Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fat acceptance, feminism, and Japanese niche gaming collide!

Have you heard of the game Hachi Koi? Most likely not, unless you live in/have immense interest in Japanese culture/games, or you hang out in places where fat women aren't talked poorly about, but certainly aren't as empowered as the FA or feminist movements intend for them to be. Hachi Koi is a game made for the Nintendo DS that is similar to a dating simulator, but with a twist. described it in the following manner:

In Hachi Koi, the young male protagonist learns that he’s going to die in one month–unless he can fall in love and convince one of the title’s hapless, caressable ladies to return his feelings.
From a feminist point of view, already this game seems like most other dating sims, in that it does little more than objectify the women in the game. Of course, if you really wanted to become involved in a real, emotionally fulfilling relationship, I doubt you would play a game to do that, so it makes sense to me that dating sims would objectify to an extent. But in this one, it takes it a step further, in that the way that you seduce these women is by doing things such as rubbing suntan lotion on them, and bringing them things that make them happy. But this doesn't even begin to cover the more important aspects of this game that, whether or not you might find something wrong with them, they are certainly worthy of mention and discussion.

First off, we have this lovely cast of ladies, as found on the front page of the Hachi Koi site:And, credit being given once again to (as I am unsure of where that site found this series of pics), here are four which are especially important to make note of.
Again, from a feminist POV, I would like to point out how the girl with the largest breasts is treated... Her larger chest seems to also come complete with the most sexualized outfit of these four (hearts and garter belt on her lacy socks; low-cut shirt; 'come hither' stare) and definitely has the most sexualized pose of the four pictured above. Of course, I'm sure I don't need any real lead in to what I'm about to say, as you've all been thinking it since first noticing these pictures, but here's my transition sentence anyway.

They include a plus sized girl. Or, as I would refer to her in casual, non-threatening and without any real need to go over the top with completely PC terms, a fat chick. And, much to my surprise, she's rather adorable! Pink hair, shy smile, well drawn and clean, and an absolutely adorable apple shape. But with her, and my fat acceptance beliefs, I suddenly am uncertain of what to think of this game from a strictly FA POV.

On the one hand, as stated before, they portray her as pretty and cute, which is a definite step-up from how other places seem to treat larger girls. But, as you might have been clued into from the first image, they portray her as always eating. Even on her character page she is seen with food by her. Compared to the other girls, she is the only one who has the food as your interactive option. The others have more playful things (and in some cases more feminist-unfriendly things, like the girl who changes into the cheerleading outfit for her action) like basketballs and horses, whereas this girl, Kurumi, has food that, when dragged to her mouth, illicits an almost sexual response, with little moans or Japanese that sounds as if it was spoken right after an epic orgasm. Yet, even on her page, she looks like a more accurate portrayal of fat people than we usually get, in that her weight isn't being completely showcased in a negative or slobby manner, although it is used to set her apart from the others. Another thing worthy of note on her page is the fact that her measurements are hidden by a look of embarrassment:(alongside another girl's page to show that it is in fact the measurements that are hidden)

I just have to wonder, is it this way because of the stereotype of larger girls being ashamed/embarrassed about their weight? Or is she being portrayed in such a manner to either have 'you' (the player of the game) boost her self esteem so that she is either a) finally happy with her weight or b) willing to lose the weight? Maybe I'd have more insight if my major was Japanese instead of German.

My guess as to the nature of Kurumi? I would like to think that she is there for the purpose of giving the player a wide variety of girls to 'play' with, and for one reason or another they decided to include a plus sized girl with a tendency towards, dare I say, feederism. Now, I'd rather not get into a feederism debate with my lovely commenters just yet, as there shall be another post not far from now discussing it in as much of detail as I can gather. Anyway, back on topic, to be perfectly honest, I am unsure of how to feel about this game overall.

  • There is a chubby girl
  • Said chubby girl is portrayed in a visually nice way
  • Unlike most dating sims, this gives the player many options
  • It puts a somewhat positive portrayal of a fat person into a positive (?) light
  • It seems as though the fetish of feederism is an option where it normally is not
  • Women are reduced to simply that: fetishes and appearances
  • Women fall in love with the player by being rubbed
  • The fat girl is portrayed with a lust for food (positive for some fat admirers, negative for the fat acceptance movement)
  • The fat girl succumbs to another stereotype: shame
For the sake of being perfectly honest, I still don't know what exactly to feel about this game, as stated above. It all depends from what aspect of myself I view it, assuming of course that we do know what this game is about, and aren't relying on other (possibly incorrect) translations and such. As a feminist, I dislike this game. As a realist, I understand that dating sims are usually going to be anti-feminism, as it degrades both genders as sex objects. As a fat acceptance blogger, I dislike Kurumi's portrayal as a fat girl. As a fat admirer and, dare I say, casual feedee, this gives more options to normally limited games, in that you can live out a variety of fantasies, including feeding a girl who may or may not grow (...;D) to love her looks.

So what do you, my readers out in cyberspace think of this game? What about Kurumi and her portrayal?

Also, before I head out... Found this on the main site: (drag the bagel-like thing to her mouth) (Script doesn't seem to work here ;A;)


XXLA is finally back!

Hey everyone! My apologies for not having posted in a while; what with my transitioning from my school 400 miles from home back to home and the holiday season, it was difficult to find inspiration to post, let alone actually getting around to it. I still have a little bit of time before I go back to school, so I plan to take advantage of it! I have a post planned that should be published tomorrow, and still have back posts to make up for. Thanks again for voting in the poll from the previous post! If you've yet to do so, please check it out so I have a better idea what areas to focus on in the future. Hope to "see" you guys tomorrow when my post (which I'm about to begin working on after posting this) is finished and published. Hope your holiday season was better than mine!

Check back tomorrow! <3


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