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L5R getting heat after SU&SD Review

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5 minutes ago, Manchu said:

I'm also ... struggling to find any legitimate point in tacking on "Appendix B" to the review. Kinda reads like a parting shot at a game the reviewer didn't enjoy by attacking its fanbase. The whole review has a "dunno who would like this game/world but good luck to such weirdos" vibe.

Our boorish poseur ways incensed his deep and melancholic heart into a torpor of ennui. 

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22 minutes ago, Gaffa said:

it's entirely in character for Shut Up & Sit Down to consider inclusivity issues in their reviews

I'll take your word for that because I'm not very familiar with SU&UD. Previous to this, I've only watched a handful of SU&UD reviews on YT - in which "inclusivity" did not come up, e.g., Battlelore 2E.* Regardless, X being "in character" doesn't justify X. I think some topics are too complicated to just gloss and merely glossing over them, possibly as a sop to one's own self-image, is gauche. To me, the gloss in this case also comes across as petty.

We'll have to agree to disagree about whether the reviewer liked the game.

- - - - -

Appendix A

Why shouldn't cultural sensitivity be part of the BL2E review? What anglophones think of as "generic fantasy" is no more "cultureless" than being white - which is to say, of course our generic fantasy is culturally loaded! But it is such a given that rabbiting on about it would seem absurd and not leave us all with a smug feeling of being Sensitive And Progressive.

Edited by Manchu

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 Honestly it sounds to me like he's ignorant on the subject and found it as offensive because Kamikaze were a thing. Which is a freaking stretch. I'm sure Japanese Imperial armies who were part of the allies in WW1 screamed it all the same as the Japanese who fought against us in WW2. It's dangerous ignorance because his platform is creating a stir where there probably wasn't one, and may make FFG fold on something unique to the l5r fanbase just from bad publicity that will be blown up from a very minor segment of a community who may or may not even be customers.

 

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7 minutes ago, Manchu said:

I'll take your word for that because I'm not very familiar with SU&UD. Previous to this, I've only watched a handful of SU&UD reviews on YT - in which "inclusivity" did not come up, e.g., Battlelore 2E.* Regardless, X being "in character" doesn't justify X. I think some topics are too complicated to just gloss and merely glossing over them, possibly as a sop to one's own self-image, is gauche. To me, the gloss in this case also comes across as petty.

We'll have to agree to disagree about whether the reviewer liked the game.

- - - - -

Appendix A

Why shouldn't cultural sensitivity be part of the BL2E review? What anglophones think of as "generic fantasy" is no more "cultureless" than being white - which is to say, of course our generic fantasy is culturally loaded! But it is such a given that rabbiting on about it would seem absurd and not leave us all with a smug feeling of being Sensitive And Progressive.

Ok, I'll bite.

How offended are these guys? Are we talking, "My immediate family and friends were killed by the Japanese soldiers who screamed the word", or are we talking "I'm a middle-class ****** who, by virtue of being able to afford internet and this product, is richer that most of the people on this planet and I don't like this private company using a word that is apparently still used by the Japanese peacefully in the 4+ generations since WWII"? Somewhere in between?

I see both sides of this debate, but this is silly and I'm offended by it. Where are my L5R spoilers?

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Whether the person in question has a family member who was murdered by Japanese soldiers at Nanjing or, on the other hand, they are just wasting time yelling on the internet seems immaterial to me. Because Rokugan is fictional, he said while making a rainbow gesture with his hands. No one doing the Banzai chant is evoking 20th-century Japanese military aggression in Northeast Asia.

Someone who insists on interpreting the banzai chant as glorifying WW2-era atrocities is well within their rights to remove themselves forever from the sphere of L5R.

Note that wasn't the reviewer's issue. The reviewer was concerned that white people chanting banzai was - perish the thought - cringey, or rather cringey in a way that is worse than the way that the review is himself comfortable with being cringey (from the POV of the broadest common denominator). It's the old Nerd Hierarchy problem asserting itself, one group of enthusiasts pandering to the mainsteam by demeaning another group of enthusiasts. "At least we don't ____." In the case of SU&SD, the blank is filled in with something like "cultural appropriation."

