The Art of Dragon’s Crown is Perfectly Fine – Please Stop Being Paranoid

Every week, the stormy seas of the Internet bring forth something new that gets a certain area of the gaming press up in arms. Last week’s point of contention was the peculiar art style of Vanillaware’s Dragon Crown, which will be released on PS3 and PS Vita on July 25th in Japan, and on August 6th in the United States.

What’s the big deal? If you’ve given even a passing glance to the artwork above, you probably already know: the rather outrageous curves of a couple of the playable characters — to be precise the Sorceress and the Amazon — that sent our resident pundits spiraling into a berserker rage.

Everything started a couple weeks earlier with Jason Schreier of Kotaku calling the artist that designed the sorceress a 14-year-old boy. George Kamitani — who happens to be that designer, and also Vanillaware’s president — wasn’t exactly happy about it and retaliated by posting on his Facebook account a picture with three burly and bare-chested dwarfs (that you can see below) accompanied by a message stating that those could fit Schreier’s taste better.


Of course Schreier immediately went up in flames arguing that the sinful image was the focus of a “gay joke” against him, and while he spent a couple lines somehow “apologizing” for the 14-year-old boy comment, he went on a long-winded tirade on how he was actually right and why Kamitani’s art would be “embarrassing,” “uncomfortable,” and would be “symbolic of a much bigger problem” of sexism in the video game industry. To be completely honest, an apology followed by a philippic like that sounds rather backhanded and insincere, but let’s move on. Kamitani himself apologized explaining that his was just a lighthearted joke.

Other journalists joined Kamitani’s public flogging. For instance, Ben Kuchera of the Penny Arcade Report perpetuated the idea that Kamitani’s retort was a “gay joke” and continued by calling his art “disappointing,” “done, old, creaky, and a relic from another time” and “obvious and bland.” He also very conveniently never made a single mention of the fact that Schreier was the first to attack Kamitani on a very personal level.

Other journalists and writers, of course, responded to the usual “Circle the wagons!” call and started firing on Kamitani as well, because heaven forbid a developer dare fire back (albeit with a joke that can be interpreted as distasteful) when he’s fired upon.

On Friday Schreier came out of the woodwork again posting a long letter received from Kamitani, in which the designer explained the meaning behind the joke (that actually makes quite a lot of sense and most probably wasn’t intended to be a “gay joke” at all), apologized profusely for it and even for having made people uncomfortable with his artwork. Of course, Schreier didn’t miss the chance to display the apology like a “I was right!” medal on his puffed chest and reiterate his point that Kamitani’s art is to be condemned as a symbol of sexism.



Now that the history lesson is done, let’s get to the first point: it’s entirely normal and warranted for Kamitani to apologize for his joke that, while light-hearted (and even funny and on point once you actually read the explanation), could arguably be interpreted as a jab at Schreier’s sexuality, especially considering his position as the president of a company that needs to care for the well being of his employees and the image his publisher.

That said, when an artist feels compelled to apologize for his art style it’s a clear sign that video game journalism has reached a new low.

It’s already bad enough that veterans of the game press resorted to the rather cheap and low-handed tactic of immediately interpreting Kamitani’s arguably distasteful retort as a “gay joke” to make him look like the villain of the story, trying as much as possible to sweep the fact that he was insulted first under the rug; but what’s really problematic is the rather savage attacks on his artwork, trying to sell his personal art style as a “problem.”

First of all, let’s address quickly the idea that Dragon’s Crown art would be overdone, obvious, bland and old. It’s not, and if it was it wouldn’t have pulled so much attention and we wouldn’t be here talking about about it. If it was so insignificant our resident pundits would have ignored it like they ignore the tens of games featuring ladies with generous curves coming out every year, instead of writing pages upon pages of hate against it.


What may arguably be considered old and overdone is the style of those games that feature ladies with large breasts and generally very soft and audacious forms, but Kamitani’s art has only one thing in common with those: the breast size of two characters.

His style is obviously not defined just by that. Not all his female characters feature large breasts, as the elf definitely doesn’t display ample cleavage (she’s most strikingly flat as a surfboard despite retaining the recognizable style in the muscular thighs). Moreover, anyone with the slightest artistic expertise will tell you that there are many other defining elements like the painterly strokes, the caricature anatomy, and the exaggerated  muscle masses. Those elements set Dragon’s Crown‘s art apart from the overdone, old and bland very radically. Pleasant or unpleasant? That’s just a matter of taste.

Then we have the argument that Kamitani’s art is made exclusively for the male eye, making female gamers (and not only them) feel uncomfortable and excluded, implying that ladies don’t care for playing characters with exaggerated curves.

Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with artwork making the onlooker feel uncomfortable. The history of art is dotted of several styles that have the whole purpose of conveying a feeling of discomfort. That said, I always find it interesting when male journalists preach on what female gamers like to play or dislike to see. It almost seems to imply that ladies share some form of hive mind that imposes a unified sense of aesthetics and bans generous bosoms from their set of character design preferences.

TERA_Abriael (179)

That’s actually a rather funny notion, considering that I’ve seen (and I’m sure most of you have as well) quite a lot of very proud female gamers crank that breast slider all the way up in their favorite MMORPG that allows it. And yes, contrary to the extremely outdated popular belief, ladies do play MMORPGs and enjoy a wide variety of representations of the female form in them.

TERA, with its’s radical overexposure of female skin, is probably the MMO in which I met the most ladies in my gaming career. Most of them didn’t really seem too bothered to me. Mind you, many of them were also anxiously waiting for Blade & Soul and its outrageously sensual (and definitely fetching) art style by Hyung-tae Kim.

If there’s one place on the wide Internet that allows people of all genders and sexual orientations to express their fantasies and taste in shaping their virtual form, that’s  Second Life. While it isn’t properly a game in the strictest meaning of the term, it allows its users a virtually infinite range of options and almost complete freedom in looking exactly how they like to look. Second Life is also extremely popular between the ladies (demonstrably so, as it features a very popular built-in voice chat support that makes hiding one’s gender quite difficult).

