Futanari Adult Visual Novel Reborn in Sin Kickstarter

aphrodisia

Why are Westerners so fascinated with ‘futanari’? This adult visual novel may have answers

Futa remains as appealing as ever, controversies aside.

Oct 13, 2020, 3:07 pm*

IRL

 

Ana Valens

Earlier this year, Fakku revealed 2019's most popular fetish across the U.S.: futanari, a hentai category involving women with penises. Now, based on adult visual novel Reborn in Sin's incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, it seems 2020 may be another banner year for all things futa.

Reborn in Sin is an adult visual novel that mixes futanari with monster girl smut, according to developer aphrodisia's Kickstarter page. The game follows Fiona, an angel from the Otherworld who angers the demi-human Mother Goddess Ana and is punished to the mortal world as a result. Fiona is "turned into a futanari through a pact with a demon," sending players on a fantasy journey involving the sultry demoness, a wealthy dragoness barkeep, and a flirty catgirl barmaid.

Reborn in Sin features nine voice-acted adult scenes, lets players create their own harem, and features two other futanari love interests that players can romance. Additional planned content includes corruption kink (or turning a pure character into a sexually promiscuous one), masturbation, public sex, and group sex, according to aphrodisia's Patreon. Reborn in Sin reached its full stretch goals this month, which means the game will also have more voice acting, Live2D animated sprites, and full animation for both adult and safe-for-work scenes.

Nevertheless, Reborn in Sin's success took aphrodisia by surprise. In an interview with the Daily Dot, she expressed gratitude to her fans, stressing she "wouldn't be here without them."

"I hoped for the best, and I had a lot of wonderful supporters already, but the funding did stretch far beyond my expectations!" she said. "It was really an emotionally wonderful show of support. I actually had to come up with more stretch goals during the campaign!"

In Reborn in Sin, the game's futanari characters feature both vaginas and penises, with the latter resting right above the vulva, according to a screenshot from the game's itch.io storefront. But why, specifically, is futa so appealing to so many hentai fans in the West? The answer is just as complicated as the question.

Futa porn's in-universe lore varies from creator to creator. In its most general sense, futa features cisgender women's bodies with genitals that function similarly to cis men's: fully erect phalluses used for penetrative sex, complete with the ability to ejaculate semen. Sometimes futanari characters solely have cis men's genitals, but this is something that aphrodisia refrains from doing, stressing that she prefers creating futanari characters as "a truly fictional gender," drawing inspiration from Japanese futanari hentai's depiction of futa characters as the merging of "two forms."

"I chose futanari because it's a favorite of mine that, in my opinion, is an underserved market," she told the Daily Dot. "To me at least, futanari is a very idealistic and fantastic genre. As a bisexual woman, I think it aligns very neatly with bisexuality, because it combines the beauty of the feminine form with the viscerality and function of the male sex."

On the one hand, traditional futanari hentai from Japan is best described as featuring "cis-passing girls with either a vagina and a penis, or just a penis," as Japanese culture Haru Nicol told the Daily Dot for a futanari explainer. In that regard, futa hentai is "never really trans-coded" and is far more often "SUPER fetishistic." But while futanari's legacy in Japan isn't very trans-inclusive, its reception in the West is equally complicated. For many Westerners, futa's appeal literally rests with a woman having a dick, which has traditionally appealed to trans feminine readers who see similarities to their bodies in these characters. As a result, trans women are adamant fans of futanari—or find inspiration in their own sex lives from how futa depicts its characters. Others really prefer not to engage with futa content or find it objectifying.

Meanwhile, because futanari hentai originates from Japan, and because it challenges cisnormative and heteronormative conceptions of women's bodies in the West, there's a cocktail of racist, homophobic, and transphobic stigma around futa content. At best, this leads to awkward questions from concerned cis people asking whether enjoying futa content is "gay." At worst, it feeds a phenomenon known as "weird Japan," a racist perception of Japan created by Westerners who highlight and mock "things in Japanese culture that seem offbeat, odd, or just plain gross to people who grew up in a Western culture," as Unseen Japan describes it.

"[Weird Japan] has the effect of 'othering' Japan and Japanese people," Unseen Japan notes. "They’re the strange people over there, with the suicide forest, and idol groups like Babymetal, and the weird game shows that exhibit not a whiff of Protestant puritanism. (And why should they? Japan is a predominantly Buddhist and Shintou nation governed by Confucian ethics where a mere 1% of the population attests to faith in Christ.)"

In the West, futanari rests in a complicated crossroad where conceptions of gender, sexuality, and Japanese culture converge. These issues are impossible to divorce from any adult content about futa. And yet, it's important not to draw assumptions about who enjoys or creates futa content, something that's caused headaches for aphrodisia as a bisexual woman.

"There is the assumption that it's a fetish only for men. I was accused of making my game 'for the male gaze' in the past. But lots of women enjoy futanari, including trans women," she said. "And while futanari isn't the same as being trans (futanari characters have two sets of functional genitalia), I think it's great that there's something to relate to."

Reborn in Sin's Kickstarter concluded with $21,263 from 692 backers, well above the $8,000 initial goal. Meanwhile, aphrodisia already has 39 fans pledging $399 monthly on her Patreon; she just needs another $350 per month to fund her next game project's start (her next work may involve transformation content, she told the Daily Dot). Like it or not, futa is here to stay, along with the complicated questions it raises about gender, sexuality, race, and what's lost in cultural translation between adult industries.

"I don't think there need to be generalizations made about the Japanese porn community from futa at all, to be honest," aphrodisia said. "A kink is a kink... not necessarily cultural commentary."

Interested players can try Reborn in Sin's demo on itch.io and Steam.


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*First Published: Oct 13, 2020, 6:00 am