Sunday, September 07, 2008

Aikida: Girls Don't Really Play Video Games, You Know

There are a million and twelve gamer comics out there. They all fit the same archetype: Two guys playing video games on a couch with a token girl and a few gamer friends that only show up to be strawmen. So how does a gamer comic try to differentiate itself from the herd? Creative Jokes? Nice Art? Character Depth? No, those are ridiculous ideas. The best solution is to simply switch gender roles around. I mean, girls playing video games? That's hot.

Aikida follows all the gaming comic tropes, and repeats all the common jokes. MMOs are like crack, CEOs are crazy and irrational, most or all gamers are actually attractive, and of course the classic "playin video games on the couch." Of course since it stars TOTALLY HOT CHICKS instead of guys, it's completely new and innovative and should receive loads of positive attention from the webcomic community for breaking the mold of gamer comics, right? Not quite.

First of all, Josh Meinzer is gonna have to get better at drawing techniques such as "anatomy" and "consistency." All of the girls' boobs look like someone stapled water balloons to their ribcage. Female characters are astonishingly longwaisted. Certain facial expressions lead to them having a particularly more mannish jawline than they should have. The female poses are usually hideously unnatural, as the artist tends to have them hold their arms behind them like they're mentally deficient. Also his fire looks like someone painted a porcupine orange and then drew that while having a seizure.

Aikida has a very weird peculiarity. It jokes about pedophilia. Like, way too much. Creating a 17 year old who claims to be 15 just to torment male characters is a bit weird. Like it's a fetish. If it had been a one-off thing it would have just been a weird joke, but continuing to write the character as a woman-child drives this train through Creepyville and straight into Predatortown. Sending this two-inch tall childish girl (with quite a masculine jaw) over to frustrate the male neighbors may seem like a harmless prank, but having one character insinuate that he's going to masturbate after the incident is indicative of the author's pedophilic desires and gives us an unsolicited peek at the contents of his porn folder.

Aikida is simply another gamer comic trying break the mold with a layer of fresh paint. Creating a backstory for each character might be useful if the factoids were utilized ever, or in the case of the title character, followed at all when considering her appearance. A large-breasted, tan, and large-framed Irish/Japanese Canadian makes about as much sense as putting a jet engine on a laser printer. In addition, ripping off character details from Charles Schultz's most popular character is never a good idea. In the end we simply have a female version of the traditional gamer comic, a novelty gimmick that doesn't really add anything to the incredibly oversaturated genre. If you find yourself with this one, feel free to trade it in for something more innovative.

1 comment:

  1. Some mainstream films/movies make jokes about "jail bait" (teens who are under the age of consent but can pass for someone who is at or above the age). You may see a listing on TV tropes.

    I looked at the three strips. She's 17 but claims she's 15, so she's claiming she's a jailbait when she's (in most US states, DC, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand) legal. It seems like the man in the first strip thinks she's an attractive woman until she falsely says she's 15 (the idea is that a person with normal sexual desire would be excited by "jail bait"). He should have drawn Tito looking shocked upon hearing the revelation (without that I'm confused about the reaction he's supposed to have). The third comic about the character saying he's going to masturbate to her is also part of the jail bait thing.

    I suppose it's fair to criticize the author for wallowing in the "jail bait" jokes as they could be perceived as being in poor taste, but calling it "pedophilia" makes people think it's along the likes of Bleedman when it isn't.

    I read the "Ample Warning" strip and it comes more across like some guy seeing Rule 34 of his beloved cartoons and yelling "that's the end of my childhood!" and nothing to do about her being a pretend "trap".