We can probably get stuck on disputing what Quinns put in the blank but the larger problem, beyond the mere political faddishness, is being demeaned for what you like. This is nothing new to L5R fans, however.

 

But it still stings! singletear.jpeg

Edited by Manchu

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1 hour ago, Gaffa said:

That's not the way it works.

That's exactly how it works.

1 hour ago, Gaffa said:

You don't get to tell other people that they can only be offended by the things you allow them to be offended by.

I didn't.

1 hour ago, Gaffa said:

You may or may not agree with them, but you at least afford them the respect that they can tell what actually offends them.

I do. Are you going to afford me the basic respect of not talking like I said something I didn't?

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2 hours ago, agarrett said:

  I'd never heard that one. Could you explain?

  For what it's worth, from when I lived over in Japan, I have serious doubts that this cheer would tick off anyone I knew who lives there. I worked with a great group of people, and they really didn't take offense easily. They'd gladly laugh at us for getting things wrong, but would be more inclined to insult back if they thought we were being insulted. The laughing at us bit was much more likely, though. 

I can't explain it very well - but depictions of death, especially skeletons and skulls even more so are considered taboo, and inauspicious.  Its not held 100% across the board, but most games wanting approval to sell in China (league, wow, ect) will remove all skulls from the game.  Its okay to have a bit of a zombie / flesh covered thing, or "Undead" spirit who isn't dead but living beyond life - but having something that is dead and raised again, or the dead being controlled like puppets is typically wiped out to prevent offense.

Note that China doesn't specifically outlaw everything that contains skeletons.  This is done voluntarily to make the game as non-offensive as possible to seek government approval so they can run shop there.  There aren't people rioting over skulls or skeletons that are contained on games made in China by Chinese creators...  so I think its more of an overly cautious approach game developers take just to improve image as much as possible.  Native Chinese don't hold themselves to the same standard because they don't go through the same approval process.

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3 hours ago, Gaffa said:

Why the quotes around "offensive"? If someone says they find it offensive, then they do.

And people are free to write in to FFG to ask for anything. That doesn't mean they'll get what they want. Or even if they do, if their letter had anything to do with why the change happened.

Having a discussion over why a banzai chant from a largely non-Asian audience might be considered offensive or weird is a fine discussion to have. The game is not threatened in the least by the discussion, nor even if the chant is kept or not.

This isn't the best forum for such a discussion... but I am of the opinion that a person certainly has the right to declare they are offended by anything.  That offense is valid to them, sure...  but that does not qualify it for consideration by any group of people, or validate any demand for action to compensate for the offense.  There is a lot of heated discussions about whether it is the responsibility of society to remove offenses from society to protect people - but that concept is a 1st world problem, and evidence of such privilege that it almost becomes contradictory.

When I hear someone is offended there are 2 things I look for.  Was offense intended?  Was there some direct effect from the offensive action?  If someone intended to mock another person through an impression of their culture then it is clearly a problem.  Likewise if a person used the relics of another person's culture to actually inhibit their freedom as a person, or to ostracize them it is a problem.  If I create a caricature of a culture as part of a piece of art, craft, or other positive thing then that cannot be held to the same standard as an actual racist offense.  It doesn't matter if I am white or asian, whether I am creating caricatures of vikings, or samurai, if there is no offense intended, and no direct negative consequences, then frankly my dear, I don't give a ****.

Edited by shosuko

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Actually the review was quite positive.  Don't confuse the article with his comment section.  He was just bringing up a valid concern with the commissioned artwork for the box cover, and that the Banzai cheer made him uncomfortable.  The question would be why did the Banzai cheer make him uncomfortable?  I think it would have been kind of interesting if he elaborated on that point.  I am not Asian so I can't really say whether the L5R property is offensive in that way.  I think on the surface L5R is and pretty similar to lots of things I ingested over the years just in reverse.  Legend Of The Galactic Heroes is basically a Japanese story about Germanic people in space.  Record of Lodoss Wars is a Japanese take on Western Fantasy.  Shadow Hearts the video game series is one of my favorite RPG series and it's pretty much a Japanese interpretation of historical western events, and I found it charming.  Earthbound is probably my favorite game from my childhood and it's basically a Japanese regurgitation of American culture complete with borderline plagiarized songs on the soundtrack and it's one of my favorite things ever.  Because of all that I don't feel L5R is offensive merely because it's a western creative house developing an eastern fantasy world.  However I do think L5R in the past has walked a pretty narrow tight rope in some of it's story decisions.  I think FFG needs to be careful with how they handle the property going forward.