Candy_Ducatillon_SLPicture courtesy of Candy Ducatillon

One of the most popular avatar accessories (attachments that are used to decorate one’s virtual alter ego) is a set of extremely oversized breasts named Lola Tango. You can see an avatar “wearing” them just above and it’s interesting how similar they look to those proudly displayed by Dragon Crown’s sorcerers.

Guess what? They sell like hotcakes between the ladies and they are made by a lady. So much for the notion that women don’t like to play characters with outrageously large breasts and feel “excluded” by their display.

What’s even funnier is that Schreier thinks that Dragon Crown’s semi-naked and enormously muscular dwarf is not a comparable element with the game’s arguably saucy ladies, as he would be a representation of a “straight male power fantasy.” I don’t know about you, and I most certainly can’t speak for Mr. Schreier, but I’m a straight male, and looking like an oversized, amorphous, short chunk of shapeless meat does not figure between my fantasies, power or otherwise.

In eight years observing the diverse and delightfully colorful crowd of Second Life, I saw many ladies with forms comparable to Dragon Crown’s sorceress. Dudes looking like the dwarf? Not even one.


Let’s even go as far as assuming for a moment that Dragon’s Crown might indeed be specifically targeted to a male audience. What exactly is wrong with that? Every single game out there has its own target. Some have a more specific one, some are aimed to a broader audience, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with software houses pursuing specific audiences.

Not all games can be or should be designed to address the desires and tastes of every single gamer on Earth, and most simply can’t afford to cater even to the majority. If designers had to sit at a table every single time to study ways to cater to everyone, we’d find ourselves with horribly diluted and thinned down games full of banal “token” characters aimed to satisfy every single group or audience segment sitting on the face of the planet. I can’t even start to imagine how boring such games would be.

The fun part of this all is that game journalists have waltzed around for years trying to persuade everyone of the (sacrosanct) fact that video games are a form of art, but now in the name of being “inclusive,” some of them aren’t willing to allow designers some much needed artistic freedom in designing their characters however they feel like, and in including the elements they feel nearest to their philosophy and ideas.

Something I find quite telling is that the pundits are ever eager to launch themselves in overblown rants against games that arguably objectify the female form, but I don’t think I ever seen any of them aim their complaints at productions like the Hakuoki series, despite the fact that two of its titles have already been released in the US, and a third — Hakuoki: Memories of the Shinsengumi for the 3DS — has just been announced.


Otome Games like Hakuoki are aimed at a very specific female audience, and their design is inspired by the style of Shojo Manga, which is one of the most evident forms of objectification of the male body (contrary to popular belief you don’t need to show much skin to objectify a body) you can find in the Japanese media. Yet it seems to be completely okay in the eyes of our valiant journalists.

Mind you, I have absolutely nothing against Otome Games and their art style. As a matter of fact, I’ve always been a staunch proponent of Shojo Manga since my earliest years as a reader and enthusiast. I’m just showing a rather evident double standard.

I definitely don’t care for looking like an extra-thin twig that desperately needs a sandwich, but I’m still able to enjoy this kind of female-targeted manga, anime and games, and their stories. They most definitely don’t make me feel excluded, despite the objectification and the fact that the art style doesn’t really correspond to any aspiration of mine, fantasy or otherwise.

Ultimately, the human form — male and female — has been an object of admiration, desire, adoration and even worship since prehistory. It’s a little late to come up with the idea that such displays are bad. As a matter of fact, the moments when the objectified human form has been most censored can easily be identified as the most culturally depressing periods of obscurantism in the history of humanity.


Let’s move on to the concept that Dragon’s Crown‘s art would somehow be a symbol of sexism in the game industry. Let me preface that sexism is a very relevant and real problem in the industry, and as a writer that doesn’t speak English as his first language, I’m especially sensitive to the issues faced by those that find obstacles in their professional career due to elements they have little or no control on. Ladies that have trouble expressing their voice and being appreciated for their work in our industry have my whole support (while I don’t necessarily think that most of them need or want the help of the little army of male journalists ever ready to don the silver armor to defend them).

That said, arguing that this kind of art is part of the problem is absolutely ridiculous.

Many women working in the industry or elsewhere have absolutely no problem drawing and enjoying very shapely female curves. A ten-minute trip on Deviantart will show that fact quite clearly.

Many of the passionate cosplayers that spend hours creating their costumes are proud of their femininity and find absolutely no issue on the idea of displaying it with vertiginous cleavages or generous displays of skin. Are they part of the problem too?

juliet_starling_cosplay_by_soolrak-d4zh31iPicture courtesy of Ariel

Can the cosplayers that so often get harassed or otherwise molested during several events be pointed at as a symbol of the problem they’re made victims of? Of course not, and art is no different. The female body is represented in our industry in a myriad of different ways because our industry is the result of a myriad of different tastes and caters to even more different tastes. A (undeniably large) percentage of those people, whether they are creators or users of either sexes like their breasts large, and there’s simply nothing wrong with that.

The real problem is that there aren’t yet enough women that seek employment in our industry, and that those ladies still aren’t treated like they deserve. Do you really think that showing a hostile environment when artistic freedom isn’t granted and protected will encourage them to join the fray?

The real problem is that some female cosplayers (some males too, mind you) are treated like meat because some of the onlookers are pigs and think that sexiness is an explicit invitation to sex (rings a bell?), not because artists enjoy designing ladies with alluring shapes. To represent the very real problem of sexism with a simple and very personal artistic choice means trivializing the issue, and this isn’t a problem that should be trivialized.

Dragons Crown

What’s paradoxical is that those that attack George Kamitani’s art don’t even realize that they may easily be lashing at someone sitting on their same side of the fence. His art is normally very soft and tasteful, but with Dragon’s Crown he went out of this way to be outrageous. So outrageous that he broke every single rule of anatomy and classical aesthetics. This can be logically interpreted as a satirical view on the sexualized displays of bodies that some seem to hate so much, and a much more tasteful way to criticize them from the inside.

Ultimately, I find absolutely ludicrous that we’ve spent years upon years fighting the censors and defending our hobby from the pundits on Fox News, but now we’re turning into the censors ourselves. We’re becoming the Fox News-style pundits that ride on controversy. It’s ludicrous and extremely depressing.

