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Offline ForgemasterWolf

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Recently there has been some minor drama involving one of the artists for Netflixvania, Steve Stark, he’s a supervising background and concept artist for both of the shows. Well this might start some “tiny” arguments here and there but please be respectful boys and gals. There have been a few articles from bottom of the barrel sites like Niche Gamer and Bounding Into Comics, they’re almost as bad as sites like CBR but the only thing different is their political leaning. I will start with the Niche Gamer article and how it evolved into one of the artists of the series privating his Twitter account for a good while.

The Niche Gamer article which is the genesis of the whole incident is “okay”,  and it’s probably the first time anyone said anything negative about the show from the mainstream side of things, while the author wasn’t disrespectful at all, the whole article amounts to a milquetoast reddit post of someone who played CV3 15 years ago and just watched the show.

While the author is okay, the whole other side of the site and the community around it is pretty annoying. You know that one guy who won’t shut up about the West destroying his anime? Yeah, that’s the whole community.

This pretty much got a lot of people who never played or even are interested in Castlevania to start tweeting with #notgonnawatch yada, yada. Which lead to people commenting on a post of Steve Stark saying that seeing people of color happy for black vampires and hunters included in media makes him happy/make his day. Which lead him break one of the biggest guidelines on the internet ever, do not feed the trolls.

While interacting and fighting with mostly people who never touched a Castlevania game in their entire lives and some game fans here and there, instead of just saying the normal thing “We’re making an original story, these are different characters who share a name” or I could give you one better, just saying nothing. He went on and on which lead to honestly one of the most stupid things to ever grace my eyes relating to Castlevania. Basically saying that Powerhouse disrespects the series/characters is wrong because Ayami Kojima made Dracula go from a “Bela Lugosi knock off” in Vampire’s Kiss to a “hot dad” in SotN and that would mean that Ayami Kojima disrespected the characters. He went on to site Richter’s Dracula X Chronicles design as an example as well, despite ya know? Him looking the same just with different clothes and shorter hair? Man legit has brain worms with his way of thinking, because Dracula, Alucard, Simon and Richter do not apply with the situation he’s and there is a decent chunk of people that hate both the Chronicles and Judgment design and that’s why they stopped using them and went back to the warrior design he had in the X68000 version.

Link to image of the Tweet: https://i.imgur.com/QA10Znz.png

Then shitty website Bounding Into Comics got in with a best of tweet compilation of him and got even more idiots and a few people who actually know their shit until he privated his account for a while. This is a situation where I couldn’t really side with anyone, bottom of the barrel sites, idiots, racists, artists who don’t understand shit and barely anyone with a lick of knowledge about anything. Moral of the story, more people should just stay quiet sometimes, and people shouldn’t be idiots on the internet while defending their works. Also, a lot of people lack self awareness and don't know how to argue their points at all.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2023, 07:51:09 AM by ForgemasterWolf »

Offline Gunlord

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Re: The Niche Gamer article and its consequences: A semi quick recap
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2023, 01:21:56 PM »
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Yeah, I generally agree with you. The only caveat I had is that is that I can see Mr. Stark's point, it's just that he was making it in a foolish and disrespectful way. Like, the characters are usually re-designed every time a project is remade, so as to distinguish it from a re-release: Kojima's DXC Dracula, Maria, and Annette looked a lot different from the original Rondo versions. So if Mr. Stark had been wiser he would have said "we're changing our characters the same way, not only to make them in keeping with the French Revolution setting but also to give our work its own identity so it doesn't seem we're just retreading Kojima's work without paying her." But his insult of the old Rondo art was foolish, since it does have its charm.

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Offline ForgemasterWolf

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Re: The Niche Gamer article and its consequences: A semi quick recap
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2023, 04:45:38 AM »
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Yeah, I generally agree with you. The only caveat I had is that is that I can see Mr. Stark's point, it's just that he was making it in a foolish and disrespectful way. Like, the characters are usually re-designed every time a project is remade, so as to distinguish it from a re-release: Kojima's DXC Dracula, Maria, and Annette looked a lot different from the original Rondo versions. So if Mr. Stark had been wiser he would have said "we're changing our characters the same way, not only to make them in keeping with the French Revolution setting but also to give our work its own identity so it doesn't seem we're just retreading Kojima's work without paying her." But his insult of the old Rondo art was foolish, since it does have its charm.

