So Dead or Alive 6 got released with some limited fanfare, and it hasn’t really made an impact. For all the PR lip service it made for it and its direction to become more serious in visual tone was just that. It is getting sixes and sevens out of ten, which doesn’t really mean much nowadays seeing most games get sixes or sevens. Reviews range from utterly baffling (Eurogamer wants to make sure there’s some sort of agenda in there by name-dropping the Trumps) to somewhat competent but failing due to having an idea that isn’t exactly true (like Destructoid‘s review, where the reviewer thinks we’re living the most experimental era of fighting games.) Most Western reviews of course will tote the whole thing about sex appeal. While that is certainly an element of the series, there’s significant lack of mentioning the chiseled bodies and female-fantasy level physiques to direction or another at offer. The old saying Sex sells hasn’t ever been as true as people might make it, but in this case it is true. All these people are making their money on speaking about sex. Like that Eurogamer writer, who apparently thinks having a nude model for Resident Evil 2 remake’s Mr. X would be the best thing since corn. They may not realise it themselves, but whenever these sources make a hullabaloo about skimpy outfits or sexualised content to any direction, they’re selling their content with a sexual boost. They’re no better, or worse, than the people they may criticise.
Does this make me hypocritical, seeing I talk about sexualised content at a rather decent rate? I’m not selling you anything, and the stance on the blog has always been pro-sex for wherever applicable and designed into the product.
The whole thing about Dead or Alive and its sex appeal is more or less old news. It warrants no real criticism at this point anymore. Everyone and their mothers have effectively covered it, but its the easiest topic to discuss. It is also always topical, as different sections if different cultures have completely different ideas and standpoints where respective culture, worldwide or local, should stand in terms of body representation and sexualised content. None of them are inherently negative or positive, though all sides might argue otherwise. Then again, humanity has always admired the shape of a body in sculptures, paintings, songs and writing, almost mirroring their respective eras. Sometimes the bodies are idolised, sometimes they’re represented in a more natural state. The 3D models in Dead or Alive, or in any game that in any way tries to achieve some sort of elevation of a human shape, be it via clothes or body shape, is closer to statues of old representing the same core idea. Of course, sexualising men and women is largely different in nature. The whole procreation and nature of women as the birthing side in the two sexes of mankind serves a strong drive, whereas women value athletic bodies and social positioning. The small stubble, somewhat pronounced square chin, slo-mo motions of the camera and actors you always see in certain commercials are to hit this spot with the women in the audience. These too are tied to eon old genes, but everyone has their quirks, and some deviations are more common than others. Like the people who’d rather fuck cars.
While the whole discussion whether or not certain Western Christian traditions are the reason why parts of the world has become rather prudish when it comes to the nudity and sex business, there is a point there. Excess use and availability of something does devalue the matter, like what would happen to money if it was shared around to everyone willy nilly. The value of money would plummet, and maybe in certain ways the access to perfectly shaped bodies, fictional or not, take away something from the value of having a perfectly shaped body here and there. Unhealthy living is an issue though, and being a fatass is not only detrimental to oneself and making a dent to the value, but also promotes rising costs and risks to the society. I’ve discussed to death how more and more items like beds and chairs need to be designed to take account the increasing weight and body mass people have in Western nations, especially in the US. Crematoriums catching fire have become an issue as well, as cremating overly obese bodies raises the risk of starting a grease fire, like what happened in Ohio few years back. There’s no value in increasing costs like this. In this sense, promoting the idolised bodies to strive for could be seen as a very positive thing. After all, as long as go for it, it doesn’t really matter if we achieve a perfect body. Some people just can’t due to genes, but we shouldn’t let genes to decide such a thing. In the end, our bodies is the best thing we can put money into and take care of, as my shoulder currently reminds me of.
Dead or Alive or any other IP with human body idolised, but not necessarily sexualised, will always get scrutiny. It’s a never-ending issue, which seems to change hands from time to time. Before the current climate of progressive stack and political movements driving this whole agenda to censor sexual content from pretty much everything, it was the puritanical and zealous Christians. I wonder when it’ll exchange hands to some other group and for what reason. It’s an eternal hot topic that each generation will have to deal with their own way. Make no mistake, sex does sell, but only when it has been applied properly. After all, it makes money, and in an era where clickbaiting and outrage culture produces positive financial results, it’s an extremely easy subject to keep tackling over and over again. It’s a cycle that a lot of these sources that seem to be mad about how culture portrays something would lose a significant element from their usual roll. Then again, there are people who can’t be pleased to any extent, so you shouldn’t even stoop down to try.