99 16-bit problems: Studio Joho animation on the post-princess epilogue

With tropes as, err.. 'timeless' as the 16-bit games that inspired it, Studio Joho's Dan the Man animation -- its moral seemingly somewhere along the lines of 'don't waste your extra life' -- shows us what fate awaits the hero after the boss has been defeated and the princess is rescued. [via David Surman]


  1. “timeless” tropes, like a six-minute meditation on what selfish, materialistic, ungrateful, superficial bitches women are. What the fuck is this doing on BoingBoing, besides lowering it.

  2. @Doomstalk: Meh. It’s misandristic too. The “hero” is portrayed as an ineffectual loser concerned primarily with buying the love of the princess. The vid is deeply rooted in stale stereotypes all around. Nice animation though.

  3. It only appears misogynistic/misandristic because the player hasn’t chosen the heroine avatar, and hasn’t rescued the right princess yet. Good thing they didn’t have kids. Foresight sure is handy.

  4. Calling the vid misogynistic misses the point. I found it to be a critique of gender roles / cultural expectations – smart and entertaining.

    1. Ah yes, a critique! It’s an interesting strategy, to critique something by expressing it uncritically. Learn something new every day.

      1. An equally interesting rebuttal, arguing the constraints of pointy-headed jargon :)

        Look, if scholars are able to publish papers in peer-reviewed journals lauding the critical views presented by of all things Hong Kong action cinema and even pornography, then I think I’m in the clear when it comes to using the word to describe an animation on a web forum.

        I shall now beef up my jargon – satirical critique :P

  5. How is the message ‘you are better off without women, they will take all your money, cheat on you and get you killed’ not misogynistic?

    If the artist was expecting this to be a good portolio piece then he’s in for a rude awakening.

    1. “you are better off without women, they will take all your money, cheat on you and get you killed”

      What makes you so sure that the woman represented all women and the man represented all men? I interpreted the message as ‘avoid romantic partners who try to take advantage of you’, and ‘there’s more to the game (life) than finding a romantic partner’. I totally agree with both of those messages!

    2. There are two men in the video; One who lives in a treehouse and seems to have little interest in material goods (by the fact he doesn’t have a whole lot of possessions before the princess) and one who owns a store, helicopter and appears to be financially well off.

      The princess matches well with one of the guys but not the other. Ultimately the main character just gives up on the mis-match and hands her over to someone she’ll be happy with. He just got done fighting, to the death, to keep her and then chooses not to make the same mistake again.

      That despite her good looks, it was her personality he didn’t like.

      How is that hateful of women? Isn’t this gender empowering, that a bad attitude trumps physical beauty?

      Not everyone gets along with everyone else. Certain people share certain goals and values. I had trouble dating a girl who’s prime concern in life is her religion (I’m an atheist) – we just wanted different things.

      A princess who wants cars and shopping trips, big screens and designer pets… and is unhappy without them… matches best with a guy who can give it to her.

      The hero is better off finding a girl who shares similar interests and goals to his own.

      But when it comes to the princess: I ain’t sayin’ she a golddigga, but she ain’t messing with no treeninja.

  6. You can talk about how it’s not all women and all men all you want. This is without a doubt one of the most mysognistic pieces of animation I have ever seen. In fact that’s all it is. It’s not funny, it’s not well done. And all it does is trade in the old gender stereotypes that were old when “Wait till you father gets home”

    To be critiquing it must be saying something new. It isn’t. Really BoingBoing you’re better then this.

  7. Nice reference to Metal Slug on his widescreen TV.

    Misogynistic? Quite likely intended to be, but it’s not the only way to view it. I agree with Blaine @14. Anyway, it’s stylistically very clean; just enjoy the, uhh, craftspersonship.

  8. Misogynistic? This piece, or the video games it’s based upon?

    Maybe – just maybe – the misogyny you perceive is an intentional part of the piece.

  9. I found this just stereotypes robots as kidnapping villains when the reality is they actually produce alot for society are for the most part are very passive.

    And can we stop making movies/books/tv shows where some human is the bad guy too? I’m tired of depictions of what selfish, materialistic, ungrateful, superficial assholes humans are.

    1. As President of the local chapter of SMUSAHADL (Selfish, Materialistic, Ungrateful, Superficial, Asshole Humans Anti-Defamation League), I take exception to that comment.

  10. Oh, I think it’s quite accurate and in an abstract and misogynistic but earned way quite true in RL. About every one of my male friends has been “Raped” by a messy divorce that was caused by the woman being a domineering “Princess”.