“but also to give our work its own identity so it doesn't seem we're just retreading Kojima's work without paying her”

About that, they already traced her works and she never got an official credit besides passing mentions in their artbook.

Some examples: https://imgur.com/a/TUov01R

And there is also them ripping off one of Junki Sakuraba’s fan work, this one is a bit passable since the pose was done before in other pieces of media but it’s pretty suspicious.

Link to the tweet: https://twitter.com/junkisakuraba/status/1677857167527796742?s=20
« Last Edit: August 11, 2023, 04:49:11 AM by ForgemasterWolf »

Offline Gunlord

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Re: The Niche Gamer article and its consequences: A semi quick recap
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2023, 09:25:04 AM »
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“but also to give our work its own identity so it doesn't seem we're just retreading Kojima's work without paying her”

About that, they already traced her works and she never got an official credit besides passing mentions in their artbook.

Some examples: https://imgur.com/a/TUov01R

And there is also them ripping off one of Junki Sakuraba’s fan work, this one is a bit passable since the pose was done before in other pieces of media but it’s pretty suspicious.

Link to the tweet: https://twitter.com/junkisakuraba/status/1677857167527796742?s=20


I can overlook the Junki Sakuraba one since as you said, it's a common pose and might just be coincidence, but I agree they definitely should have credited Ayami Kojima for the first seasons, yeah.

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Offline Foffy

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Re: The Niche Gamer article and its consequences: A semi quick recap
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2023, 11:58:27 AM »
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Quick Reminder that Niche Gamer is a site where the owner has regularly plagiarized content from Gematsu (complete with the original articles misspellings and even planned traps in said articles) and tried to blame it on a "former staff member." If they're the ones drumming something on their own, it's filth.

The people outraged by this that aren't typically in the Castlevania community are playing a card where they think something is "not all white" about something and it's really obvious to see. I didn't see this outrage when Death spoke like a sailor, the lack of Grant, or even the change of Isaac from an aristocrat to a slave, which was the first time this happened. Us hardcore fans had issues with it because we might want to see the lore followed in full, but I think we can also respectfully accept this show was inspired by the games, not driven by them, so it's different. I don't mind that much at all, even if I frowned when Death spoke. Why is it the female main character in the show who gets a race change that forms this outrage? Why is this the flashpoint incident? No outrage over Olrox or even Drolta becoming a Caribbean vampire. If we can look at the previous show to go off of, Annette is going to be a completely original character carrying the name of an existing Castlevania character. Nobody had to lock their Twitter accounts who worked on the show when Isaac was different. Very concerning Gamer Moment when it's the female who gets a redesign and people talk about disrespecting the original work. Where were these people when Rosaly and Julia vanished from existence? These were key characters to Hector and Isaac respectively. Who is demanding all of the maidens from Rondo appear? It's a fuckin' ghost town, no words or pleas or callouts there, which tells you these arguments are not in sincere faith from those using a megaphone to blast the show.

I could understand him defending the change. Steve Stark is clearly proud that people are happy to see black characters in the main cast. I was hoping that they were confident to just make an original character because I knew purists would want the giraffe neck Annette (I know I do too) but they're just making a new character with a familiar name. It's not even the purists that are mad here, it's this new group that is suddenly saying "this is too different and thus it's wrong!" using the old games as a sudden bible to follow when they're about six years removed from talking about not following the original canon to a tee. His mistake was taking people clearly arguing in bad faith seriously. Annette didn't have magical powers in the game: she's literally one of the four main characters in this show. Leaked artwork put her in clear importance with Richter, Maria, and Alucard as the main characters the story is based around. It's the people saying this is an example of "wokeism" and they're largely from one political spectrum, and that says a lot. I caught that stink the second I saw it. Go right back to the Niche Gamer article: they're calling the change to Annette "offensive." Trying to hide "I don't like she's black" by referring to the original Annette as "alabaster-skinned." Are you fuckin' kidding me? You don't need no magnifying glass to figure this out, y'all.

Also, if it means anything at all, the staff on the show have admitted Ayami Kojima has been a baseline inspiration for the art style of the shows. Clearly the samples shown as "evidence" are clear homages. They've never hidden the fact Kojima's art has been a foundation in some sense to the shows aesthetic. I also don't think that means they should be beholden to her designs: after all, she wasn't beholden to previous designs when it came to radical transformations with Alucard and her attempts with Simon Belmont, both conceptually and what made it in the final game for Chronicles. I think what Steve Stark is trying to say with his example of Dracula is that a design can be seen as a complete redesign, but that doesn't mean any malice to what was there before. A "Belo Lugosi knockoff" is precisely how Dracula was presented to Western audiences until the 2000s. I don't know how an art style being a baseline means she must be credited when fans can clearly see they're making a Western animation with strong Ayami Kojima visual influences, which of course is seen as the visual identity of the games to modern people today. Would have been nice if she did art for the Blu-Ray collection, but she's apparently a very busy person these days. We were lucky to get her for Bloodstained.

