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The Japanese are more comfortable with the concept of being gay and not being gay at the same time.In this case, it makes sense that, in the end, the game is not telling you what to think about Kanji or even if he is gay." Because outward unorthodox behavior is frowned upon in Japanese society, many people who engage in homosexual activity see it as a world separate from their day-to-day lives."Most American gamers will assume he is gay, especially if they are not aware of Japan's cultural differences and the subtleties of their interactions," says Colette Bennett, Japanese RPG enthusiast and editor at consumer weblog Destructoid.Brenda Brathwaite, game designer, professor, and author of Sex in Video Games has an altogether different perspective: "It would have been amazing if they would have made a concrete statement that he is gay.Shadow Kanji inhabits a steamy bathhouse dungeon inside The Midnight Channel, an alternate dimension inside the TV where the main characters must battle their alter-egos in order to save themselves and their friends.The alter-egos manifest aspects of the main characters' psyches that they are trying to hide from others and deny from themselves.
Many Japanese gay men resist the Western notion of "gay rights" because sexuality is not thought of in terms of what is right or wrong, but rather as play or something people may choose to engage in if they wish."There is an understanding that you can play with fantasies that you might not want to live out in your normal life," Levi says."Americans see things in very black and white -- you're either gay, or you're not.Google for any forums on threads about Kanji and you'll see comments such as: "I really love how brave Atlus was with releasing a game with with stuff like this in North America." and "Kanji. User-created characters aside, one can count on a single hand the number of playable LGBT characters that have entered into the gaming world."From a ratings standpoint, when you're a game designer, you are so incredibly aware of the ramifications of the M rating.