The rise of female fighters who are clearly created for the sole purpose of appealing to the "moe/kawaii" subculture in Japan is causing a rift between the fighting game community. Let it be known, there's no problem with a female inspired anime character per say, until they start multiplying and taking over a franchise.
With all these anime cutesy fighters, where is room for more original and mature looking character concepts? It appears recently in every Japanese fighting game you'll always come across a dozen 'kawaii' fighters who have little purpose other than to appease a otaku audience.
With all these anime cutesy fighters, where is room for more original and mature looking character concepts?
The word kawaii was primitively used to describe only children, little animals and dolls but it has come to represent Japanese pop culture. Cute is cool in Japan and as expected, kawaii culture is dominated by Japanese females. This epidemic has since taken over Japanese fighting games.
In the nineties we saw more less cringe worthy and more authentic character concepts, but unfortunately that's been thrown out the window in favour of younger looking anime school girls. We can't recall when this phenomenon first caught on but fighting games haven't been able to recover.
Tekken 7's new female fighter "Lucky Chloe" caused some controversy online when she was first unveiled in 2014, so much that the director Katsuhiro Harada jumped on Twitter to defend the J-pop cat girl, sarcastically threatening to pull her from the western version.
Fighting game fans wasn't fond of the new character—many not feeling her appearance, which they felt was uncreative and generic in comparison to the older and more mature looking characters the Tekken series was once praised for (animals and robots aside).
Even before the arrival of Lucky Chloe Namco Bandai has been known for creating kasg, which is why Harada isn't given kudos for creating a fighter like Lucky Chloe. Had the character been a less represented race, ethnicity or concept then maybe the reception would have been different.
Tekken isn't the only game with a kasg fetish, Dead or Alive is another fighting game notorious for kawaii anime girls, one of the reasons why the series is severely lacking in diversifying it's cast.
Since Dead or Alive 5 released in 2012 Team Ninja has included several new characters for their players to use and guess what? Three of those characters were kawaii anime girls. The first new character was Momiji, a female ninja who sort of resembled Mai from KOF, but it all went downhill from there.
Marie Rose was introduced to Dead or Alive Ultimate as the shortest fighter in the series, standing in at only 4'10. Marie is childish and looks extremely younger than the age she was given. Her initial design was based on Gothic Lolita Fashion.
The next otaku fan service introduced in Dead or Alive 5: The Last Round was Honaka, a Japanese school girl whose default outfit consisted of a school blazer, she was also somewhat similar to Marie Rose in height. Now are you saying that Team Ninja couldn't come up with less generic characters, or are they are just catering to the moe crowd?
The King of Fighters XIV has a whooping 50 fighters to choose from but over half of those characters are kawaii anime girls. It's like game developers are running out of ideas or simply catering to a certain demographic. Other games like Guilty Gear XRD are slowing following suit with characters like Jam Kuradoberi and Elphelt Valentine.
The problem with all these cutesy anime archetypes is that they're very similar to each each other in not only appearance but also personality. If you look at all the latest Japanese fighting games out now, you're bound to see more than one anime girl. Where's the originality factor that older fighting games used to bring? That's the issue here.
The more kawaii characters we get is the less chance of a more original character concept pulling through. Just look at the mixed reactions to a character like Lucky Chloe and you should understand why it's beginning to become a problem.
Fighting games are over saturated with anime tropes that we've seen time and time again and they no longer add anything worthwhile to the genre. So would it hurt to see less of these cliché characters in favour of more fresh designs?
Now before you get in your feelings, in no way or form is this article bashing anime inspired female characters. One of the first kasg introduced to Tekken 3 was Xiaoyu, she was one of the best female newcomers. At the time it was refreshing to see a young female martial artist kick so much ass in a macho male dominated series.
She was the only school girl in Tekken 3 and as you can see, that game has debatably one of the best rosters of all time. There wasn't a need for two or more animu girls, the roster was in perfect ailment, leaving room for other character concepts that possibly wouldn't have seen the light of day this decade.
Again take a look at Tekken 7, the current roster isn't much to talk about and the veteran fighters appear to be getting replaced in droves. Lucky Chloe uses break dancing as a fighting style, which is similar to Eddy Gordo and Christie's capoeira. Meanwhile emotional Josie Rizal uses the same move set as Bruce Irvin, see a pattern forming yet?
Speaking of Josie, there's also controversy surrounding Tekken's first Filipino character. who is also named after one of Philippines national heroes José Rizal. Some fans don't feel that the character is fit to represent their nation in either her appearance or outfit.
What's your thoughts? Do you feel as though there's too many animu female characters been shoved down our throats to appease the moe/kawaii crowd, or rather do you find no issue with them? Let your feelings be known in the comment section.