Criticism is sacrosanct, but it should be aimed towards quality (and the lack of thereof) and towards the real core of the problem. When an artist is painted as a villain and feels forced to apologize for his art style we have failed.

We’re not exercising criticism, we’re not doing journalism. We have become the bullies we so fiercely fought against for half of our lives.

Join the Discussion

  • Yes.

    • TuxedoMoroboshi

      ^Perfect comment is perfect.

  • Interesting article. I too, find this whole situation ridiculous,

    On a lighter note though, all this did remind me of my aunt. Specifically when she first started up Dark Souls. She is a big character creation fanatic, she loves to design her characters to the minute detail.. She was so disappointed to find out that her character was flat chested and couldn’t change that.(which makes sense but thats beside the point) She loves her big breasts haha.

    When I got her to play FFXIV her first look at character creation and she was like “OMG Breast size, YES!” Thats cracked me up.

    • Your Aunt gets 100 respect points from me.

    • TuxedoMoroboshi

      The anecdote about your aunt seems to be a very good example of how busty women can feel excluded when busty characters are not included in games, especially ones with character creation. We should be working to ADD MORE variety in body-types, not take them away!

  • Masoud House

    Great article. Personally, I don’t even find the Amazon sexualized, because a lot of her art shows her with a super muscular frame and her breasts are a completely acceptable size. She looks like what she is: a female trained in the woods to be a warrior her whole life. I can’t ignore the fact that she’s half-naked, but I’m sure that was the artists’ way of showing off her exaggerated musculature. And many forest-warriors are depicted half naked anyway. Conan, anyone?

    As you stated, the Ranger is well closed, has small breasts, and even her strong, curvy legs are well wrapped up.

    The sorceress, however sexy, is his take on the old school witch image, but just sexier. And as you said, plenty of people draw “sexy” versions of archetypes: with the ranger and amazon representing a unique and acceptable take on their types, this “sexy sorceress” only makes for one character drawn to be sexy. Out of more than several characters. I don’t think that’s enough of a reason for the industry to go rabid.

  • Amazing article. It completely conveys all my thoughts on how these “journalists” handled the situation. Personally I think Jason Schreier started this whole thing because he wanted more pageviews and attention and not because he was genuinely concerned with the artwork.

    • TuxedoMoroboshi

      I wouldn’t doubt that. For starters, there’s LOTS of articles on Kotaku about sexy female cosplayers and “booth babes”. It seems rather hypocritical to have articles like that posted yet still shun Dragon’s Crown (and worst of all, result to infantile name calling of the game’s artist). Granted, Jason Schreier may not have anything to do with those specific articles (I wouldn’t know either way), but you’d think he’d be a bit more vocal about them if he truly felt as passionate about the issue as he makes himself out to be.

      I’m also still rather baffled as to why, of ALL the games out there, it’s Dragon’s Crown that’s getting all this attention regarding this topic. It’s relatively tame about sexuality in comparison to many other things out there, really.

      • Exactly. And what makes it worse is that just yesterday, Jason wrote an article about the evils of censorship of JRPGs. So basically, either he’s a giant hypocrite or he’s simply trying to entice the rage from nerds for more hits. And naturally, practically zero of his Kotaku followers called him out on this.

        He probably chose Dragon’s Crown because Atlus is still small and he’s afraid of starting something huge like this with a much larger company.

  • Fantastic article and I couldn’t agree more with you. I found the whole argument Kotaku made was absolutely ridiculous and downright shameful, such sad state of video game journalism going on these days. At least you haven’t forgotten what fair journalism is about. Muchs props!

  • Kamille

    those characters are all so ugly!

    • That’s an opinion like any other. I find them quite fetching and interesting in their satirical perspective. But hey, being ugly doesn’t mean they’re a problem no?

      • Exactly. Personally I absolutely ADORE the characters and art style of this game and all of Vanillaware.

        Every single character. My favorite so far is probably the Archer. <3

    • foureyes oni

      i find them to be weird looking yet amusing at the same time. Its also very different from the usual stuff so it makes me intrigued about the game.

  • Im guessing this JASON SCHREIER doesn’t know anything about art and can’t even draw some lines himself. i don’t like this style of art either but it doesn’t mean i don’t appreciate the hard work of the artist .

  • Aristides

    Keep up the good fight! I became an indie video game developer to self publish my work and bypass these stupid sensors that plagued my work in the past. I personally like DC’s art style because it tries to be different, it’s not like George Kamitani is using sex as an image to make money, it’s a fundamental way of expressing his art. True art should be allowed to take it’s intended form, otherwise it defeats the point and I believe that video games are art.

    • Exactly. It’s funny to see the same press that fought against the idea that games aren’t art (and they are), go radically against the idea of creative and artistic freedom.

      Funny and somewhat tragic.

  • Arcius

    I can’t care less about what this art style represents or what this article is about. To me, these characters look ugly and out of proportion.

    • So does Picasso.

    • That’s fine. That’s just part of their intended style. Which is the charicature part.

      • Dario Fas Marin

        Picasso doesn’t charicaturize anything, just read a little about cubism, he depicts the distorsion of time over matter. Anyway Picasso was a sexist macho, maybe the analogy was not so bad.

        • Too bad that being a “sexist macho” wasn’t his reason to paint characters out of proportion.

          Doesn’t matter if you put on it a nice label like “distortion of time over matter”, entire sectors of art have defied anatomy for millennia, and there’s nothing wrong with it.

          • Dario Fas Marin

            It’s not a nice label, is the basis of the cubism. You can see a leg from three different angles and moving at the same time. About the anatomy, there have been different representation of conventional beauty along centuries, based on head measures, the aureus number, etc. There was a trend of academic realistic anatomy depiction on a lot of pictures since the 16th century.that lasted until 20th century when the artistic vanguards arose. Now we are in a post-modern era were a busty manga girl with a stick on her ass can be considered as Ecchi if you believe your eyes or metaphoric art if your try to fool your mind by looking for a senseless speech that only some pure mind boobie lovers can unveil.

