By David Cabrera
#44: Tentacle Bento Doesn't Sound Too Tasty
Even people who don't know or care about Japanese animation or cartoons have heard at some point about those crazy Japanese cartoons where girls have sex with tentacle monsters. Nobody ever forgot about the Overfiend. In geek land, it's kind of an old, tired joke at this point.
But that doesn't mean the joke doesn't have a following. Lately a lot of niche projects in geeky subjects, mostly videogames, have been turning to the popular Kickstarter site to raise funds. Kickstarter acts as a middleman between a person with an idea and the people who can fund it. The idea is that Kickstarter doesn't actually pay the project its money until it meets its goals, so it's a slightly more secure way to fund someone with less fear of them walking off with your money (though it's very possible).
Odd tech toys and sequels to old classic games like Wasteland and Shadowrun have found support on Kickstarter, but the subject of our story is Soda Pop Minatures, who are in the board and card game business. Their previous title, “Super Dungeon Explore”, was inspired by Japanese role-playing games, and their current title, well... it's in pretty bad taste.
Tentacle Bento is a card game in which the players are tentacle monsters in disguise, preying on schoolgirls on a Japanese, anime-style college campus. (Trivia: in American releases of porn anime, characters are always rewritten to be in “junior college” for legal reasons.) Characters are drawn in a typical eroge style, of course: if you give them enough money, you'll even get a hug pillow! The game reached double the money it was hoping to raise in just under a week. (http://kck.st/JcvCcW)
To be completely frank, this sounds a lot like a card game about rape to me. The “capture” part is one thing-- alien abduction is a classic sci-fi motif, after all. But the fact that you have to find a secluded area, evade school officials who might get in the way, and figure out a good lie to tell the girl? The sexy art and innuendo? I'm not sure how one wouldn't feel like a sexual predator playing this game. All that's missing is the act itself.
At the very least, Tentacle Bento is just a really creepy joke, like the Tentacle Grape soda (http://bit.ly/bVttv) that sells out at anime conventions.
A lot of people felt the same way, and a lot of those people called for Tentacle Bento to be defunded. (http://bit.ly/KoBpig) Remember, Kickstarter holds the money, and they can cancel a project's funding (and return the money to the donors) if they choose. As uproar grew online, Kickstarter did indeed suspend the project's funding. I disagree that trying to cut funding was the proper way to express disgust... but kind of like the Kodomo no Jikan incident, I have a really hard time feeling sympathy for the many people who are righteously enraged that somebody tried to get between them and the tentacle rape card game.
As for Soda Pop, they've started a fundraiser on their own site and they'll definitely make their money and put the game out. Meanwhile, a hundred online wars rage...