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oh8's avatar
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
© 2011 - 2023 oh8
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AnonJ's avatar
"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."

That is totally right but unfortunately what ultimately disappointed me and made me think it's a kind of "sexist" in Skullgirls is exactly the characters' roles in the story... let me explain:

It's sexist not in the way the characters were drawn or animated or whatsoever. That is fine as long as the characters are independent. It's sexist because of many worrying aspects of the story: Many of the girls are supposed to be unthinking and be "good" because they bend to the will of another, apparently male character: Samson controlled Filia; Cerebella had no other wish than to please Vitale as a bunny girl, just because Vitale brought her out of orphanage; Ms. Fortune fought only because she wanted to avenge "Fishbone Gang", which are all male; Painwheel was a creation of Brain Drain... And generally the parasites were male and you could well argue that the parasites could be interpreted as having a greater influence than the girls themselves. Even Marie was deemed as bad by Double because she "disobeyed the will of the Trinity" and wished to do things on her own agenda. That is to say the Skull Girl isn't supposed to be an independent character, but just a puppet. Generally most of the fighters seemed to fight not because of their own, independent will, but just something related to men. This doesn't make me feel comfortable at all. I understand that stories are never meant to be the main meat of a fighting game, but just as you pointed out, roles and actions of characters matter a lot to the general game, and in this case maybe some players, like me, will be disappointed by the perceived deficiency there.