Saturday, 19 July 2014

Artix Entertainment review, Part 4.2

Previous section: Click here.
First section: Click here.

Still not safe for work due to images of Gravelyn later in the post. Nothing explicit, regardless.

4.2 Fanservice in Other AE Games
While there are plenty of other characters at Artix Entertainment who are designed with fanservice in mind, they are relatively tame compared to AQWorlds' formerly mandatory skimpy clothes. One other example of a major NPC's fanservice in AE's MMORPGs that is not too explicit is Demolicious from Herosmash. She is an “alternative” girl with an unusual attire of a dark purple leotard, tall boots, and an executioner's mask. Her attire stands out because she is one of only two of the female NPCs to wear leotards, and one out of three who dresses relatively skimpily.

Demolicious in HeroSmash
Electina, the other leotard-wearer

Hottica in a small robe

It is not how much skin a woman or girl has to show to make an impression, but how the character is presented. Demolicious' impression on viewers may include “superhuman,” “dominatrix,” and “executioner,” words associated with power. Electina might give off the impression of a gymnast or a storm-bringer, and Hottica a fire-brand. Being "sexy" would be secondary, due to the art style and the rare appearance of skimpy clothes in HeroSmash.

In HeroSmash, Demolicious is a heroine who prefers to be a lone ranger, and she verbally abuses the player. The tables are turned when she is captured and mocked by her worst enemy, Luigi daVinci. She breaks down and lowers her head in shame when Luigi criticises her for wanting to sell a valuable artifact they were fighting over. Demolicious is finally revealed to be a filial daughter, as she wanted to sell the artifact to pay for her father's medical treatment. From this, viewers gather that she is overemotional and loving, despite acting tough.

Gravelyn, in contrast, is viewed as little more than a fantasy for young men in the audience, partly because portrayals of her before or after her makeover do not show her doing much for her dead father's legacy. There are few portrayals of Gravelyn being emotional, compared to the plentiful showcasing of her new assets, both ingame and outside the game.

Diozz's original makeover of Grave
Diozz's later Grave sketch, for an artbook

It is quite sad that villains are fawned over, to the point that their physical assets are the sole important feature; while heroes are overlooked, fanservice or no. This echoes the cynical sentiment that looks are the only worth a woman has.

My personal opinion on fanservice is that one should not forget everything established in the story in favor of giving a character a new look. I doubt that Gravelyn would have changed into a tube top and commando loin cloth, if it hadn't been for Diozz's redesign of her, mostly because she was forced to expose herself to Noxus (a necromancer lich) when HE took over her kingdom for a while. As AQWorlds formerly had compulsory revealing clothes, Gravelyn's makeover makes her look generic and more like a bland imitation of Jessica Rabbit.

While it is possible to have a character who wears revealing clothes, it would be stale, cliche, and boring to have every single character do so unless there is a justifiable reason, and not just one gender is forced into it. HeroSmash stands out among other superhuman media due to its relatively rare and optional revealing outfits, unlike what may be see in mass media adaptations in the likes of Marvel or DC tales.

Next section: A conclusion and recommendations, for now.

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