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Babbling Blogs by nimbusphoenix

Written by Nine-Tailed-Fox

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Submitted on
December 8, 2011


52 (who?)
Hi guys~ it's been a while. Things have been really busy here, but I think I have some time to do a small update.

I am compelled to reply to some recent controversy regarding Skullgirls and sexism. I'd rather just focus on the game, and let the product speak for itself. If things go as intended, all questions and concerns would be addressed in due time.

To be honest, people will always complain about something. That's just how the internet is. I wouldn't normally get involved with these discussions, but the issue was "officially" addressed in a rather horrible way, so now I'll need to chime in.

Our quote was taken out of context and shouldn't have been taken as an actual, serious argument against sexism. It's rather disrespectful to both Kinuko and her work, as well as the company as a whole. If you read the whole article, you will see that there is an anecdote that demonstrates the absurdity of this female-animator argument. I wish it was made more clear that we don't support the female-animator argument as a valid point against sexism at all. It has an incredibly misleading tone since the very first quote is "our lead animator is a woman." It's also in poor taste to call out another game/character by name as an example... I feel like these quotes all came from a conversation, rather than an actual interview.

I'd like to spend a bit of time to explain why Skullgirls is the way it is, and where it's coming from.

Ultimately, the things you see in Skullgirls are there because it just happens to be stuff that I wanted to do. There are elements in the world that are just here because it's cool and was fun to make. I enjoy drawing girls and monsters. I particularly enjoy drawing monster-girls. There is something more exciting about a design that is both twisted and cute at the same time. It's more interesting than just an overly aggressive monster, or something totally saccharine. I also must admit that I have a preference to play female protagonists in a game. Whether the character is sexy or not, I think there is just something more fun and intriguing about a competent female lead character.

I totally understand that my style is not for everyone. The art style is more of a cartoon exaggeration, both in proportions and poses, with several inspirations mixed in. I would be pretty content if Skullgirls was a small project and had a niche following. If you enjoy the style of this game, I can never thank you enough for your support and welcome you to our world with open arms. If you have too much of a problem with Skullgirls, then this game isn't for you. To each their own. I'm ok with that notion, and would generally prefer to stay out of public discussions.

The idea of Skullgirls started to form back in my early college years, when I saw games like EFZ and Melty Blood. I was enchanted by the idea of independent developers making these types of games. I wanted to try something in similar spirit, but with my own style and characters. In other words, I wanted to try my own take on an all-female (or mostly female) doujin fighter. I'd design these types of characters for fun anyway. The initial cast for Skullgirls was actually a collection of ideas I had floating around, some dating back to high school. Filia ended up as the lead, because she was the last one before I said "this is Skullgirls." All-female properties have existed for decades, and it's nothing new. However, in most of them, the girls tend to be fairly sugary, innocent, delicate, or elegant in their style of action. For my take on it, I wanted to try something that had those elements, but mixed with a more twisted, sinister, and aggressive context.

I also wanted to try something that is a reverse of what's normally common in shonen manga (and, really, most every other media of entertainment). It's usually the case that the main hero, or contributing members of the team are male, and the female characters are delegated as sideline character, supporting roles, or even damsels in distress. Most female characters that seem like contributing members to the team eventually end up depowered or shoved to the side anyway. I always found this to be a bit annoying, and wanted to try something in reverse.

It's also important to point out the difference between something being sexy and being sexist. I think the role of a character plays more of a defining element than what they look like. People complain about hour-glass figured female characters, but rarely do they complain about muscular/ perfectly fit male characters. Both of these are completely fine and acceptable in my opinion. The real issue comes from what their role and actions are. If a character is a sideline character and their sole purpose is to be a sex object, then it is sexist. If the character is a competent contributor to the story, then it is not sexist, even if they look sexy. Looking at a screenshot by itself, or judging by the artwork alone is extremely short-sighted. People who make knee-jerk reactionary judgments should have never been acknowledged.

There is crazy double standard that this is such a huge issue for Skullgirls. I would not even address this if it wasn't for that article showing up.