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The review/article was ok. Some things were weird in it and L5R is probably not his jam in the end. Most reviewers seem to have a problem with the games being too long and has too many decisions. Yet, with time a lot of those desicions will become automatic.

In terms of the appendix b. It seemed like a way to get people to read the article without actually directly writing it in the review. As far as the comment section. It seemed like a circle of the same three people trying to say not much. 

 

Edited by Spawnod

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It's certainly not beyond the capability of the western world to be insensitive to eastern cultures (Breakfast at Tiffany's anyone?). The trap is in refusing to open up these topics for discussion. The community should have a conversation about the necessity of the chant and its impact on the hobby. They should wonder if the game is more inclusive or exclusive. Rokugan is not Japan, but it clearly borrows heavily from Japanese culture alongside the western perception of that culture. Mindfulness is the key to ensuring that the community of this game is able to portray themselves as socially evolved.

It doesn't help that there's been a string of seemingly deliberate exclusions of Asian actors/actresses from modern media (Doctor Strange, Ghost in the Shell movie, Iron Fist, Death Note). This article is no doubt fuel for that particular flame. Again though, if your knee jerk reaction to this point is to immediate dismiss these examples as relevant to an L5R discussion, that is the path to another Mr. Yunioshi.

You can like the chants and like the art while being culturally sensitive. It simply takes a willingness to discuss and evaluate that art and those chants. Cultural appropriation of a culture by a traditionally colonial culture is something that ought to be handled with care, and I believe that's the intent of the author of the SU&SD article.

Edited by Lysamus

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54 minutes ago, Lysamus said:

You can like the chants and like the art while being culturally sensitive. It simply takes a willingness to discuss and evaluate that art and those chants. Cultural appropriation of a culture by a traditionally colonial culture is something that ought to be handled with care, and I believe that's the intent of the author of the SU&SD article.

Sure, I can discuss it - but first lets see if there is more blow-back than an american guy writing about inclusiveness from a western perspective.  Are there Japanese people, who are from Japan offended by the portrayal and chant?  Is the "offended party" interest enough to sway the design concept of the game?  Are they part of the market?  Are they negatively impacted by the market?

Unless there is some evidence of concern beyond the inter-sectional do gooders, I don't think there is any evidence of concern.  Being black or gay doesn't give you any insight into the asian mind just because they aren't swm either.  You can't simplify cultural understanding to a binary of "swm" and "other."  This is why the term PoC is such a horrible construction.  It attempts to create an amalgamation of minorities as if each shared the same experiences or point of view and the only difference was "white yes" and "white no."

We went over this with the art for Hotaru - people accused her of being white washed...  and I'll post here what I posted there.  Here is an image of characters designed by and for a Japanese audience...  All of these characters are "Japanese" by their own standards and designs except the half French half Japanese character top center.  

821361c1-222a-40cd-bf21-3215e3880c97.jpg

The inter-sectional culture war is offensive to me.  Just because you're a minority doesn't make you an expert on minority culture.  Being something is not the same as knowing something.  Further - Japanese people are not a minority in Japan.  They make many caricatures of themselves and other cultures - just look at mr bobo from DBZ.  Japan has shown a great dispassion for cultural sensitivity beyond any other nation.  They are the last of my list of people I'm worried about offending through art.  They are one of the few nations willing to openly depict hitler and nazis in their art, not caring if the visual is offensive.