          • Again you’re wrong. While there has always been a conventional way to paint anatomy, there have always been unconventional ways. And Kamitani’s style is nowhere conventional, either in art in general or in the Japanese game industry.

          • TuxedoMoroboshi

            Nude “bitches”? Wow, you’re calling Picasso sexist, yet you’re saying something pretty sexist yourself.

  • Amen to this Article!
    thing that REALLY pissed me off personally was that he justified super
    muscly men (And other various objectification of Men) as being OK
    because Men don’t get harassed when they cosplay. And that because women
    do(Who, newsflash you know kind of reinforce said “Objectification” by
    choosing to dress that way in the first place. Not that harassing them
    or taking inappropriate pictures is OK. Because it’s NOT) that makes
    this kind of art wrong.

    look at all the characters. It’s highly varying. You dont’ see people
    complaining that the Elf female archer is all “Objectified”. They just
    see a few big breasts poking out here and there or an Amazonian woman
    that doesn’t have a ton of clothing on(Not like she needs it’ She’s
    ripped! I bet she could kick anyone’s ass)
    And get all butthurt.

    Not like depictions of Greek mythology have ever been any different
    Pandora’s Box:
    Atalanta(A daughter of Hades):

    Or any other Ancient Mythology.

  • J.R

    A well detailed article and good insight (aka, Someone who gets it). Art style is all a matter of preference and for someone who has seen and followed George Kamitani i’ll admit i was surprised at his approach to Dragon’s Crown but honestly, this was blown way out of proportion. For people who have said to have fought against the notion that “games have no artistic credibility”, there doing a good job of blowing themselves in the face.

    I always did find it annoying that male journalist always like to dictate what female’s perceived to like and not like when i have seen the complete opposite.

  • GaySkull

    Kotaku leave my innocent little game alone!

    George Kamitani is a genius artist and he knows what he is doing.
    He has good taste and style.
    One of the best this generation.
    He is the Champion King of 2D games this generation and many 2D sprite artists revere his excellent contribution to the art of 2D sprite gaming,

  • I think the artwork looks fantastic, and I’m really excited for a game that looks as fresh and fun as this one.

  • Perfect article, Giuseppe. It amazes me that so many people were on board with Schreier’s rant when it’s probably the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever seen a game journalist do.

    To people like Schreier, gamers aren’t individuals. They’re just entities; male gamers are all immature “dudebros” who want to play as the Dwarf because it’s a “male power fantasy”. Not thinking, feeling individuals who might be as offended by the Dwarf and Fighter as Schreier’s hypothetical female gamer who needs to be protected, and might not appreciate being dismissed. Female gamers are all delicate flowers who can’t possibly enjoy playing as the Sorceress and need to be protected from her sinful character design. Not a varied bunch of adults who might enjoy equally-varied female characters, not just a bunch of bland “realistic” women like Schreier is advocating for.

    It’s a disturbingly backwards attitude to have and far more harmful to women (and men) in the games industry than some character designs that Schreier is crusading against. I’ve already seen pictures of women cosplaying as the Sorceress and the Elf (but not the Amazon, since there’s not much “cos” to play with).

    Kamitani did nothing wrong, yet game journalists seem to feel justified in insulting him because he dared to draw what he wanted instead of what they wanted.

    • yeah, I’m always pretty amazed when someone wants to peg a certain preference or taste on half the population of the world, when he doesn’t even belong to that half.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to write about it, but speaking for a whole group you don’t belong to always strikes me as pretty pretentious, and most definitely very fallacious.

  • Anita

    Do you think it matters? This is still sexist, you privileged pig.

    • Yep, it matters, and no, it’s not sexist, as I explained at length. Calling people “privileged” (this is honestly funny) or “pig” doesn’t really add much solidity to the argument. Quite the opposite.

      • I suspect this is a joke directed at Anita Sarkeesian. Look at the name.

  • The femenazis strike again.
    Fascism has arrived, but a friendly
    western sort of fascism that brands everyone who disagrees with them as
    racist, sexist or both, which warrants treating them horribly.
    People argue games are an art form and then try to regulate creations like this, it’s embarrassing.
    all they have done is draw more attention to this game (which I will
    now be buying purely because of the hatred the artist has received for
    this fiasco).
    Also, the artist who made this post was flat chested.
    So I’m going to pull myself down to the level of Tumblr speakers when I
    accuse her of this nonsense talk coming from her own insecurity.

  • Dario Fas Marin

    After reading your article I googled “goatse” and found that the composition, equilibrium, distortion brought to parodic, colors and magnificiency of the image made me forget about the wide-open *ss h*le I was looking at.

    • I’m sure it also made you forget how unfitting this comparison is. 😀

      • Dario Fas Marin

        It’s the same biased basis. You can draw a sexist and misoginic image in the style you prefere, just don’t forget to include big antinatural breasts, a giantic ass pointing the viewer and a stick between the legs, just draw the objectified woman of the 21st century and pretend that you’re doing some kind of parody. What’s Queen’s Blade then? The most feminist anime ever?

        Nonsense for me, The artist made a choose. An he has choosen to depict another doujinshi sexual object because he has grown in a culture where male oriented sexual products moves millions of dollars. And there is it, the sexual promo without any relationship with the content of the game because there is a huge target of game consumers that doesn’t care at all about the image that this kind of eye candy gives to a mature and evolved society, where women who are still fighting for the right to be depicted as something more than sexual objects.

        • And there’s another nice unfitting comparison. Queen’s Blade focuses on women. This game obviously depicts *everyone* in an exaggerated and satirical form.

          Kamitani’s art style isn’t focused on women, and large breasts on display aren’t its defining factor. You and the paranoid pundits just focus on that because of your bias, ignoring the rest of the picture.

          The ladies in Dragon’s Crown are obviously defined as much more than sexual objects. Their purpose is to fight, not to have sex, and they fight just as well as any other character in the game.

          Of course you move from hating on an art style to a whole culture. That’s a great train of thought you have there.

          I would advise not to talk for “women” when you aren’t one. Because most women out there are fighting to have equal rights at work and in society, not to choke artistic freedom and cultural diversity.