    Really, if I was the “Barbarian hero” (of some fantasy world, game, etc.) and looted some horrible desert temple and came back to the city to settle with my share of the loot I’d not spend 90% of my haul buying the “Silver haired light skinned foreign princess” from the slaver. I’d just spend 5-50 gold pieces on a cute, petite dark skinned girl who could cook, clean, be good in bed (as in keep you warm, snuggle) and see a guy who provides and doesn’t treat her like a punching bag as a ‘good person’, not the very least a man should be before he’s allowed to indulge her shopping whims.

    The “Tree Ninja” guy wouldn’t even get off that lucky as this video game character did, he’d be going on deadlier quests to pay the “Interest” on all the stuff his “Princess” wanted. On top of that she rarely if ever lets him bed her.

    My “Barbarian” character would just then have to go on “Easy” local quests, like “Wipe out bandit gang”, “Fight pack of Desert worms”, “Fight rogue mummy”… to secure his place as “Local Hero” versus “Wild loose cannon” as most “Adventurers” are seen as. That’d be a really wonderful “Fantasy Life” with a nice arabesque desert home, a cute gypsy dressed wife, managing some simple honest businesses like camel merchant and going to the Kaffe house for hookah and drink while discussing poetry and philosophy with friends and peers.

    —–Take note, I’m “Genre Specific” most fantasies/RPG games, etc. the players RUN from the “Desert area” quick once they’ve killed the “Lich King and found one third of the magic talisman” or other such nonsense, preferring the “European” forest areas. Therefore, just get used to fighting the monsters and the nasty environment, less competition from other “Adventurers”… And a “Barbarian from the Northern wastes” is used to a “Harsh Desert”, but this one’s warmer. Make sure to secure the water supply, get a tan, learn from the locals, easy.

    As far as the “Moneylender” character goes, well my personal opinion is “Pigs that devour usury must be beheaded.” But I’d keep polite and just watch, listen and learn. Then when I saved the town from a rampaging “Desert Dragon” (calling on other “Adventurer” friends to help) I’d have a direct word in the Sultan’s ear about it and he’d probably (maintaining his own “princess” wife’s desires) have problems with that guy too…

    1. “About every one of my male friends has been “Raped” by a messy divorce…”

      Greengestalt, that word does not mean what you think it means. Go to your nearest rape crisis centre, sign up as a volunteer, train for the 3 or 4 or 6 months you need to before you’ll be allowed anywhere near the survivors in crisis and then try comparing a messy divorce to the crime of rape.

  11. I did find it misogynistic, but I’m not really sure how much you should read into it.

    The bearded old gentleman is a classic capitalist, so you could see it as a Marxist piece. Then again he vaguely looks like a Jewish stereotype to me, which would make this piece anti-semitic.

    Or perhaps it’s a reference to the tale of Gilgamesh, where Enkidu the simple forest dweller was taught the ways of civilization by a woman and in the end paid for it with his life.

    Interpretation is as great as it is useless. You can make it go in any direction.

  12. It is misanthropic – as if mankind only knew violence as a valid way to solve problems.

    Also, notice how the protagonist seems to want to simply leave the princess right after she professes her love to him, to go on fighting ninjas, death-ray-robots and random fungi? This kind of repetitive, emotionally uninformed behaviour makes the whole thing look like… some kind of computer game?

    btw, look beyong gender, to the skinshade of the actors (cue dramatic violins).

    Now to the crowd calling ‘misogyinstic!’ – Please point me to the comedian/comedy of your choice, and i will enumerate the misogynistic aspects of their routine. In fact i do not know any comedy without multiple miso-x content.
    The most troubling aspect about this, for me, is the direct connection people made from the ‘spoiled princess’ to ‘female’. Hilarity towards poodles is not taken as general humor about dogs.
    I would support the argument for misogyny, if the artist would always make the bad characters female, but in a single oeuvre, the only female character is bad? – that does not a statistic make.
    If you perceive that art itself portrais females as mostly bad, i can support you calling the art world misogynistic, but from that you could not call all artist misogynists, much less a randomly selected one.

    1. The princess doesn’t need to represent all women for the depiction to be misogyninistic. What’s wrong is the connection the animation draws between femininity and materialism.

      If the author also decided to show things that muddied or developed that connection then maybe it wouldn’t be so insulting. But he didn’t.

      Even ignoring the sexism, this is a pretty negative depiction of people. I felt bad after watching it.

      1. “The princess doesn’t need to represent all women for the depiction to be misogyninistic. What’s wrong is the connection the animation draws between femininity and materialism.”

        Oh, for pity’s sake.

        First, just because that princess was portrayed in a stereotypical way, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t women like her in RL. I have personally met MULTIPLE females who were like that. So like it or not, her portrayal is true in the sense that there are women like that. And there’s NOTHING wrong with portraying reality in a video.

