Thursday, November 3, 2016

Those Tits Won't be Necessary Part VII: The Wicked Witch of Rock and Roll!!





[This is part 7 of an Eight part series. If you would like to check out the other parts, click on their respective numbers
6,5,4,3,2,1  Or if you want more in depth discussion, try the bonus chapters: The Myth of  Selective DiversityThe Fat the Lean and Everything in between and Lingerie may not be armor (but it's as thin as your arguments)]

Halloween has come and gone. The little witches and skeletons have already come knocking on your door for candy and getting the occasional trick in return. The days grow short, the wind carries a light chill, and the leaves are turning brown and falling from the trees in a brilliant freefall. Soon, the clocks will fall back and the darker half of the year will arrive. In keeping with the passing season, today we will be talking about witches, well one Witch in particular, but in order to do that, we're going to have to go back to our “friends” at Svampricket. Lets see what they have to say about Guilty Gear's Guitar Witch, I-No.





                                         


Since I never have accepted the Guilty Gear so my knowledge of In-no fairly shallow. The obvious: she is an amazing combo of witch and rock star, but it is a shame that her bust burst down her top. Because there are plenty of fabulous female rock stars to take inspiration from - from Joan Jett to Karen O - so was a more modest attire is not difficult to sketch up. Even Ino has little S & M vibe, and the tinted I briskly down. Big plus for her guitar, better assecoar (accessory) can not be found!

Starting strong, as always.

Not having any knowledge of a character, and yet feeling compelled to alter their appearance in order to “improve” upon it seems like completely faulty logic. It's pretty much the equivalent of someone who has never touched the inside workings of a car, and decides to walk into garage to repair someone's carburetor. There is a great point being made, here about there being a number of fabulous female rockers; particularly Joan Jett (the reasons for that we'll get into in a bit) However, and I know this must be mind blowing to you, both Jett and Karen O have been known to show skin.

Shocking, I know.

Sex and Rock n' Roll have been inseparable for decades, with the latter being slang for the former. This notion isn't just limited to Elvis gyrating his hips and causing fear in the parents of over enthusiastic teenage girls, or Hendrix on stage “making love” to his guitar in some tantra based act; Women musicians have also expressed themselves in sexually empowering ways. From Janis Joplin standing nude covered in beads to Stevie Nicks posing nude with Lindsey Buckingham on the cover of their 1973 self titled album. We're getting into the fringes, but We could even go so far as to point out Maria Brink from “In this moment”, and her abundance of sexual allure and fetishism as an example of Sex and Rock n' roll being intertwined, and of course all of that would go completely over the writer's head, due to wanting to tone down a character's choice in clothing (which of course as we have established is a means of displaying the character's personality ) in order to make themselves feel comfortable.

Even Stevie Nicks let her hair down... 

While we can easily pontificate on the reasons as to why this logic almost always fails, Me thinks it would be more productive to actually figure out why I-No's character design actually works.


Sinister Designs

I-No is a character from the Guilty Gear series. Her first appearance as a playable character was in Guilty Gear XX : The Midnight Carnival, where she also served as the end boss of the game. In the game she serves as henchman to series antagonist, Asuka R. Kreuz, better known to most as “That Man” . The Guilty Gear Wikia page has more on her personality and character design.
I-No is a sadistic and manipulative woman who seems to act without conscience. Thus, she has no qualms about hurting other people (physically or mentally). She is dedicated — or so the audience is led to believe — to That Man's goals and ideals, to the point where she altered reality at least once to make his objectives possible, though it is never entirely made clear what the former are. She is somewhat crude in how she speaks to others, as she is always either cursing, insulting her opponents, or making sexually charged comments, usually using musical references as double entendres. She is shown to have a masochistic side when her opponents attacks her in erotic ways.
So going off of this information, she's already established as a sexually charged character with a rather foul vernacular. My kind of woman. Now let's take a look at her design notes and piece together the puzzle of her creation.
I-No has black hair in a bob cut, and has red lips and a mole on her right cheek. I-no wears a red witch hat that has a skull face on it. She wears black leather choker around her neck with a gold ring that is connected to her shoulderless red jacket that she can easily take off and put on. She has a red mini skirt and thigh high heel boots with black panties underneath as seen during some of her attacks. Despite having green eyes in her artworks, her profiles state that her eyes change color "depending on the angle", and are said to be multi-colored. This was not shown in-game until Xrd in which her eyes shift color constantly.
                                             
notice the bob and the beauty mark..
I-No's inspiration seems to have been a combination of different sources, One of which being Singer- Songwriter, Yumiko “Ringo” Sheena . Sheena had formed the band Tokyo Jihen in 2004 , and eventually went on to resume her solo career two years later. Sheena is popular for her trademark bob-cut hair , and beauty mark, as well as her choice of guitar, a surf green Duesenberg Starplayer II, which she named “Dietrich”. I-No uses the same model guitar in the same color, with two exceptions: One - the symbol on I-No's guitar is based on the “Love Symbol” that replaced Prince's name in 1993 while in the midst of a contractual dispute with Warner Bros. Two - Her guitar is named “Marlene”. Both seem to be a nod to Marlene Dietrich, A German-American actress who was popular for her audacious sexuality and glamorous style.


