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Capcom's Yoshinori Ono X shidoshi = A conversation about Poison

mollipen

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Oct 7, 2005
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The last time I started a thread on here relating specifically to something I myself had done was in late 2008 in promotion of the Persona 4 cover story I did for Play. I try to very rarely do such things, but I hope the powers that be around here (and all members in general) will excuse my doing it here today.

The reason is that, at Tokyo Game Show 2011, I had the chance to sit down with Capcom's Yoshinori Ono. Instead of asking him the typical stuff about the game he was there pimping —Street Fighter X Tekken—I went in determined to spend the brief time I had with him conversing about only one subject: Poison. With the announcement of her being in SFxT, the war of words over who and what she is has had more fuel added to its fire.

No matter which side of the question you're on—or if you even have a side—I think it's a very important topic that the games industry, and us as gamers, need to deal with more. Video games still have a long way to go in how they present and include people of different races, sexes, and sexual orientations, and Poison is an immensely interesting look at one segment of that conversation.

The question of "should Poison be transgender" or "should Poison be a 'real' woman" certainly is at the heart of the topic (and my interview with Ono), but I think what's more important is that we're having those conversations period. With Poison's announcement as part of the cast, I've seen a lot of the "so is she a dude or a chick?" kind of stuff brought up, but very little real discussion on the situation (in terms of from gaming media). So, that's why I wanted to do this interview with him, even if I didn't get nearly the time or question depth I would have liked to have.

It really meant a lot to me to get the chance to do this interview, and no matter which side of the fence you sit on, I hope that it'll at least make people consider the conversation instead of just writing off Poison as a "trap", or simply saying that it was a mistake Capcom made 20 years ago without looking at the good that can now come from that potentially misguided decision. So, for that reason, I hope you can all excuse this moment of shameless promotion.

EGM Interview: Yoshinori Ono
 

Karsticles

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Oct 25, 2010
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I had to laugh at Ono saying this:
As you say, it’s kind of a pickle we’ve gotten ourselves into on accident, so it’s a very complicated issue.
Thanks for posting this, it was a good read. But the SFxT site strongly hints at Poison being trans, so his hands-off approach is puzzling.
 

Hours Left

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Jun 28, 2006
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Great interview shidoshi, I'm glad Capcom is at least trying to broach the subject with some care, though I do wish they were more definite about it.

I love that you threw in the question about her bangs too.
 
Jul 7, 2010
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I always like when interviews venture beyond the typical "how awesome/shitty is your game" construct, but I also found it fascinating irrespective of that. As you point out, there are so few transgender characters out there, and the fact that Ono and Capcom are taking your questions seriously as well as taking great care in not stupidly or offensively presenting the character is really cool. It's also particularly amazing when you take the RE5 racism controversy into account. Good for them.

Beyond Poison, I'm having trouble thinking of any other transgender character that aren't Birdo or Yoshi; their relationship just confuses the shit out of me. However, they're cartoon dinosaurs, so that's not of particular importance. Anyway, great interview.
 

Ferrio

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
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Then, before I leave, since everybody is always telling you on Twitter or wherever else what they want from you and Capcom… I want Capcom vs. SNK 3.

Ahhhh. [laughs] I wasn’t necessarily sold on that idea until I played The King of Fighters XIII. I’m actually really impressed with it, and think they did a great job with it. So, you know, I’m open to the idea, at least more than I was before.
:D :D :D
 
Sep 2, 2011
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Never seen the big deal either way. Why are people looking at video game characters for people to look up to? Dee Jay doesn't represent me even if he is black man of carribean heritage. To me he is just a play style, with a backstory just to justify his character design. that's how I view him poison and anyone else anyway.

If you like a character because of their backstory then that's fine, but to have a favourite character just because they have similar interests, look the same, or have the same sexual identity seems a bit sad in my opinion. There are plenty of real life people (and human actors) to look up to.

The whole thing is much ado about nothing for me.
 

enzo_gt

tagged by Blackace
Jun 7, 2009
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Great read, thanks for posting. Echoing the comments about GLAAD.

Capcom really does strike me as a company that cares a lot about character design though, much more their competitors IMO, so I'm not surprise they're handling their properties carefully.
 

KingJ2002

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Ummm... yea great interview i like poison as a rep for the transgender community... makes her completely unique to the series

but...

Q: Then, before I leave, since everybody is always telling you on Twitter or wherever else what they want from you and Capcom… I want Capcom vs. SNK 3.

A: Ahhhh. [laughs] I wasn’t necessarily sold on that idea until I played The King of Fighters XIII. I’m actually really impressed with it, and think they did a great job with it. So, you know, I’m open to the idea, at least more than I was before.

OMFG.
 

WinFonda

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Well, as you said, it’s a character that has been around for a while, and initially—as you probably know—the initial intent for Final Fight was that she was just a regular woman.
Well, honestly, isn't that kind of important? Original intent?
 

Gaspode_T

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Jan 18, 2011
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Poison was the character I picked when playing SF vs TK at TGS, did some major ownage with her too (teamed with Julia).
 

SaintZ

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spindashing said:
I was also surprised to see Capcom working with GLAAD for that. Nice interview.
My thoughts exactly, I'm glad Capcom is doing this. Great interview, Poison is such an interesting character and so fierce <3
 

kunonabi

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Dec 2, 2010
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so a bunch of boring win quotes then? I remember the win quotes with poison in the SVC card game for the DS were incredibly funny and racy. Oh well.
 

Mr Jared

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Sep 19, 2005
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Great interview, extremely weak on Capcom's part to not just give a hard stance on whether she's a "real" woman or transgendered. It says to me two things.. that they're still missing the point of the debate and that they don't want to risk pissing off their predominantly straight, male audience.

