Amazing how the Cold War knew how we’d kill ourselves off. Just took a little longer than they expected.
When I first heard the rumor about a secret ending where blond, yacht-owning, sweater-and-polo-wearing Dream Daddy Joseph is revealed to be a cult leader, my first thought was “yeah, that sounds about right.” Dream Daddy is a visual novel, after all, and that’s a genre known for including strange hidden elements—look no further than the post-apocalyptic worldbuilding of Hatoful Boyfriend or the infamously bloody Bad Endings of Dramatical Murder, Togainu no Chi, or School Days.
The initial discovery of the “cult ending” script in the game files was followed by a wave of complicating factors that turned it (fittingly, given one of the routes) into something of a cryptid. First of all, it isn’t actually possible to unlock the ending in the build of the game that was released on Steam. Chapter 18 has no start command, meaning there’s no way to launch it. Additionally, several of the included assets are reported to be broken, and the dialogue refers to an older draft of the game wherein the player character had a wife named Cora rather than a spouse named Alex.
At the same time, there is also a Steam achievement suspected to be related to the ending (“Escape from Margarita Zone” and possibly “World’s Okayest Dad,” though 0% of users have been able to unlock them), and a few remaining lines in the finished game that refer to the cult ending (such as receiving a warning about Joseph and a knife from Robert). All in all, particularly with the context of DD’s hectic and delayed launch window, I would estimate it to be content tested and then cut late into development, at which point the developers were too busy fixing other issues to remove the remnants of the route (this is not uncommon even in big budget games: see Grand Theft Auto’s “Hot Coffee” minigame or the first Mass Effect’s nearly intact m!Shepard/Kaidan romance, both still salvageable from the code of the finished product).
While the debatable accessibility and purpose of the scrapped content are ultimately a curiosity, the ripple effect was a debate on whether or not the existence of this ending casts a pall of homophobia over the game as a whole. Much of this clamoring has come from an echo chamber of false information, well-meaning people who heard a thing through the grape vine and didn’t bother to confirm, and a likely handful of deliberate shit-stirrers.
There are, however, two issues that I do want to tackle in regards to Joseph: how he reflects a very specific and harmful mindset among the queer community, most strongly associated with the “gay conservative” (a connection I believe the game’s writing deliberately evokes); and how offering a breadth of representation means being able to portray bad people who happen to be part of an oppressed group without making a statement about that group as a whole.
I. A Brief History of Gay Conservatism
II. Joseph v. Joe: A Comparison of Closeted Religious Men
III. How Joseph Operates and What He Wants
IV. Representation Means Variety
Sorry, readers; I’ve been spinning a lot of plates as of late between recording and editing podcasts, doing week to week posts like this one, and working on projects that haven’t quite made it to air yet (in addition to an upcoming month of real-world concerns that are going to take up a lot of time and effort). In the meantime, I wanted to make sure you at least had SOME content, even if it’s crossover stuff.
Another season of premieres watched and reviewed! Now that we’ve gone through every premiere, it’s time to line ’em up next to each other and see how they compare.
Which shows do you review?
We don’t review shows that are sequels, shorts, or for young children. Anything not licensed and immediately available is off the table as well (lookin’ at you, Netflix titles). This left 26 eligible premieres in 22 days.
How do you write the reviews?
This time Vrai tackled the majority of the premiere reviews (like a rock star) with assistance from Dee and Amelia. We don’t always like or dislike the same shows, or to the same extent, but we respect and support one another’s positions and critiques.
It’s that time again! I’m usually the least up-to-date person on the AniFem team, but I still had some favorites that I wanted to write up.
- Feminist-friendly favorite (you would recommend it to a feminist friend with no caveats)
- Problematic favorite (you would only recommend it to a feminist friend with caveats)
- Surprise favorite (you expected it to have caveats, but actually would recommend it without)
We’re organizing things a little differently this time around. Rather than have people pick three favorites and wind up with repeat write-ups (a bunch of us really liked My Hero Academia and The Royal Tutor, okay), we had everyone list the shows they’d want to recommend to our AniFam and then divvied up the write-ups among the staff. The series are organized alphabetically below, along with the staff members who named it as a “favorite” and a brief review.
Lars von Trier tries optimism. It doesn’t work.
I watched so much anime over the last two weeks, readers. More than I think I’ve ever tackled during the start of a new season. You may recall that I reviewed a handful of titles for Anime Feminist during the Spring season. That handful rocketed up to a whopping seventeen titles, running the gamut from pretty awesome to huffing the fumes of existential despair.
I’m including bite-sized impressions here, and links if you want to check out the full coverage. Happy reading!
Nobody seems to know what to make of KADO: The Right Answer, and that includes the production team. Like the anisotropic, KADO’s dimension beyond our own universe, the show contained multitudes: it was a deliberately paced political thriller one minute and a twist-laden character drama the next; its visuals shifted between traditional 2D animation and CG, the latter of which ranged from downright stunning to “average ATLUS game;” and while it was just sort of okay sci-fi, it eventually revealed itself to be way more engaging as a gender-equal harem show.