          Lack of artistic freedom and cultural diversity aren’t in any shape or form signs of a “mature and evolved society”, and your fanatical and hyperbolic comments are a clear sign of that.

          • Dario Fas Marin

            Queen’s Blade is all about warriors and fighting. They fight even better than DC ones! It’s a stoy full of twists and more dialogues than the DC game. You need your eyes not to go there to follow the story, if your veiled sexism allows you, of course.

            You’re telling me that the Dragon’s Crow design of the Sorceress is a the one of a ferocius fighter. “Oh, yeah, she sure fight awesome with that stick between her butt cheeks”, it’s the first thought you have looking at the image, isn’t it? C’mon… There was no need to over-sexuallize the character, even being parodic, even being out of proportion. It’s here because sex sells to male audience. That’s all. And I’m sure you’ve read the Penny Arcade strip about the big penis warrior and put a lot of effort to forget it…

            I just hate the maleism in a culture, not the full culture. It’s a common mistake to confuse both in people who believes that the two concepts are bounded together. As it’s usual about artistic freedom to be only remembered when the work lacks of conscience and responsibility about what is depicted.

            I don’t know about anything that big-breast-lovers feminist women that doesn’t like men to get involved with the feminist fight you’re talking about. A vast majority of feminist acts are aimed to change the way of thinking and behaviour of the men, because men are the origin of the women discrimination and sexual objectification.

          • Queen’s blade is 100% focused on females, and uses the fighting as an excuse to showcase their bodies (with the ripped armor and all), the comparison with Dragon’s crown that focuses on fighters of both genders, equally exaggerated, and in which the fighting is simply an act of fighting, and not just an excuse to get naked, is *entirely* off base. You’re comparing apples to escalators like someone that’s desperately trying to prove a point that he knows being false.

            Artists shouldn’t just do what’s “needed”. If they did just what’s “needed”, We would have no art but just a series of homogeneous drawings with no imagination and invention.

            The Sorceress isn’t represented as a “ferocious fighter” because she isn’t, she’s a powerful magician, and she’s represented as a classic witch. And witches have been represented as seductive since the classic era.

            What’s represented as a ferocious fighter is the amazon, with her musculature that’s definitely not there to seduce, but to depict her as a human war machine.

            And then there’s the elf, which is almost completely asexualized, with her lithe figure and no breasts at all is an exaggeration in the opposite direction. Of course Penny Arcade’s strip very conveniently ignores this because it doesn’t fit their misguided argument.

            If you had the slightest point (and you don’t), all the female characters would feature a similar amount of sensuality, but they don’t, which obviously means that the artist wanted to communicate something else and that his style isn’t defined by sexuality.

            The game simply represents a healthy variety in female figures inspired by classic tropes and classic fantasy and pushed to extreme in a satirical representation, exactly as it does for males.

            “c’mon”s don’t really add any solidity to your weak arguments, and trying to somewhat paint them as obvious, which they aren’t, doesn’t mean they don’t collapse under their own weight.

            Artistic freedom should always be defended. Heaven forbid we regress to backwards and reactionary society in which the naked body is even more a taboo of what it already is now , or in which designing a character with large breasts is somehow a “bad thing”. Hello Dario, meet variety. Embrace it.

            And yes, you don’t know anything. You most definitely don’t seem to know anything about what women think, that’s for sure, and you just replace that lack of knowledge with a sort of hive mind-like repulsion for the display of generous curves that doesn’t represent in any way the majority of women, nor of women gamers.

            Fanatical, extremist freedom and variety-choking responses like yours are what give feminism a bad name.

          • seradwen

            @Dario Fas Marin- I am a Female, and a female gamer, and as such I would like for you to please stop talking for female gamers. You have no idea how women think of feel so please stop acting as if you do, I and all the other female gamers would sincerly appreciate it.

          • Jody E

            So because they’re not having sex, they’re not sexualised? I don’t think it matters, because people have all kinds of fantasies and will fap to that mage like there’s no tomorrow (There’s probably porn of her already, no doubt). If breasts weren’t so arousing then playboy and all that wouldn’t be popular and have millions of viewers. “Sex sells”, as stupid as it is, but it’s not hard to ignore since it’s everywhere.

            There are many websites where I see women who find cheesecake art distasteful from media such as comic books as well as video games, so why say someone shouldn’t talk for women if you’re not one either? I face many problems that some women face day to day from cat calls to being touched up by strangers in nightclubs because I’m busty. When I ask for equal rights, I want guys to stop thinking they have a right to grab me, because that’s no equal way to be treated if I’m merely seen as a pair of breasts. But you’d have to be a woman with a body like the mage to understand. 🙁

          • The focus of the game’s design is obviously not the sexualization.

            And in fact I’m not talking for “Women”. I’m quite clearly stating that *no one* can talk for “women” and for what they like or dislike, because it’s obvious as the sun that “women” don’t have a single hive mind on what they like or dislike seeing portrayed. To demonstrate that I’m bringing examples, but I’m far from saying that ALL women think like that.

            The behavior you describe is definitely unacceptable, and that’s the real problem. It happens because some people are pigs, not because some designer in Japan expresses his art. As a matter of fact the two things are entirely unrelated, and putting them in relation is not only incorrect, but also a dangerous slippery slope and trivializes the problem.

            That problem is not solved by denying or fighting the right of artists to design busty or scantly clad women exactly like it’s not solved (and should never be solved) by denying or fighting your right to dress sexy if you so wish.

            The problem is solved by educating people to stop thinking they have a right to grab you. And that really has nothing to do with a busty lady in a video game.

          • ???

            Then I have the right to fight for sexualised males in video games to make men feel uncomfortable.

          • Fight for whatever you like mate. It sure won’t make *me* feel uncomfortable, I’m not as thin skinned as certain pundits around the internet.

            It’s about time for the human body to stop being a taboo, especially when talking about art.

  • Shiki01

    I don’t even mind the sorceress design but articles like this and Kotaku are both equally eye roll worthy to me. Yeah that article that Kotaku wrote was stupid and blown out propitiation but you know who else blows it out of proportion? Gamers, if we would all just shut up and not give negativity like this that much attention, it wouldn’t be talked about for as long as it is now.