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Re: The Niche Gamer article and its consequences: A semi quick recap
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2023, 12:06:42 AM »
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The fact that "Alucard sex scene" or "black Annette" is what sets these people off almost makes me question if I should have criticized the past show.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2023, 12:35:30 AM by theplottwist »
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Offline ForgemasterWolf

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Re: The Niche Gamer article and its consequences: A semi quick recap
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2023, 07:45:12 AM »
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The fact that "Alucard sex scene" or "black Annette" is what sets these people off almost makes me question if I should have criticized the past show.
The people outraged by this that aren't typically in the Castlevania community are playing a card where they think something is "not all white" about something and it's really obvious to see. I didn't see this outrage when Death spoke like a sailor, the lack of Grant, or even the change of Isaac from an aristocrat to a slave, which was the first time this happened. Us hardcore fans had issues with it because we might want to see the lore followed in full, but I think we can also respectfully accept this show was inspired by the games, not driven by them, so it's different. I don't mind that much at all, even if I frowned when Death spoke. Why is it the female main character in the show who gets a race change that forms this outrage? Why is this the flashpoint incident? No outrage over Olrox or even Drolta becoming a Caribbean vampire. If we can look at the previous show to go off of, Annette is going to be a completely original character carrying the name of an existing Castlevania character. Nobody had to lock their Twitter accounts who worked on the show when Isaac was different. Very concerning Gamer Moment when it's the female who gets a redesign and people talk about disrespecting the original work. Where were these people when Rosaly and Julia vanished from existence? These were key characters to Hector and Isaac respectively. Who is demanding all of the maidens from Rondo appear? It's a fuckin' ghost town, no words or pleas or callouts there, which tells you these arguments are not in sincere faith from those using a megaphone to blast the show.



To answer you and Foffy's reply on why no one spoke out when the show was inaccurate in the previous series, barely anyone cared about the actual story of the real Castlevania III (The one in the Japanese version and its manual) and Curse of Darkness. Nobody really knew/cared about them besides hardcore peeps and in case of CoD, the game had a mixed reception due to gameplay stuff which alienated it even more. And then add on top of that Rondo of Blood is much more popular game even though most of the people just watched YouTube playthroughs of it and will never really touch the game. And lets not forget that the moment someone criticized the show they basically got redditor witch hunts after them for just calling show what it is, a lazy vampire show using old popular IP as a front.

And then there is the huge group of people from the 2 sites I mentioned jumping on the bandwagon, that mainly has to do with stuff like Cleopatra and other Netflix related content having swaps caused this to be quite a hot "issue". Which sadly means people who actually like the games and wanted to criticize the shows get drowned out by the average 2014 YouTube commentator and/or racists. This is the best way I can simplify this whole thing without writing a whole novel about it tbh.

 
Clearly the samples shown as "evidence" are clear homages. They've never hidden the fact Kojima's art has been a foundation in some sense to the shows aesthetic. I also don't think that means they should be beholden to her designs: after all, she wasn't beholden to previous designs when it came to radical transformations with Alucard and her attempts with Simon Belmont, both conceptually and what made it in the final game for Chronicles. I think what Steve Stark is trying to say with his example of Dracula is that a design can be seen as a complete redesign, but that doesn't mean any malice to what was there before. A "Belo Lugosi knockoff" is precisely how Dracula was presented to Western audiences until the 2000s.

When have you seen an homage to an artists that's just 1:1 tracing just with a knock-off art style besides places like DeviantArt? When most of the lines match and just lack the detail from Ayami's sketches it isn't an homage anymore. It's lazy art. When you say homage it should be of something like the paintings in the Return to Castlevania DLC and not full on traced work being put in artbook being sold for money with no "official" credit. They're not inspired by it, they're hacks with no real talent. And most of the old school Dracula designs never looked like Bela Lugosi, but looked like Christopher Lee. And even then most of them had style and something to make them stand out besides the one from CV1 and the one traced in CV2's Japanese edition.



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