Trying to catch up on comments and such, but I'll have to do the rest of that at another time, maybe a bit more tomorrow. But again, thanks so much for all the support so far- it really means a lot to us! m(_)m
  • Mood: Tired
  • Listening to: Battle for Everyone's Slam @A@
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life-take Featured By Owner May 29, 2012
i was rereading this journal because i just decided to unfollow skullgirls on facebook because of the recent post of the valentine cosplayer. the cosplay is great of course and should be shared, valentine is one of my faves, but reading the comments and finding out you guys had to delete a lot of them for their remarks about her less-than-E boob size was just kind of it for me. i have no problem with the game itself, and i know you would have been happy with just a niche following, but when something is so popular as you guys have worked so hard to make skullgirls, it becomes difficult to ignore judgements based on what your fans do with your product. Despite your best intentions to just make something fun, how your fans view your product differently from you has brought people out that think it's ok to objectify and insult real breathing women. I had wanted to cosplay Parasoul because i love her design and character, but i'm actually afraid to because i don't want to be treated to the same kinds of comments this Valentine and other female cosplayers get, and that male cosplayers never get. I'm glad you guys deleted the worst comments, and I guess I just want to say that I hope you guys continue to use your platform like with this journal to reinforce that your game does not condone those kinds of real-life actions just because some girls are sexy in it. I'm all for sex-positivity and whatever your game can do to show that sexy=!slutty, but when you release a game like that into a male-dominated culture that is used to being pandered to and often uses sexual slurs as tough-talk to intimidate your opponent, the mix is just something that will be threatening to me and other people who just want to enjoy a game. I dunno how much my comment means, but one reason i posted it here is that I was also too afraid of being called out if I posted it on facebook. thanks for reading, at least.
IndifferentHellion Featured By Owner May 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh hey isn't this a game? Yeah, a good one at that. Isn't that all that matters?
MithranArkanere Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Professional Artist
Not for those who will not bother playing it an will only judge it based on a couple of screenshots or a few seconds of in-game footage.
AbsoluteNegativeZero Featured By Owner May 9, 2012
I've been really flip-flopping on the issue of sexism and Skullgirls and I've made an angry post or two about it, BUT upon having read this I think I can put my rabid outcries to rest and formulate a fairly civil response:

I can understand and relate to someone wanting to stick to a specific area and aesthetic, and in hindsight, I can see we need more female characters that are both competent/well-written AND sexy, as there's a big problem in our society with demonizing sexuality and just making eye candy.

But, to play devil's advocate, I think people would really like to see more characters that buck the notion of traditionally sexy fighting game ladies like what you did with Double, Painwheel, and Peacock (Would would certainly like to see more characters like that). More female characters that are awesome without the need for panty-shots and exposed cleavage, if that's like, within your power at all at this point.

Honestly, that was only thing that I was getting mad over because that it seemed like a majority of the present cast fit into this specific "ideal" that women should be curvy or skinny, and it's clear now that's not what you intended. At least I think that's what you're trying to say here?

But whatevs, Skullgirls' art and characters are still solid otherwise and congratulations on getting your stuff out there!
Bladebrent Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012
People complain about the stupidest crap these days, like saying Derpy Hooves is offensive to Mentally handicapped people. You probably should of expected some body to complain about a game with 8 girls and some of them being quite fanservice-ee (Valentine especially). It really is best to ignore these things unless it becomes a big deal. The game is awesome in the end, including the Art style. I even noticed that the Ice cream truck in the background of the one of the stages will actually Jump up off the ground if you do certain attacks (Valentines Defibrillator attack on the floor for example).
DrackGunner Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
If ya ask me if it's a sexy chick that kicks ass, ultimately BI-WINNING! and btw, your game is awesome, but it's an asshole! You guys did a muthufuggin good JAB
Yolenn Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012
I'm sorry you have to deal with this stuff.. I'd been eying your game for awhile, and finally bought it last night. Glad I did. PLEASE keep up the good work and keep going your own way. That's one nice thing about indie games is that there isn't the corporate politics around to change because all of this crap. I support you 100%.
Niking Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this game ROCK :iconmegustaplz:
manic-in-tricolour Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks for taking the time to write up this journal, it helps to see your perspective and where Skullgirls came from.

The issue with sexism in Skullgirls comes from our culture of sexual shaming, I'm pretty sure. A woman can't be sexy in our culture - if she is she must be a whore, it can't possibly be because she damn well wants to dress how she pleases, because she wants to - not because she's pandering to men (it's *always* about the men, don't you know). Because most people equate sexy to "desire", which is connected to sin and etc, as opposed to "confidence", something like Skullgirls is going to be hit with claims of sexism regardless of the artist's (and animator's) original intentions.

Though in regards to the discussions I've seen raging about this game, the counter argument of "well, the guys are all muscular and shirtless in other fighting games, you don't see guys complaining about that" is ridiculous. Of course you don't see guys complaining about that, that is just as much a male fantasy as girls in bikinis. A lot of guys seem to also be flat out uncomfortable with strong women, as for some, it feels like their "manliness" is under assault - how can a *girl* be strong? Blasphemy!

Irregardless, congrats on publishing Skullgirls! It looks fantastic, and I will definitely be picking it up. The style and confidence that you can see in the characters is very appealing, and for a gamer such as myself I find it very refreshing and pretty glad that you tried to go the "confident lead" route instead of "irritating delicate flower".
thoms230 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2012
I'm with you all the way on the "controversy." The roster is all well-rounded and has character depth beyond their respective boobs.

Although, I think ditching Umbrella and Squiggly for Valentine was a bad move. That probably only fanned the flames. (Plus I really, really want to unlock the Squiggly playable character).
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