    If gamers want to say it’s not a big deal then act like it’s not but I guess that’s asking too much. Everytime there’s a article posted about females in the gaming industry (in how sexist the industry is to females) both sides go into a stupid uproar. It’s just a small vocal miminory who makes the tye of articles like kotaku did, yet gamers feed the negative attention and help make this type of stuff seem like it’s a big issue.

    • Someone launched an-all out attack against an artist and his style (using some very misguided arguments in the process), and I felt like it was necessary to let a voice of dissent be heard.

      Some skin on display and some exaggerated proportions aren’t a big issue, and we agree on that, but in my opinion treating someone’s artistic freedom and personal style like they are a “problem” is not a small issue, therefore I wrote about it.

      Kamitani-san was attacked with such violence that he was made feel like he had to apologize not only for the misinterpreted joke (which would be ok), but also for his style. That’s not something that should be ignored, IMHO.

      I feel that voices of dissent on this kind of issues are important. Heaven forbid artists actually cave to the pressure and stop freely designing what their creativity dictates to make the pundit press happy.

  • TuxedoMoroboshi

    Ya, it seems like too many people like this “journalist” from Kotaku
    think that the best way to fight sexism is to get rid of diversity among
    female body-types presented in games. The mere presence of big boobs
    isn’t sexist. There are women in real life that have big boobs, and
    simply getting rid of them from games altogether is essentially telling
    busty women “your body is sexist and wrong, so there can’t be anyone in
    any game that looks like you”.

    I realize that big breasts are often sexualized in our culture (well, breasts in general,
    really), but simply getting rid of them from gaming altogether is more
    sexist than having them at all. It’d be one thing if Dragon’s Crown had
    no variety in body-types, and EVERY character had the same exact
    curvaceous body. But such is not the case.

    I think the biggest problem regarding breasts is that people look at them as something sexual to begin with. They’re not genitalia. They exist for the purpose of mothers feeding their babies. But because of this skewed perception that breasts are sexual and amoral, women are often even denied the right to breast feed in public… ya know, THE VERY THING that breasts exist for in the first place!

  • ???

    If this was in the game then nobody would complain about the tits because they’d have delicious ballsack knights.

    • Completely unfitting comparison. I’m not sure if you noticed, but testicles and breasts are two different things. One is a sexual organ, the other is not.

      That’s why it’s legal in most countries to go to the beach topless if one so wishes, while (outside very specific environments) you can’t go around without your bottom piece, whether you’re male or female.

      Comparing apples to escalators doesn’t really help in making a point, and I’m always amazed to see the amount of completely unfitting comparisons made by the few defending the irrational and overblown hate on the art of this game.

      But I guess when one has to defend an irrational standpoint, unfitting comparisons and strawman arguments are the only routes he has left.

  • ???

    This shows the dwarf as sexualised as the female characters. Comparing a “male power fantasy” to “female objectification” is a false equivalence because the dwarf doesn’t look like a pornstar normally. And really, if giant watermelon breasts exist naturally on a size 6 waist (lol) then hulking super bodybuilders are the “equivalent” to real world ridiculousness of body proportions.

    inb4 I get called a feminist and downvoted for pointing out a blatant contradiction…

    • Saying that the dwarf is a “male power fantasy” is ridiculous and a copout. Don’t know about you, but I don’t know many men that would like to look like a nearly-shapeless lump of meat wider than he is tall.

      You didn’t “point out a blatant contradiction”, you simply made an unfitting comparison.

      The design of the dwarf is equally exaggerated as *all* the designs in the game are.

  • John Lafond

    I would like to point out that Hakouki is a bad example to use when you’re trying to point out hypocrisy because Hakouki is recognized as a visual novel dating game. Even if the characters are created to be sexualized or desired, it’s irrelevant to compare the character designs to those of action/quest games like Dragon’s Crown, in which pursuing a romantic relationship with the characters isn’t a core element in the game.

    With that said, Dragon’s Crown’s character designs aren’t especially innovative outside of their technical qualities. It’s innovative that the characters you move are hand-drawn in an age and game genre where they’re usually modeled in 3D, but that’s technical.

    The character designs are very typical of their archetypes in any fantasy genre. Strong and stocky dwarf, gallant knight, moody wizard, seductive witch, etc.

    There were many opportunities to exaggerate the character designs based on their archetypes. Simply exaggerating the male and female qualities about them doesn’t make them innovative because that’s one of the first things you’re taught to do in any cartooning art class: exaggerate the male/female figure to make the gender more clear. Even if the figures weren’t so exaggerated in Dragon’s Crown, it wouldn’t be hard to tell the difference between the male and female characters.

    Regarding the sexualization of of the female characters in Dragon’s Crown, while I agree that the Elf character isn’t so sexually blatant as say, the Sorceress, you said so yourself that “contrary to popular belief you don’t need to show much skin to objectify a body.” The forest-colored Elf character, with her braids and hood reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood, evokes a more cute, childish “moe” appeal in Japan that is just as prevalent as the big boobs and sultry look.

    As a society, men like purity as much as we like sexy. That’s why for generations, we’ve slut-shamed and asked women to save themselves for marriage. And we hold men to that standard too, but you notice how rarely a guy might cry, “She won’t take me because I’ve been used so many times”?

    You can also hearken back to fine art as much as you’d like, but what is now considered fine art was mainly created for male patrons, so there is a great deal of male gaze in its standard conventions in depicting women.

    This is prevalent not only in private commissions (such as depictions of women in bathhouses in a far-off “Orient,” naked women staring at their own beauty in mirrors), mythological/fictional pieces (naked Andromeda chained to a rock waiting to be rescued, Ophelia staring at the viewer longingly as she drowns), but also in religious works, too (the perfect woman Virgin Mary is pure and chaste, Mary Magdalene renounces her sexual past to become pure, naked Susanna tells off the two older men creeping on her, but she does it alluringly while preserving her purity).

    When women try to commission such works that include nude women, such as Madame Pompadour in the 1700s, there’s a backlash from the male community in those time periods, telling them that women shouldn’t be looking at naked women because it’s bad for them.

