After a seven year pause in games, Samurai Warriors 5 is out and it features a new kunoichi (female ninja)
character – Mitsuki. You can tell she’s a kunoichi because she’s dressed like she’s from a ninja gaiden game. For those not aware, Ninja Gaiden is set in 1980s USA and Samurai Warriors is set in Sengoku Period (1467 – 1615) Japan.
Now the thing with the Sengoku Period is that it is an area of history where we have some good evidence of female professional warriors (onna-musha) being around (though their role has historically been downplayed and so the specifics are unclear) and we have some artwork depicting what they might have looked like… unsurprisingly the armour they wore was the same as the men’s.
When not in armour, they are understood to have worn clothes typical of feudal Japan… basically the opposite of this outfit.
So… how can this be an improvement? Well from Samurai Warriors 1 – 4 the equivalent character was a kunoichi who’s name is… Kunoichi and is… *checks notes* apparently fifteen years old…
And, again… I want to stress… there are real women from his era with artistic depictions of them available, so for a game where most of the cast are historical figures… this is um… well I don’t need to tell you.
I didn’t say it was a big improvement… or one worth congratulating them on, but it is at least a very minor improvement… very, very minor.
Very, very, very minor.
While it may not seem like the initial bingo material – I invite you consider how the fuck she is supposed to do literally anything in this plate armor.
The helmet literally covers her eyes so she can’t see anything past her toes
Her exposed mouth and lower face, combined with clawed gauntlets, mean any attempt to adjust it would mangle herself
The armor is form fitted to her torso so she can’t bend, turn or even make big movements with her arms. I doubt she can even breathe with that boobplate.
Leg legs are locked into the “maximum thigh gap” pose. so she can’t even walk, let alone engage in combat footwork
This is not armor, this is some next level BDSM shit for people who find vacuum bondage too vanilla. (nsfw)
(Honestly glad there is no mantis race… at least I think there isn’t…)
Unsurprisingly a large part of the Steam community screenshots etc is ogling even more ridiculous sets of armor.
I don’t know which is worse, the weird horny marketing put together by the Creepy Marketing Guy or the more generic, family friendly marketing that tricks people into downloading the game and finding the options for female characters are fighting fucktoy, sexy sorcereress and bad archer..
Not the mask used as a fascinator, not the inexplicable window on her back, not the skirts that seem to only exist only to blow up and show her legs – nor the odd peakaboo slits on the sides of her shorts, nor the or the skin tight top – but rather the weird piece of cloth that sits on top of of the vacuum sealed top to incorporate underboob and nipple tease without actually showing any torso skin.
She is also possibly the worst archer in the history of bad archers.
Now… obviously expectations are low for this genre of game, but this particular gacha game has had made spread in the market and multiple articles about tis monetization techniques – so this remains an example of how this kind of trash design goes unquestioned in modern media.
The key consideration on this work is why is the armor and why the specific placement and design of the armor? Why this design? Particularly if its a more complicated design than regular armor.
Anzogh has a ridiculous cow skull on his belt, and a strap across his chest, bone bracelets to emphasise how little he has – it conveys that his is powerful and needs none of the convenience of civilization (like armor). Sometimes these characters have massive pauldrons to give them a more menacing silhouette
Saoirse has armor on her arms, and bits of her legs, the gaps in her armor are not to show power or independence, but to showcase her body from tits to hips. It’s to assure you that despite these weapons, her age and being on the battlefield… she’s got it going on. Generally when characters like this get shoulder, hip or thigh armor it’s to accentuate their hips and frame their torso pleasingly.
This is why we don’t trust explanations for why female protagonists have to have convoluted sexy costumes…. because if nothing else it means that they’ve decided they’re comfortable with making that a cornerstone of their brand.
And… I don’t even know what to do with this except cringe.
So… Fortnite is supposed to be a game for kids, hence there’s no blood and lots of tactics to make kids scream at their parents that they totally need a skin or a dance.
So it’s kind of weird that when I did a search for best female skins, this weird rip off of Blizzard’s style pops up with her inexplicably bared armpits (do children really care if women shave their armpits?) and overly complicated boobplate.
Oh well, at least this was only the second item on the list… the first is well… I wouldn’t say its great armor but at least I can see how it is for children…
Which is baffling, because the series very much recognizes the general disconnect between wanting to be a super extra, and also wanting to be able to make no effort (see Travis, the guy in the middle). I feel the need to warn you that reading this paragraph may cause you psychic damage, I know it did to me…
Meanwhile when it comes to imagery and costumes for female characters… the series is full of, well, this….
Because I mean… this is an area of popular media is ripe for satire. Really ripe. So ripe. Over ripe. Riper than balls.
So, Rogue Company is the game with the most forgettable name… and the most forgettable aesthetic. At the time of this post their main video juxtaposes Ronin (above) with a male hero, Dima.
You may already have noticed some issues aside from the cringe inducing leaning into “Japanese girl with a katana” (who is also a street racing champion) archetype… in a game mostly about shooting people.
So the (forty year long) King’s Bounty video game series has had it’s up and downs, the biggest down being the cover art for the ironically named Armored Princess.
Second place goes to Dark Side:
Third place goes to Crossworlds expansion to Armoured Princess where they decided to go with an even worse design like it was going to be the core brand:
So when I saw they had a new game in the works, I was kind of surprised that it appeared relatively low fantasy with costumes inspired by history and… no beyond peasants and nobles… then I saw the Celestial Warrior, which seems to be the only female unit.
Now, this does of course count as improvement… but that’s hardly worth celebrating since the bar for that was so low and… there’s just something about the developer videos and promotions that makes me… concerned about what content they may not yet be showing off…