With Age Comes Grace and Also Less Punching

Back when I was watching the Chihayafuru anime, I began to associate the show in my head with the American cartoon franchise Ben 10. Even though their respective subject matters are worlds apart, both featured fiery tomboys of elementary school age whose later appearances would involve a time skip to high school where their hair is longer and their personality a little more mature. But where the transition for Chihaya felt right for me in the sense that she seems like the same character only older (and thus different in some ways but similar in others), Gwen’s change inBen 10: Alien Forcewound up seeming like an entirely different character to me. Not only her personality but even her character design turned out to be significantly different.

Of course I know why this is the case: Chihaya was planned from the start to have this age jump, as the episodes involving her childhood are mainly flashbacks and setup for the story proper where Chihaya starts her own karuta club, while there was clearly no original intention to have a time-skip sequel to Ben 10. When Alien Force did come around, it streamlined some of the elements of the previous series and in the process wound up as something of a break from its predecessor. At the same time, however, the fact that Chihaya is in many ways a similar character to Gwen just made me more aware of how this sort of transition can be done well.

By the way, Chihayafuru season 2 was just announced today, but I swear that my posting this is merely coincidence. If I had that sort of power I’d use it for better things, like a Fujoshissu! anime.

A Visual Comparison of Marvel-Style Capcom and Tatsunoko-Style Capcom

When the preliminary screenshots for Marvel vs Capcom 3 were revealed, the way the Capcom characters were portrayed really caught my eye.

Now it wasn’t too long ago that the similarly themed Tatsunoko vs Capcom saw the light of day. Both it and MvC3 portray Capcom characters using 3-D models, but you might see a notable difference between the two games.

Ryu here, despite being in two very similar games, turns out looking quite different. Against the anime characters of Tatsunoko he too looks closer to an anime character, but against the American-friendly grittiness of Wolverine and other Marvel characters, he too becomes almost equally gritty. His design is being adapted differently in order to better match with the types of opponents he’s facing.

In any crossover but especially in video games, visual consistency is important. If the characters do not look like they belong together, then it becomes extremely jarring. The Capcom vs SNK series suffered from this, as the old Alpha sprites of the Capcom characters clashed with the newly designed sprites for the SNK characters. As an opposite example however, Sakurai Masahiro purposely added realistic touches to all of the characters the later Super Smash Bros. games in order to minimize the visual discrepancies between them, so that someone like the relatively realistic Samus Aran matches up with the more cartoonish Mario. If you look at Mario actually, he has much more detailed textures on his overalls than in any other game he’s in.

One last thing that I find interesting is that the old VS games (most notably Marvel vs Capcom 2) actually leaned in the opposite direction of MvC3 by having the Marvel characters designed to better match the anime-style Street Fighter characters used at that time. Either way though, the message seems to remain the same: MUGEN is really ugly.