This will be pretty non-graphic but I would like to include a trigger warning for the men and women who are disturbed by these kinds of things.
Did both highly acclaimed video games Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 include scenes of implied rape?
A user on gaming forum NeoGAF felt disturbed by two particular scenes which have gone largely undiscussed. The implied act takes place during a boss fight represented in both Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2. In it, the titular female protagonist mostly presented as a self-efficient independent strong heroine, faces off against an ongoing rival named Rodin. Rodin isn’t necessarily a villain in the game’s story. Though he has battled Bayonetta he also crafts and sells weapons for her by which he obtains from his primary duty as a proprietor of the Gates of Hell. In these boss fights, Rodin executes a powerful move that obscures the players view and ends with Rodin smoking a cigar as a fully nude Bayonetta lies in the fetal position, seemingly clutching her buttocks (NSFW).
It’s pretty easy to see why this might upset someone. Though Bayonetta is a game that lavishes sexuality and ultra-violence to the point of self-parody, the title character is almost never shown as vulnerable, let alone completely nude. To see her lying down and possibly clutching her naked behind as if recovering from a forceful penetration, is very shocking and quite disturbing to someone that might just be looking to enjoy a wacky action-shooter on their Nintendo Wii U. Rodin enjoying a smoke (NSFW), as is a common post-sex trope in modern media, only makes the scene more incriminating.
The game’s creator and lead director Hideki Kamiya, who also created Viewtiful Joe, Okami and directed many entries in the Devil May Cry series, was quick to respond to the controversy. When several NeoGAF users took to twitter to confront the developer earlier this morning, he explained that the scenes were not intended to imply any type of sexual violence and was initially confused by the accusations.
The lead character’s source of power, and clothing for that matter, is her angelic hair. When Rodin pulls her into the Gates of Hell for his attack, her most powerful defense is temporarily destroyed leaving her injured and nude on the ground. So why does Rodin light up a smoke immediately afterward? This wasn’t directly addressed but in the name of fairness it should be pointed out that Rodin is always lighting up a cigar throughout the entirety of both games.
There are far too many instances in modern media of rape being casually brushed aside or treated as joke fodder instead of a horrific, invasive and violent crime. Rape culture is a problem and something that should continue to be addressed, but are the scenes in Bayonetta a contributing offender or was this just an unfortunate coincidence, something lost in translation?
It’s definitely something worth discussing.