The following is a guest post from Mirai.
Mirai is a cis, straight white guy in California who randomly friended some people on Twitter and was exposed to the wide world of rights activism and feminism. Since then he’s put his bile duct into overdrive angrily yelling about homophobia, transphobia, and all other colors of ignorance in the gaming industry and culture. He works retail and is pushing towards a writing career in fiction and journalism, primarily at his and NonConNeko’s gaming review/entertainment site www.Gamepad-Dojo.com and whatever blog wants to host his mindless rambling.
Mortal Kombat is, and has always been, really, really, really campy. The entire game is around overdone violence to such a hilarious degree it’s outright ridiculous, and it seems to embrace it wholeheartedly. Thankfully, the women seem just as capable in Mortal Kombat as the men, and frequently characters like Sonya will be just as brutally aggressive as Jax, or someone like Mileena is just as much of a horrible, from-the-netherrealms creature as Reptile. They might be in tights but it really seemed like it was what they’d fight in, and it was – to me – attractive, but acceptable.
…that is, until Mortal Kombat 2011.
As much as I love this game, and I seriously do, every damn time I saw the ladies in this game I wanted to break something. So let’s just take them all, in no particular order…
Sindel is good girl Kitana’s late mother, resurrected by the Emperor Shao Khan to be evil and work by his side. Putting aside the implications of that, she’s always been fairly unique. She’s a witch of sorts, with a sonic scream and hair she can control magically. A lot of her designs and behavior is much like a banshee, but she’s extremely quick and deadly, and can even fly. Sindel is a dark queen who will handle adversary personally, and fearlessly.
And good lord, she looks pretty good for being undead, doesn’t she? I like how her eyes and mouth seem to have age lines around it, yet the rest of her body is perfectly smooth and healthy, and lest we forget the most important part, supple. It’s like they couldn’t bear the idea of having a woman without a perfect body, so they just designed it separately and hoped nobody would notice. The resulting mishmash is another character turned into a sex object in a bikini by virtue of having the required figure.
Check out that outfit, too. Those boob supports are apparently metallic or some kind of plastic? I guess the cross-piece is to keep it from falling forward? And what’s with the popped collar, is she a fratboy? Is her collar just completely without a shirt? It’s like they looked at her purple old costume and decided to just remove random rectangular squares in an effort to make her hotter rather than giving her more clothing so she maybe looks a little less absurd.
You can rag Mortal Kombat: Annihilation all you want (and it was so, so bad), but at least her costume design looked kind of queenly. She wore tights and a cape and bangles, but at least her head didn’t look like it was grafted onto a 20 year old body to get the idiots chanting, “MILF!”
Let me start off by saying that I always liked Jade. I liked that she was dark-skinned (it looks like she’s African to me), and she’s downright gorgeous when you pair that with the metallic emerald green of her outfit. Her story makes her out to be the royal bodyguard to Princess Kitana, meaning that she’s one of the best fighters in Outworld. Her story involves trying to decide between her loyalty to Kahn, her Emperor, or Kitana, her friend. But THEN…
Okay, it’s not just me that thinks they moved her nipples so they could make her outfit more revealing? It really looks like that to you too, right?
Plus, look back at that earlier character portrait I posted. Is it me or did we just make a serious jump from ‘Indian’ to ‘well-tanned’?
In addition to that, Jade is characterized throughout the story as Princess Kitana’s closest friend and bodyguard, and a dedicated soldier. She’s good-hearted, and really hates the bind that she’s put into. As soon as Kitana is to be executed, she rushes to rescue her, then finds the other Earthrealm warriors to get help. But Jade as a character is eclipsed by Jade’s Ass.
This game is full of exploitative shots but every time Jade walks into a room it seems to focus a lot on her strut. Her strut with heels, I might add, just in case she wasn’t fetishized enough. Not to mention how perfectly fitting that underwear is. Is it just painted on or something?
Oh, and that story mode where she’s a good friend to Kitana and hero in her own right? The one where she walks into a room fearlessly into a fight without even blinking, repeatedly? And how in versus she confidently executes a fatality and proudly stands victorious without any sort of sexualization in story or in gameplay? Yeah, well, it’s pretty much rendered moot whenever she gets a vanilla win.
Yeah. I could maybe see it just being her excited that she won and celebrating (poledancing isn’t inherently sexual, after all), if she wasn’t also wearing heels to a fight and her backside/legs weren’t a fixation of the rest of the game’s camera up to this point, and if her entire character was made out to be a confident showoff in touch with her sexuality rather than the dedicated soldier she is.
Why surely a proud Shokan warrior who’s main ability is to beat people to death with her four arms would know to put on a Goddamn shirt!
As a warning, you will get really, really tired of enormous, jiggly boobs very quickly when playing this game. It seems like being a champion of Mortal Kombat requires you to be busty enough to play into the giggling perverted brains of 13 year olds, or their equivalents in college.