    This is also why you might consider not including women sexualizing themselves in this article as a sort of, “If they can do this, why can’t we?” argument. (Aside from the fact that w because we’ve always done that. Sexualizing women in art, I mean, not ourselves.) That’s also a slippery slope down to telling women that they shouldn’t be sexy if they don’t want to ALWAYS be treated as sex objects in games. And that’s still portraying the gaming industry as a negative environment women might not want to be a part of.

    TLDR: Throughout history, we have been sexualizing and fetishizing women. I think what you’re trying to really say is, “Can’t we just keep on doing what we’re doing without any sort of repercussion, like we did before?”

    • Latios

      Well said.

      I’d like to point out that even though people view the elf as a more cute character, she’s actually sexualised in a way different to western views. She fits the Japanese Idol category. Examples include the
      cute face and zettai ryouiki. Zettai
      ryouiki, aka “absolute territory”, is flesh shown between the skirt
      line and stockings. In this case it’s her shorts and the top of the boots. It still counts but it’s not the same for westerners.

    • First of all changing the genre of the game doesn’t change the effect or the presence of the objectification of characters. Saying “hey, it’s more OK in Hakuoki because they’re supposed to be objectified!” is rather ridiculous. There are hundreds of dating games that don’t blatantly objectify their characters, so the comparison stands and remains relevant. The only reason why the pundits don’t scream about it is that screaming about objectifying men wouldn’t stir enough controversy to satisfy their click-whoring needs.

      The male and female qualities aren’t the only elements exaggerated in Kamitani’s style, that exaggerates (by enlarging or reducing) basically everything, from musculature to weapon sizes.

      Defining the Elf a typical “moe” character is also inappropriate. While it does include a couple possibly moe elements the Elf radically flies in the face of the “moe” archetype by having super-muscular and very evident thighs that rival with Chun-li’s most recent designs. She’s not designed to be “Moe”, she’s designed to be an exaggeration and a creation of contrast, like everyone else.

      As for the “women sexualizing themselves” argument, you’re the one saying that women shouldn’t sexualize themselves not to be always treated as sex objects in games, I never said or implied something like that. As a matter of fact it’s the opposite. Women are completely free and should be completely free to represent themselves however they want, pretty much like any artist. Saying that art that shows skin or is anatomically exaggerated is cause of sexism is exactly the same as saying that women that like to dress sexy are at fault.

      The fact that women often enjoy scantly clad or exaggerated representation of themselves is a simple demonstration that “women” aren’t a hive mind that collectively resents large breasts or naked skin like some journalists tried to imply. It has nothing to do with “they can do this, why can’t we”.

      You may want to avoid saying what “i’m really trying to say”, as misrepresenting someone’s argument is kind of bad form. What I’m really trying to say is that artists should be free to draw the human body as they feel like, because it’s time for the human body to cease being taboo. We aren’t in the thirties anymore, and obscurantism should be on the way out.

  • I love all these commenters (mostly guys) who think they can speak for women. There are several ladies in the comments sections who are literally stating that this art style does not offend them and yet the “white knights” blunder on, completely convinced they are doing us “weak little defenseless girls” a service. Completely disgusting. You are the true sexists, not the artist for Dragon’s Crown.

  • Really great article. I agree that people are starting to censor stuff themselves. It really annoys me because we’ve been fighting the very same problem just months ago, with SOPA and whatnot.

  • this whole remind me those commercials where “women with large cleveage don´t mean they want to be raped, better teach man not to rape” or something like that…yeh yeh my english is awful , i will come back to the moon…

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  • NachoKingP

    It’s very simple. People don’t understand that sexy does not equal sexist. Frankly, I know many women who find a sexy game character to be appealing as much as a guy does. Anyone who feels that the women in this game are being portrayed in a sexist manner needs to learn the definition of sexism.

  • Ben

    When has Fox News ever attacked gaming? I seem to recall that the most focused attacks came from people like Hilary Clinton.

  • Patricia Alastre

    I totally agree with Giuseppe on this one. As a female gamer I would like to add, and I´m quoting myself from the time after I watched Anita Sarkeesian´s videos about the “damsel in distress”:

    “I´m not defined by a videogame, or any fictional character, I play, I enjoy, I move on. I feel very sorry for those women who feel defined by a fictional non existent character, as it´s not the game maker´s fault, it´s the woman´s lack of personality “.

    As a woman I find this totally ridiculous, I don´t even have to say I´m buying this game, and guess what? I´ve been intending to play with the sorceress.

    And just to validate even more Giuseppe´s point I´m going to share you some pics of my Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Character, customized by myself after I knowingly downloaded some mods to make her look like that.

  • anthonyacc

    Might be the best single-sentence about this topic I have ever read, “Let’s even go as far as assuming for a moment that Dragon’s Crown might indeed be specifically targeted to a male audience. What exactly is wrong with that? Every single game out there has its own target.”

    Great, great work here.

  • weeeeeegeee

    The comments about the media are a tad opinionated, but overall this is the most impartial article I’ve seen on the subject. Given the title, that more than justifies those comments.

    Well done, and thank you.

  • ryangley

    I think men like Schreier seriously need to stop speaking on behalf of women. Great article.

  • Guest

    Hey, look, it’s all the paper thin arguments misogynists have been using for years vomited up into another article! How absolutely unique!

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Hey, look, someone’s throwing the “misogynist” word around because he doesn’t know what to say!How absolutely unique! 😀

    • Go home

      Nice counter-arguments

      Oh wait

  • Audie Bakerson

    Finally! Someone gets it.
    While being the dwarf may not be a male fantasy, I think being so sexy that white knights rage at my appearance while wielding phenomenal cosmic power would not be undesirable for me. So I guess the Sorceress could be a power fantasy.

    You also missed that “sexism” is the view one sex is inferior to the other. A view that women exist only to be sexy is sexism, women being sexy is not. The DC PCs are all supposed to be equal to each other in ability, which can hardly be sexism.