You got to crack a few knuckle-draggers to make an omelete.
 

Platy

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Interesting read, even if trollno keeps kinda dodging everything.

Can someone post a screen with the win quotes refering to her as mentioned on the interview ?
 

Angelcurio

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Jul 18, 2006
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Excellent interview Shidoshi. And thanks a lot for the Capcom vs SNK 3 mention. I think a third game with either the Kof XIII graphics or the SFIV engine would be amazing.
 

Fersis

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Then, before I leave, since everybody is always telling you on Twitter or wherever else what they want from you and Capcom… I want Capcom vs. SNK 3.

Ono San: Ahhhh. [laughs] I wasn’t necessarily sold on that idea until I played The King of Fighters XIII. I’m actually really impressed with it, and think they did a great job with it. So, you know, I’m open to the idea, at least more than I was before.
DAMN ONO SAN! DAMN!
 

mollipen

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WinFonda said:
Well, honestly, isn't that kind of important? Original intent?
In the early stages of development on Tomb Raider, Lara was originally a man.

If we were talking about a major character here, maybe I could understand more of the "original intent" argument. But not only was Poison not a major character, but - according to most accounts - the decision was made to have her be trans before Final Fight hit outside of Japan. Thus, Westerners never knew her when the character was still considered to not be that.

And then even if we get beyond all of that, she was a woman for a short time, and has been trans for 20+ years. As I said in the opener to the interview, I think what's far more important is what she can stand for now, not what she might have been in the beginning.

As well, for those who are demanding that Poison not be trans because that's not what she was initially, I expect you to also be demanding that Capcom turn Birdie white again.



ThoughtsOfSpeaking said:
Never seen the big deal either way. Why are people looking at video game characters for people to look up to? Dee Jay doesn't represent me even if he is black man of carribean heritage. To me he is just a play style, with a backstory just to justify his character design. that's how I view him poison and anyone else anyway.
It's about representation. Even if you don't care about Dee Jay as a specific connection to who you are as a person, there are still black characters out there for you to see and connect with. Maybe that's not important for you, but it is for others. What if there were no female characters period in video games? How would female gamers feel being told that they don't deserve at least some level of representation in gaming?
 

Novid

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Oct 7, 2006
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Ono is now the face Capcom with Infune's departure.

This is a very good interview. Not too sure how they want to Handle her in the future. Gladd can be your best friend or your very worst enemy.

All i can say with the KOF rumors, Ono and the Dojin boys are in the money.
 

Fersis

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ShockingAlberto said:
I thought that was just a very bad joke?
SKill was against it.

BTW great interview shidoshi
 
Apr 21, 2010
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ZealousD said:
Oh come on. Ono already put this issue to bed.

HE EVEN DID IT IN A PREVIOUS EGM.

http://kotaku.com/333130/final-fights-poison-the-final-word-on-gender

"In North America, Poison is officially a post-op transsexual."

"But in Japan, she simply tucks her business away in order to look like a girl."
Pretty sure Capcom USA marketing wanted him to retract that statement, and change his tune, so that most 17 year olds will even SELECT Poison when SFxT comes out.
 

mollipen

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kunonabi said:
so a bunch of boring win quotes then? I remember the win quotes with poison in the SVC card game for the DS were incredibly funny and racy. Oh well.
I'd have no problem with racy/funny, but the quotes shown from Ryu and Chun-li only served to play the "OMG you're a fake woman" angle.


ShockingAlberto said:
I thought that was just a very bad joke?
I did an interview with Seth Killian recently, and asked him about that. His take was that he really believed (or at least told me that he did) that it was a misunderstanding lost in translations. Like, maybe Ono way saying "we should put up a poll as to what you think Poison is", and that got changed into "we should put up a poll where fans decide what she is".
 

Rain_ng

Banned
Oct 28, 2010
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Great Interview thanks for sharing!

Shame that Capcom didn't answer the "Real Woman/TG" question, I guess they don't want to offend the straight, horny 16-25 Demographic.

Capcom working with GLAAD was super surprising, but very welcome!

and honestly guys? I pray we get a CVS3 but I think its just Ono Trolling again.
 

mollipen

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ZealousD said:
Oh come on. Ono already put this issue to bed.

HE EVEN DID IT IN A PREVIOUS EGM.
Yeah, this point was kind of frustrating for me. He's said before that she's trans, and lately (no doubt coinciding with her inclusion in SFxT) they've kind of backed away from stating that as fact. I tried to push him a little on that, but obviously I only had so much time for the interview and didn't want to spend it all on the current lack of commitment to an answer one way or another.

It depresses me that Capcom doesn't feel the confidence to stand firm on the issue, but I guess part of me can't really blame them.
 

Novid

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Rain_ng said:
Great Interview thanks for sharing!

Shame that Capcom didn't answer the "Real Woman/TG" question, I guess they don't want to offend the straight, horny 16-25 Demographic.

Capcom working with GLAAD was super surprising, but very welcome!

and honestly guys? I pray we get a CVS3 but I think its just Ono Trolling again.
i wouldnt really call the 16 25 year olds horny. Trying to get any type of derreare? Maybe? Horny? No. Bloodlustful, hell yes.
 

Wiseblade

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Really nice interview. But for the people getting hype about the possibility of Capcom vs SNK3...

DON'T BELIEVE HIS LIES
 
Apr 21, 2010
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ZoddGutts said:
Always thought Poison was just a futanari. A girl with a dick something like in Bible Black. Not really a transgender.
I totally have 100% absolutely no clue what you're talking about.

Like, at all.