banned, contact Cheritz directly and submit an official report on the issue through: help@cheritz.com!

Edit 9/24: The petition was removed from Change.org due to negative backlash on twitter. The creator posted an explanation on Instagram, but it has since been removed

*Cheritz has lifted bans on all wrongfully banned accounts, read the full post, HERE!*

I really thought that I was done writing about Mystic Messenger, but the recent update has many in the fandom up in arms and I think it’s time I gave opinion on the matter.

I do not stand behind that silly Petition, in fact, I think the whole thing is utterly ridiculous! For those who don’t know, Cheritz just released an update that changed some things about the Mystic Messenger experience:

  1. Players that were/are resetting their device times to replay missed chats will now have their accounts PERMANENTLY BANNED!
  2. Max Speed in chats will now be reserved for VIP members only. VIP membership can be  purchased from Cheritz, HERE.
  3. Cheritz will also be restricting the number of save files players can use for free.
  4. Finally, 5 HOURGLASSES will be used every time players load a save file!

First, I see absolutely nothing wrong with these updates. Cheritz is still a relatively small developer and they spent a lot of time and money to make this game a reality. So, it only makes sense that they would try to recoup some of their investments. Developing a game, especially a voiced game requires a considerable amount of money and time. And the fact that Cheritz decided to make the game a free to play app is very generous on their part! So when I saw that some angry fan went out and created petitions against Cheritz on Change.org, I was a little pissed off and here’s why…

*This post is my opinion and it’s cool if you don’t agree with it, I am open to hearing what everyone has to say, but I WILL NOT TOLERATE any personal attacks. Do not use my comments section to attack anyone, be sure to keep all discussions tame.

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To Be the MC or Not To Be the MC: How Do You Otome?

Introduction

Before reading this post, it’s important to answer one simple question: What exactly is an otome game?  Generally speaking, otome games (shortened to otoge) are “story based video games that are targeted towards a female audience” (wiki). Typically, the plots of these games focus on fostering a romantic relationship between a female protagonist and one of several male (and in some cases female) love interests. While romance is the main draw for players, otoges have been known to cover a diverse range of subjects and topics. In the past, otoges were only marketed towards Japanese women, but in recent years their popularity has extended to the Western market.  This new, growth has led to a rise in English-language otome games and an increase in the number of localized Japanese otoges. However, the market for otoges in the West is considerably smaller than that of the Japanese market.

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So this past week I saw that Vogue had written an article about otome games…At first I was excited, this is just what we need, I thought, more exposure means more games…and what better way to get that exposure, than to have an article in an internationally syndicated medium, like Vogue. So like many of you, I retweeted and reblogged the article, but then I read it again and I noticed something I didn’t realize the first time. First, they assume all otoge players are women and two they generalize players…On the first count, Vogue is primarily targeted at women…so I guess I can let that slide, but the second point isn’t so easily dismissed. The article made it seem like women/girls who play otome games do so in order to escape the reality of not having a real boyfriend….

steve harvey what's wrong with you

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