    Amy Hennig (the mind behind Legacy of Kain, Jak and Daxter, and Uncharted among others), as one of the few women in leadership positions in the industry, has always been asked if she ever had any problems with sexism and has always said no. There is no real problem with sexism in the industry (not anymore than the general population anyways).

    edit: Wait this article is 3 months old? Why am I only now hearing about it?

  • That Was A Good Read

    Finally, someone with common sense. Thank you Giuseppe. The idea that an artist’s style is ‘wrong’ is absolutely ridiculous. As an artist myself, I could do without hypersensitive “journalists” pretending to be offended by my art to appease this absurd, overly politically correct mindset that the gaming community seems to be adopting.

  • Underwaterbob

    To be fair to the critics, it seems like most of them that are panning the game due to art style have more problems with the NPCs’ depictions rather than the playable characters. While I haven’t played the game yet myself, from what I’ve read and seen it does seem that a disproportionate number of the NPCs are female, and often depicted in vulnerable, undeniably sexual poses. While not inherently sexist as per your argument above concerning it being part of the artist’s style, it’s not hard to see how it could make some people uncomfortable to see women depicted in this manner.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Undeniably sexual?

      That’s an interpretation, and a largely debatable one. When someone is wounded, she hardly has the time/will to chose her pose. And that’s a fully armored wounded warrior.

      Some people just choose to interpret it as sexual to fit their argument.

      • Underwaterbob

        Well, if that one was unconvincing, check about one minute into this video where they start poking (apparently a secret feature in the game) the lady wearing nothing but see-through lace, who is tied up on red silk sheets and tell me again how it’s “largely debatable” that this is a vulnerable, sexual depiction of a woman.

        • Giuseppe Nelva

          Just as unconvincing, and gender agnostic. You should have watched the whole video. You can do that to males too.

          And it’s a callback to the old D&D beat ’em up game, where you could do the same.

          Zero points awarded.

          • Underwaterbob

            Really? She’s essentially naked, tied up lying on red silk sheets and she writhes, moans, sighs and giggles when they poke her in her tits and ass. I think you’d have a hard time convincing anyone that this is [i]not[/i] a sexual depiction of a woman in a vulnerable position. Again, not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, just that it’s understandable that it might make some people uncomfortable.

            As far as both genders getting it equally, the men respond to poking with actual dialog, and while admittedly I can’t read it, are certainly not animated writhing around nor moaning, sighing or giggling about it.

          • Giuseppe Nelva

            Actually no. The man doesn’t respond to poking with actual dialog. The dialog you see is completely regardless of poking, and it’s the same as the lady (which i actually a spirit)

  • TheDynastQueen

    I just wanted to say you gained a new reader as unlike too many
    gaming sites you don’t shame my friends for enjoying the female form or
    label me a victim because of my sex. Its refreshing just to be seen as a
    person with my own experiences/preferences. I also like the articles in general, not just this one, wish I had found this place sooner 🙂

    Anyways this one quote sums up everything for me:

    “Let’s even go as far as assuming for a moment that Dragon’s Crown might
    indeed be specifically targeted to a male audience. What exactly is
    wrong with that? Every single game out there has its own target.”

    As an anime fan I have disagreement with what
    many fangirls/boys find attractive. They and others have genres catered
    to their fantasies that I’m baffled by but despite my feelings it
    doesn’t make their desires, art or anything wrong. It isn’t an
    embodiment of hatred for how I see masculinity or men, it isn’t
    insulting to men because I’m uncomfortable with the art depicted nor
    does it need to be fixed to make ME feel better.

    If the above is universally understood (see lack of outrage over anything
    sexual geared at females or the LGBT community) then why did this even
    happen? Did they all just forget why we laughed at Jack Thompson? This
    attack on artists and game devs for daring to possibly draw for others not deemed worthy by white knight game “journalists” needs to stop

    If the below (art by Jiraiya) is fine for me and others to enjoy then so is sexy art of women:

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      Glad you liked the article. Comments like this one are indeed refreshing. Thank you 😀


    Just because you know SOME women who like this doesn’t mean all of them like being made to feel like possessions rather than women. The point is a lot of women have huge, huge physical issues, and while men share in those, they aren’t omnipresent like the judgement of women’s bodies. Go to a site called 411mania and see the “hot women” pictures they post – it’s not so much the pictures that are the problem, but look at the comments. They tear these poor girls to pieces (“wheres the booty?” “Her boobs aren’t the right size” “what’s up with those massive lips?”)…

    It was a gay joke. It’s fine, don’t hang him for it, but c’mon. He can twist it another way all he wants, but to act like he’s shocked people saw it as a gay joke is silly… he knew what he was doing.

    Flame away, I know I’m in the wrong place, saying the wrong thing. You can call these guys “bullies” all you want; just because they handled things poorly doesn’t mean there thoughts don’t have merit.

  • VW

    I say to Jason Schreier & those like him to grow the heck up. The only thing that comes off like a 14-year-old boy are the prudes crying about exaggerated fictional characters. Those like Jason Schreier who don’t like it then avoid it. Hypocritical, there’s been exaggerated male characters for a long time & no one says a word about it, but when it’s an exaggerated female character then someone gets offended. The female character is as exaggerated as the male characters in Dragon’sCrown, that’s why the Dragon’sCrown creator sent the picture. Not accusing Jason Schreier of being homosexual but showing how exaggeration in Dragon’sCrown is equal of either male or female, & Jason Schreier took his head out of his butt long enough he’d see that.

    No one is forcing anyone to play anything they find offensive, & calling anyone immature because they may enjoy Dragon’sCrown or any other exaggerated characters is nothing more then stupidity, immaturity & pure childishness.

  • Will

    Feminists wont be happy until the entire world is a dim grey wasteland devoid of all joy and enjoyment. MALE feminists wont be happy until their disingenuous pandering to feminist tropes finally gets them laid by female feminists.

    Feminism is nothing but quasi-religious, Victorian era sexual morality dressed up in a thin veneer of progressivism in order to appeal to liberals. This is a fact.

  • Friendzie

    The game portrays a very large variety of body types. I don’t think anyone should complain about this game specifically in terms of the art. You won’t find a game that portrays as large a variety of female body types as this. The Amazon is practically a body builder. Most games only have skinny women.