        Second, I find it funny that you cry about the video being sexist due to its portrayal of a female, yet you have no issues with a male being portrayed as that female’s “slave” who gives her everything she asks for and follow all of her orders. Double standards much?

  13. It may be misogynistic, but this is a video game princess we’re talking about, those are almost always cheap stereotypes anyway.

  14. When *I’M* able to discern the misogyny in a piece, you KNOW it’s pretty nasty. This is one of those times.

    (I’d also check the video for OK Go’s “There’s a Fire” for another take on the “post-rescue” moments.)

  15. ITT: A bunch of people that take an entertaining animated short critically when there’s no need to. It’s an animated short, if you felt that it was sending some kind of “hidden message” that ALL women are materialistic hussies, you’re kind of missing the point. I think Blaine put it best wit his post. Everyone else that says that this doesn’t specifically say “all women are materialistic” it just shows one woman that happens to be a princess and that princess has high expectations and actually doesn’t love the man that saves her.

    Also, el oh el at the people that say boing boing is HORRIBLE because they put an artistic video up. If you want something to bitch about being too “misogynistic” watch Trucker’s Delight

    What’s funny is that the video shows that as a guy, you shouldn’t put up with women that are materialistic just because they look pretty, you can’t beat up everything, and winning isn’t always as straightforward as you think it is.

    Lurrn to not be SRS MODO all the time and just take things with a grain of salt. It’s not trying to persuade ANYONE to be misogynistic, but if somehow you garner that idea from the video and say “YEAH! THIS video REALLY speaks to me! I’m going to hate women now and call them ALL materialistic bitches!” or “What a filthy video, disrespecting women like that” you’re kind of… out of it.

  16. Err… Sexism, yay!

    Glad to see people aren’t actually trying to be funny or anything. I mean, we wouldn’t want to strain ourselves to be humorous when we can just insult women and perpetuate stereotypes instead.

  17. It’s not about women, it’s about relationships that are had for the wrong reasons.

    Movies, books, and games always have two people falling “in love” basically because they were at the right place at the right time, which, consequentially people try to do in real life and this is pretty much how it turns out in real life.

    That being said, all this thoughtful analysis is RUINING the hilarity.

    (not that thoughtful analysis doesn’t have a place in comedy)

  18. omg this is soo wrong!! I had no idea this was offensive until I read the comments! now I’m madd as hell!!

  19. We are amazed and appreciative of the positive response to this film. At the same time we are extremely dismayed that we’ve made it ambiguous enough to be interpreted as misogynous.

    Our motives for making this film were to highlight how destructive the personality traits of selfishness, greed, superficiality, narcissism, entitlement and elitism are on all levels and to say that greedy people probably deserve each other.

    So we chose two very unsympathetic characters, the greedy businessman and the spoilt princess, who conspire to make Dan’s life (one of them anyway) a misery.

    The princess to us, represented the greedy, privileged, ‘Let them eat cake’ social set, equally personified in the stuck up prince or the tyrant King, yet more applicable to a video game context. We assumed that by making her so obviously (visually) a princess, that the audience would assign her this SOCIAL representation, rather than a gender one.
    We’re seeing now that a lot of people didn’t make this leap and that is pretty gutting.

    Interpretation necessarily involves subjectivity and objectivity and it gets pretty amplified when characters are 50 by 50 pixels. We were amazed to read one post insinuating the businessman was meant to resemble a Jewish person (we were aiming for a cross between the Monopoly guy and Dick Cheney)

    I hope this at least clears up the film’s intention.


  20. It seems that nowadays, you can’t put anything on the internet or other forms of media without being accused of something.

    Contains women? Must be misogynistic.
    Contains a man vaguely resembling a Jewish stereotype? Must be anti-semetic. (To be completely honest, I think that says more about whoever picked it out in the first place than the video itself.)

    Stop over-analyzing things and enjoy them for their satirical value, and stop complaining about things that don’t exist. It’s funny because poor Treeninja was taken advantage of by the princess, and that makes you empathize with him. Then, Treeninja gives the princess what she deserves, and you feel happy for him.

    Simple as that.

  21. Oh come on people! It was FUNNY.

    For clarification purposes, I’m a pansexual genderqueer biologically female Wiccan. And the interpretation as put forth by the creators was exactly the one I took away from it. If you over-analyze humor you kill it. It’s meant to be read superficially and often involves things that would be cruel or offensive in other contexts. Humor is a flensing knife that scrapes off the top layer of skin and holds it up to the light. The best humor cuts a little, stings a little, or a lot. It’s meant to show us the world and make us laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Loosen up people.

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