Almost a dead ringer...

The second source, is of course American Rock singer, songwriter, composer, producer and musician Joan Jett. Jett also is known for her bob style haircuts, and just by looking at the two, together, you can tell that there is a pretty striking resemblance that only becomes more prevalent when you see images of Jett wearing red. If I were to wager a guess on the personality end, I would put money down on Katherine Thomas AKA: The Great Kat being inspiration for the personality. I-No definitely shares her “I do whatever I want, and if you don't like it, I don't care!” attitude in spades. I'm sure there are others who fit the bill, but Kat is very notable in Rock for her fantastic musical talent, as well as her fantastic temperament.

Because who's going to tell her no?

I-No's name can be taken from two different sources. The name could be a play on Brian Eno, Composer, Producer singer, writer and pioneer of Rock Ambient and Electronica, but the way it's written can be attributed to Singer Songwriter Ayanna Porter who debuted in 1997 under her stage name “INOJ” (pronounced “I know J”). Porter was popular for her covers of Ready for the World's “Love you Down”, Cindi Lauper's “Time after Time” and Anita Ward's “Ring my bell”, but is commonly mistakenly credited for Ghost Town DJ's song “My boo”. Interestingly enough, “Time after Time” may have been the spark of inspiration in the idea that I-No can manipulate time and space.

Her hat, which on first glance, looks like a Witch's hat, has another origin rooted in metal culture. This is something I missed the first time and just noticed it as I was putting the finishing touches on; The flipped brim either side of the hat closely resembles the hat of Motörhead bassist/singer/songwriter and Deity The late Lemmy Kilmister . The resemblance is almost identical right down to the skull motif. Another interesting musical aside, I-No's victory pose where she shreds on Marlene, she plays the guitar solo portion of Metallica's “ONE”.

Above: God.

As we've talked about in previous articles, Red is the color of fire and blood. It's often associated with heat, war, energy, danger, strength and power, as well as Passion, desire and love. A fitting color for someone who seems to be immensely filled with most if not all of these traits.

Her eyes are mostly portrayed as green in artwork, but she has been revealed in the recent games to have Heterochromia iridium, or two different colored eyes. Her yellowish-green tint in her right eye signifies cowardice , discord and jealousy. These are traits shown prominently in I-No's behavior in the series towards other characters. Her left eye color is turquoise blue which is often attributed to femininity, loyalty, intuition, tranquility, wisdom and sophistication.


Battle of the Bands

So with the breakdown of I-NO's character, and revelations of information that seem to be influential to Daisuke Ishiwatari's creation of the character, let's get back to that wonderful quote up top, shall we?




Since I never have accepted the Guilty Gear so my knowledge of In-no fairly shallow. The obvious: she is an amazing combo of witch and rock star, but it is a shame that her bust burst down her top. Because there are plenty of fabulous female rock stars to take inspiration from - from Joan Jett to Karen O - so was a more modest attire is not difficult to sketch up. Even Ino has little S & M vibe, and the tinted I briskly down. Big plus for her guitar, better assecoar (accessory) can not be found!

What is the first thing you notice about the differences in this image? Other than the strange notion that “witch” equals being hideous (sometimes the true form, but glamours exist for a reason) in the eyes of the artist , despite characters like Bayonetta, and characters from Anime and popular culture proving otherwise .

This is probably the most interesting point, as Yet again, we're not only covering up every aspect of a woman who's using her sexuality as a show of power rebellion and defiance, we're taking away her beauty for some strange reason as well. She's even wearing jeans now, under her mini skirt and thigh-high boots, because apparently, we're Street Fighter V era Capcom, now!

The allure is completely gone, which completely goes against the character's personality. Regardless of covering her up, her win pose would still have her tear off the jacket to stand defiantly against her adversary and show who's the baddest broad on the block. She would still talk in double entendres and attack her adversaries in erotic ways. When you look back to the phrase “my knowledge of In-no fairly shallow” It can be plainly shown in the way the character is handled in the image. If we were commissioned to redesign an established character, and approached it with no working knowledge of the character beforehand other than outward appearances, of course it would be easy to fail this hard (even harder still if we had an extreme puritanical agenda behind the designs).

