I know I know, I should be working on translations or summaries for games, but this was too interesting to pass up (＞人＜;)! My fellow podcaster, Suri from kisscoma, and I have noticed the recent trend of sadistic otome games and the polarized responses from players and fans. Because of this we started discussing the topic of sadism with each other, but 140 words on twitter made it near impossible (plus we were starting to spam the timeline and so we needed to gtfo ;;).
This post will feature the outline of our podcast and the general topic headings of what we touched on. I’m sure we missed a lot of points and since Suri and I held the same view, it might not have been the most optimal discussion. So I definitely encourage anyone and everyone to comment below and add to the discussion or give feedback about our first podcast. The only rules are to remain polite and respectful.
Here’s the main topics that we discussed. Below this are other points that I felt I should have addressed but forgot to in the podcast. Not to mention the podcast was becoming so long that we felt like we needed to end it soon.
Outline of Podcast
- Recent trends from Otomate/Rejet
- Diabolik Lovers, BWS, Gekka
- What is sadism?
- What we make of the fervor of otome game fans for Do-S characters
- Why might Do-S characters appeal?
- Forbidden Fruit Effect
- Reality/Fiction Boundary
- Could it just be a fad?
1. One thing I should have addressed is the implications of using games as a medium of exploring a dark, or grotesque, theme. Games are considered to be entertainment, but I feel like the entertainment differs from that given by literature. For example, no one bats an eye at literature that explores the theme of dystopia or the brutality/darkness in human nature. It’s an accepted medium for challenging thoughts and exploring what-ifs.
For example, if a person picks up a book about the holocaust in WWII they’re not going to condone what the Nazis did to the Jews but they want to learn about this event or explore this type of world and setting. Therefore, it could be that people just expect to be entertained in games and so they won’t welcome darker themes. But I think this analogy falls flat since in otome games the heroine has to go for the guy who might have done sadistic things to her. Basically, if games are a medium different from literature, are they perceived differently on a fundamental level?
2. Another point is that when a work of literature or fiction is being considered, I think that readers are expected to suspend their disbelief. Especially if the literature in question has fantastical elements or supernatural ones. So, in a way, we’re not supposed to apply our morality onto characters in the work of fiction.
ie. because there are vampires in Diabolik Lovers, even if it’s a school setting, they’re allowed to be crazily sadistic because they’re vampires and they may have different customs as vampires or something and humans are seen as slaves. In BWS, the characters are in a war-torn world set in a time before modern inventions, and the customs of the people appear to be medieval.