Recently, I finished watching Oreimo
, an anime about a brother who learns his little sister is not only an otaku, but a die-hard eroge player. To an outsider, Oreimo
may appear even stranger than most anime ó a feat in and of itself ó but I not only found it very enjoyable, but insightful. However, the point of this piece is not to tell you all about the shows Iíve been watching, but to present some discourse regarding one of my most recent gaming endeavors.
But for the sake of the story, bear with me a little longer. Throughout the show, there is one type of video game repeatedly played by the siblings: visual novels. This got me thinking; why I have not given the genre a chance? Visual novels are story-based and posses branching paths dependent on player choice. Few things could be farther up my alley.
So I ventured into Katawa Shoujo
. Now if youíre familiar with the title, you may have some very strong opinions, even if youíve never played it. Why? Because Katawa Shoujo
is often classified as an eroge.
Eroge. Thereís that word again. What does it mean?
Well, some say it has no concrete definition ó much like most genres these days ó but one thing is certain: there is explicit content of a sexual nature in every eroge. Does Katawa Shoujo
then qualify? Well, not in the sense you may be thinking. The sex scenes are hardly any more pornographic than what you see in critically-lauded shows such as Game of Thrones
. Theyíre also not randomly thrown in for the sheer purpose of satisfying our basic urges, unlike what Game of Thrones
seems to do from time to time.
I think the issue has to do with animation touching upon the subject. Now, society in general isnít overly fond of anime, especially here in the United States. Like all things once delegated geeky, anime has slowly become more accepted by the mainstream ó but not entirely. Many still are under the assumption that all things not live-action are childish or immature. Quite possibly, in their minds, mixing something supposedly intended for children with sex is inherently perverted. But hereís the thing: a large portion of anime-based entertainment†is not intended for children.
So what is Katawa Shoujo
really, and how is it not intended for children? For starters, itís a story of love and friendship centered around the daily lives of the physically disabled. Itís a heartwarming reminder that underneath it all theyíre still human beings with aspirations, talents, emotions, and troubles beyond that of their disability. The characters are well-written and relatable. The purpose is to tell an endearing story, not to provide some "wank material." In a way, Katawa Shoujo
is much like the stories we were told as children that served as moral compasses.
Then again, we are a society of questionable moral scales. If a piece of entertainment depicts highly disturbing violence, the ensuing ruckus is a different beast entirely than the ruckus surrounding entertainment containing sexual content. Why are gamers far more willing to accept Grand Theft Auto
? I think we can all agree theft, assault, drug trafficking, bank robbery, and murder are far worse than two consenting lovers expressing their feelings for each other. Yet Katawa Shoujo
is shoved to the outskirts of our culture, while the likes of GTA
is embraced with open arms and put upon a pedestal. A pedestal made of one billion dollars.
Donít confuse what I say though. By no means am I bashing GTA
and claiming itís harmful to the human psyche, or whatever the media is yammering on about these days. All I am doing is questioning your position on the matter. Itís a healthy and socially productive thing to question oneís stance.
Ask yourself: what makes GTA
so much more socially acceptable to play than Katawa Shoujo
? Hell, maybe you could even play Katawa Shoujo
for yourself before casting judgment. And good news! Even if, after giving the game a go, you are bothered by the adult content, you can turn it off. When youíve done that, I kindly ask you to return to the matter. I suspect you will do so with different views, but either way, I want to hear them.
It frustrates the ever-living hell out of me when I see such a subject arise and people are so willing to bash a game before truly understanding it. There is already enough ignorance-fueled hatred floating about in our world. Rather than add to the problem, letís educate one another on matters we may not fully comprehend. It's just one more good bit in an effort to better not only ourselves, but our world.
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