It pays to do a bit of research on the character you're redesigning, because you can always spark new ideas by understanding what the character's personality, backstory and influences are. This design is bad because it just seems uninspired and lazy, and as we've commonly said before any upper body movement would be hindered by being wrapped so tightly in that jacket, so shredding out discordant notes would be limited severely (Flashbacks of wearing tight vinyl jackets are my personal proof of such logic). The jeans are kind of an interesting thing to take in, considering Sol's too-tight-for-procreation style jeans allow him for high kicks and movement, and yet. Here on I-No the use of Jeans in lieu of everything else she's wearing just seems rather redundant, and out of place.

Above: One bad mofo!

There is just something really simple about I-No's design. While it does actually show skin, the reasons for such seem pretty practical, and the use of buckles and straps keep the design consistent with the other characters; The consistency is there to show that in the future this is actually tied into the fashion of the time. In fact, the design is actually similar to Sol Badguy's design, who seems to be showing about the same amount of skin. This leaves the player to believe that with the similar designs that the two characters may be connected in some way, which of course they are both connected by I-No's benefactor and Sol's Nemesis..          
To finish off this critique, the pose itself at least has a modicum of personality, but even that comes off as both weak in the face of the original. Many times before, we have stated how important a character's stance is, as it can convey a lot of information in the seconds it takes to choose a character on the select screen. Weak poses would only confuse instead of convey and would seem counter-productive in the design process.

Simple and clean

In chapter 2 of the “How to design a Street Fighter Character” series, Mex talks about how the best character designs are very simple and “pure”.
I had mentioned in previous blogs that the best SF character designs were the simplest and most "pure." These characters all looked like fighters first and foremost before any other elements were placed on them. The mistake that some designers make is that simply creating a character dressed in traditional fighting garb is enough to make them work in a fighting game. A character in a traditional costume does not make them an archetype. It is possible to make a character look too generic, to play it too safe and lose the quality that made the character unique.
While I-No differs in this regard, due to her stance being that of someone ready to rock out, she still has simplicity in spades, and fits within the confines of the heavy musical influences of the Guilty Gear series. Her costume also provides not only a wide range of movement, but also determines the size of the character, and helps to determine or exaggerate the strength of the character. Mex talks more about that in this part of the chapter
The gi that Ryu wears is not as traditional as it first appears to be. The sleeves are torn and there is a large hole for his arms to move around through. His headband and hand guards are a bright red for contrast. This is good for several reasons. It allows gamers to see where the hands and arms are during the battle. From a development standpoint it allows the animators to visualize the arm position during movement rather than guess how it is moving underneath a sleeve. The opening also allows for exaggerated muscles to be seen by gamers. This sends a visual cue that this character is exceptionally strong. Too much clothing on any character makes it difficult to make the connection between size and strength. The bright headband made for a good contrast on the head and is also something that is not typically worn during professional or underground competitions. While the majority of sprites created for Ken and Ryu were almost identical, in a few games there was actually a difference between the costumes. This was rarely honored by designers and even less noticed by gamers.


In Comics and Manga, characters will be often shown as scrawny, in order to be more astounding once these characters perform a feat that someone much larger would do, IE: Spider-Man lifting a car over his head, Rogue or Emma Frost punching through thick metal doors, Master Roshi's frail appearnce or Saitama's wiry frame powering up to destroy villains with a single punch! This can often be attributed to suspension of disbelief, which is another important aspect of design. I-No would largely fall in line with the type of character who is masking their strength, over say Ryu or Sol's design of being muscularly inclined and technically capable. But in keeping with the comparison, her and Sol's design also run parallel to Ken and Ryu's (more so Ryu and Akuma's) design in the small intricacies, which actually lends more to the level of consistency as well as a means of (sometimes subconsciously) implying certain characters tie together in the main story.

The last thing I want to touch on before we close out this chapter, is the use of Timeless design, a thing I tend to harp on about a lot in this series, but for good reason.
The goal for budding designers is to try and create a Timeless Design. The challenge is that designers have to have faith that a design is not too boring or too bland. A mistake that many designers make is to try to appeal to trends and pop culture. While this satisfies the zeitgeist of the gamer it also betrays the potential for a design to be a long-term success. A designer should rather than ask if their design will hold up over sequels or revisions without feeling dated.
Timeless design isn't limited to just Street Fighter. It's pretty much a design standard of any character designer who wants to create recognizable characters with designs that won't fall into being considered “generic” or “dated” and will stand the test of time. The artist's design took everything that was unique out of I-No's character, and made it into “Generic bland potato-faced looking witch character with a guitar strapped to her back”. This only makes me wonder what The Great Kat would say about this if someone took an image of her and gave it the same treatment.. Well for the most part, she would probably tear it in half and yell at the artist to do it again and make it right, this time!

Of course, Evil can be sexy...

We're pretty close to the end, here. Join us Next time for our final part and our final subject, a woman who will keep you guessing....

- I'll see you next Bossfight!

Link every zig for great reference!!
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How to Design a Street Fighter Character pt 2
How to Design a Street Fighter Character pt 3
Happy Halloween from The Great Kat 

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