Anyway I know she had this whole pro-wrestler thing going on but it’s pretty unreal how they made her outfit have even less clothing than before. Even her alternate costume is just thin straps with shoulderpads added on. The excuse of it being a ‘classic look’ kind of falls short when you consider that she does this:
In all seriousness the men in this game like Liu Kang or Jax or Johnny Cage go into battle shirtless too and end up nice and sweaty by the end of the fights. But if you’re going to bold-facedly tell me that Sheeva using all four arms to strike a sexy pose and ‘mmm’ in a pleased way is the same thing as Johnny baring his chest after a fight then I must kindly ask you to step outside, sir or madam!
(Also, a sidenote – if Netherrealms Studios wanted to release the next Mortal Kombat with an oiled Johnny Cage in a mankini doing hip thrusts at the camera? Please, you have an untapped fanbase here, get on that.)
Now here’s an interesting one – Mileena’s the half-sister of Kitana, created through magic and genetic tampering. She’s also a demon.
Her entire thing is to be basically a succubus. Several of her grapples involve jumping and devouring your neck. When she wins a round, she saunters back and taunts, “Was it good for you?” She’s hot, and has exotic, alien eyes, but behind that mask is a gaping maw of fangs for devouring flesh. Her fatalities in MK3 and up involve eating you.
She is made to be a monstrous temptress, so her dressing with pseudo-fishnets, thigh high boots, and a bikini makes sense. Mileena loves showing off and strutting. Her sexuality is entirely intentional and it’s something she loves. So it’d be basically impossible to exploit this character, right?
Not to mention that there’s a battle damage system that – for the most part – works quite well with Mortal Kombat’s visceral nature. It damages clothing and the skin underneath too, and after a fight you look like you got your ass kicked. And hey, I totally am in favor of this…if it didn’t turn into more spanking opportunities.
I’m sorry but clothing doesn’t work that way. Well okay I’m sure it would work the real way but I doubt Warner Bros is interested in publishing a game rated Adults Only. What a shame – they got her even closer to being naked!
Princess Kitana Edenia of Outworld, Shao Khan’s stepdaughter, and reformed good girl. She’s always been really rad, combining her elegant fans and her blinding speed to take you apart. Like most of the other Outworld-resident women of MK, she’s a ninja, and wears a bodysuit and a mask.
That is up until MK9 decided she needed a bikini and a loincloth. Seriously, this is just ridiculous. Kitana is already sexy in her old costume because it left things up to the imagination. Thigh-high boots and a groin-flap just look laughable. If we’re going for elegance, why not more flowy clothing? If we’re talking a ninja, why the flowy flap? It just abandons all pretenses of ‘ninja’ in favor of sticking more bikini-clad buxom bodies into the game.
Plus, how much sense does it even make? Apparently official Edenian garb is a crotch-flap, but not an equal flap on your back? Why is the skirt-flap thing even there,anyway? Jade has something similar, and it didn’t make sense there, either.
It also makes her and Jade’s argument in her story mode hilarious. Forever more nothing will possibly be more ridiculous than two women talking about royal responsibility and loyalty in bikinis with loincloth flaps and surgeon facemasks.
Okay…it was the 90s, alright? They did all kinds of weird shit back then, I don’t know what’s up with the green shirt anyway. But hey, at least she’s got clothes, and they’re tight but than again, they’re fighting, and as Sonya Blade is the quick, gymnastic fighter of Mortal Kombat, it makes sense that she’d do diverolls and handstands in a jumpsuit. And then…
Good lord, girl, will you please put on a shirt?
I mean, Jesus Christ. Just look at it. This is supposed to be a reboot of the whole series, right? I don’t think Sonya in that green tanktop thing has breasts half that enormous. But that’s not even what pisses me off – what the hell is she wearing? A half-jacket? I hope to shit it’s bulletproof because you basically have everything exposed that anyone would want to stab. No bra? No shirt? Just some dog tags and something to hang your badge on? Has Netherrealms forgotten that breasts moving around a lot hurts? Did they even know to begin with?
Plus I find it a little hard to believe that this person – Sonya Blade who is a lieutenant in the elite US Special Forces, a woman described as “impulsive” and “stubborn,” the one who, in the Mortal Kombat movie, fist-fought Kano and broke his neck – decided that it’d just be totally alright if she had the Grand Canyon of her cleavage wobbling about while in the middle of doing cartwheels and flying kicks?
But maybe her alternate costume is better!
Well, it’s not like Sonya’s costume has always been great. Deadly Alliance had the Boob-Cup T-Shirt…
…and in MK vs DC, her outfit was almost entirely like the white tanktop above…
…yet throughout the ages she at least wore something more than a vest. I’m sorry, does the graphic designer think this is hot? This is just embarrassing. It’s outright objectification of the cast, each of them prettied up, made bustier, and given bikinis to wear, with alternate costumes being even more ridiculous bikinis.
I’m all in favor of sexy characters, but this goes way, way beyond that. Even though the design is appealing for some kind of swimsuit fashion show, the concept that I’m supposed to take these characters seriously fails utterly. It’s not even hot! There’s no sense of intrigue in the outfits, it’s just underwear and boots. And when it comes down to it, I feel downright insulted that I’m apparently supposed to be the target audience of this!