Tsuki, called Dahlia in the U.S., is a female character in the new video game Xenoblade Chronicles 2. There are a couple of things you may notice about her at a glance:
She’s part-rabbit, and that might be the most realistic thing about her anatomy, vis-a-vis an accurate representation of a human woman. Tsuki isn’t the first female video game character to be lambasted for having a body that’s simply impossible in nature, but she’s the most recent. One particularly egregious screengrab has been going around this week, rekindling the age-old debate about misogyny in female character designs.
The obvious take is: cartoon boobs that defy logic and physics are hilariously bad. Was there any reason she needed to look like this, other than possible horniness on the part of the developers and the player base?
some label this as a character with unrealistic proportions and an overall bad design, but I see a lot of untapped potential that could've been used to make something magnificent pic.twitter.com/KeuZGXf86V
— Shane (@FourScore64) December 4, 2017
Xenoblade Chronicles 1: not revolutionary, but mostly decent costume design for female characters.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: whatever steaming GARBAGE that is hrhghgkjdhg pic.twitter.com/ac8EZREN7U
— Anna Landin (@AnnaLandin) December 3, 2017
— Day (@DatDaisy) December 4, 2017
Im sorry fans i think the xenoblade bunny is cute minus her severse lordosis and size double z titties i actually like her design
— GIGI LE FLEUR (@twoGnetwork) December 6, 2017
The gaming humor site Dorkly called Tsuki, “a cyber Southern belle/sexrabbit” and described her breasts as “regulation-size footballs.” Their article about the backlash to her character design has “boob monster” in the URL. That pretty much encapsulates the majority reaction here.
Some have pointed out that the artist who designed Tsuki is, in fact, a woman. Turns out women can be bad at anatomy, too:
Saying the big-titted snow bunny's design from Xenoblade 2 is okay because a woman drew it is like saying this Captain America design is okay because a man drew it. It's just bad anatomy, dude pic.twitter.com/tV9hQzRxr7
— Brad Brown – Current Objective: Survive (@BlasterNation) December 4, 2017
With a little more nuance, we can discuss who these character designs are for and what purpose they serve. We can consider why some impossibly beautiful video game women (like 2B from Nier: Automata, who is literally a manufactured combat android) appeal to women, while others are products of the male gaze. This discussion isn’t new, but it has yet to sink in for a lot of gamers and game creators.
Compare average responses by women to Nier Automata and Xenoblade 2. One did it right, one did it wrong. The difference between Nier Automata's Horny On Main and Xenoblade 2's Horny On Main is the difference between Waypoint's Horny On Main and Nick Robinson's Horny On Main
— mcc (@mcclure111) December 4, 2017
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to introduce nuance to a discussion when the reaction from many gamers is, “lol, the big cartoon boobies are triggering the liberals.” I wish I were kidding, but, well …
Everything has now become GamerGate, the 2014 hissyfit thrown by gamers who were concerned that “feminists” wanted to take out the sex and violence in their favorite games. Three years on, GamerGate is basically now the president of the United States, and it’s still impossible to suggest something like, “maybe these chest-footballs are bad, actually?” without being accused of being “triggered” or promoting “censorship.”
Because online discourse in 2017 is almost exclusively about finding glee in making others mad, Tsuki’s supporters like her even more because she seems to have offended women.
— Rob (@Robaato_Art) December 4, 2017
The thing is, this is a completely fake moral panic. Rolling one’s eyes at Tsuki’s totally implausible body isn’t tantamount to censoring it. To say, “this isn’t very good” is not the same as saying “this should be banned,” and opinions don’t magically have the force of law. For better or worse, it is not illegal to draw Yoshi with a human head on top of his dinosaur head and try to convince people they’re looking at a rabbit-woman’s body.