I think its a bit hypocritical of Chinese people to complain about the WW2 stigma of the Banzai cheer.  Asian cultures are one of the biggest to be impacted by the negative association of the Nazi Swastika as they are one of the few cultures with contemporary use of a similar symbol.  Just look at this image search - if anyone should understand the importance of moving passed historical stigma it would be the culture that still uses this symbol as they intended it to be used in spite of the western world being so stigmatized that they even attempt to justify violence in response to bearing this symbol...

Edited by shosuko

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That manga about their prime minister saving the world through epic games of mahjong had the best Hitler ever.

Also, I still can't understand why Americans insist on using the term "caucasian". 

Edited by WHW

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3 hours ago, shosuko said:

I can't explain it very well - but depictions of death, especially skeletons and skulls even more so are considered taboo, and inauspicious.  Its not held 100% across the board, but most games wanting approval to sell in China (league, wow, ect) will remove all skulls from the game.  Its okay to have a bit of a zombie / flesh covered thing, or "Undead" spirit who isn't dead but living beyond life - but having something that is dead and raised again, or the dead being controlled like puppets is typically wiped out to prevent offense.

Closest to the realm of L5R would be that Magic: the Gathering specifically alters artwork to put 'flesh' over skeletons for cards being sold into the Chinese market. Although, at least historically, it really was specifically skeletons. Take some sort of undead monstrosity with a bare skull showing, slap some 'flesh' over the skull, and otherwise leave it alone. And I don't think it was due to a cultural taboo, but some sort of more vague government effort. But that sort of thing is really opaque from over here.

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Still not sure how if this was an issue that it only JUST got noticed by someone it's not like the game didn't run over a decade and change... I'm not saying the guy shouldn't be pissed because it's something that angers him, but to each their own.. some people hate and refuse to eat bologna because it's round (true story).

Like i said everyone is entitled to their own opinion and if it offends someone so much you can always choose to vote with your money (or in this case not). But if you are shaming/bullying other people with your opinion that is something else don't expect people to jump on your band wagon and comfort you. I am not saying that the person who expressed their thoughts on this specifically said that but I am starting to see a lot of threads where people want things changed because certain things can be misconstrued when the people who created things didn't even view it from that lens. 

For those that say 'oh i see how the community treats new players i'm out of here', to be honest every time i see that response i get the feeling they are usually the same posters who were probably going to leave anyway over one thing or another. Or the people who didn't want to contribute to the community to begin with they just wanted to nitpick something and hide in the shadows thinking they accomplished something. 

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It was a strange comments thread. There were two negative streams - the Banzai one mainly led by one dude (curiously he stated a couple of times that his country was conquered by the Japanese where Japan certainly invaded and occupuied large parts of China and committed war crimes all over the place but never actually conquered the country itself which was the longest fighting nation of all the allies in WW2). IMO Banzai is a word that certainly is attached to the Japanese army in WW2 in western minds but is not atached specifically to atrocities (shouting Seig Heil at a WW2 tournament, using the swastika (its not Hindu now) or making the participants walk through a 'work makes you free' sign certainly would be.  He is entirely entitled to his opinion.

I don't really care either way if FFG decides to keep or stop it.

The other negative stream is part of the cultural war going on mainly fired by Hollywood. All the whitewashing of films and that is actually more dangerous as there is a lot of 'push' against this at the mo. FFG have done a great job of representing all sexes, ages and even looks (though there are more good looking peeps than ugly ones). In anime terms a large percentage are oriental (though anime was originally a means to sell stuff to the USA after WW2 when trying to sell a 'very' Japanese character would not have succeeded and Japan , to a certain extent, has generated its own neutral characters to permit this).  So this is more threatening..

 

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12 hours ago, Tetsuhiko said:

Some symbols were distorted so much by the world war II they cannot be used for their original meaning anymore. Examples like eugenism, the swastika and the aryan races are no longer attributed to their original, much more peaceful meanings and are linked to the WWII atrocities. 

 

Eugenics was always absolute horse manure, and it always ended up being applied in horrific ways. Many people in America used it to justify mass forced-sterilizations and other atrocities well before the Nazis ran with it to its 'logical' end-point. 

Oh, and the 'Aryan race' thing was also rubbish to begin with, again well before the Nazis turned it into 'master race!!!' extremism.

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