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March 31, 2014

Is a Nazi-Themed Card Game With Anime Girls Too Much?

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Written by: Rodney Brown
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A sea of pitchforks is just beginning to form over a Kickstarter campaign to bring an out of print card game from Japan to the U.S. — one that features you playing as Nazi Germany storming the Soviet Union, but with all the avatars being cute anime girls in Nazi-like uniforms.

Here is the description of the game on the site, where it seems you can still buy the Japanese version:

Barbarossa is set in a fictional Second World War setting, where cute German military girls rush against Moscow to defeat the evil magician Stalin.

Sure, there is plenty of stupidity to pass around here. There is the fact that one of the characters is called L’il Fuhrer (luckily for the fanboys she doesn’t have a mustache). And as an article on points out, the American company with the Kickstarter campaign to translate and convert the game to U.S. play raised the $10,000 it was looking for in three hours. Not days, hours. On March 31 it is now 13 days in and has reached all of its stretch goals by raising more than $63,000.

Two of those stretch goals will replace images on certain cards with cosplay photographs of girls in the typical anime-esque Nazi uniforms. Brilliant marketing or further encroachment into our beloved cosplay world of something evil?

I mean, this has to be evil, right? After all, who would think to culturally appropriate a war in another region, fill it with hypersexualized girl warriors and make entertainment out of it? Oh, wait I just described the manga and anime Ikki Tousen.

Ikki Tousen features hyper-sexualized, large-breasted fighting women and more fan service than a Florida electrician. It takes the very culturally and nationally significant Three Kingdoms period of China and turns it into a series about high school Fight Clubs with lots of violence and nudity.

“But wait!” you cry in horror. “How can you even compare the two?! Do you not realize Hitler was the worst mass murderer in history?” Well, some say that was actually his (or her, I guess) opponent in Barbarossa, Stalin. But both are at the top of the evil ladder, and either of them are just a few rungs up in horror beyond the next monster behind them historically

Maybe that is Pol Pot, maybe Idi Amin — and where on the ladder does the Axis government of Tojo’s Japan sit? Does no one have any idea of the atrocities the Japanese visited upon the Chinese when they invaded prior to World War II?

Where is your righteous indignation over the fact that a country that tortured and killed millions of Chinese turned a turbulent and historically important period in Chinese history into West Side Story with tits?

Maybe it’s just the whole Nazi uniform thing. Well, if that is the case, I offer you Hetalia: Axis Powers. Now before any Hetalia apologists start getting all in a tizzy, let me point out that your webcomic, manga and anime is 100 percent based on World War II (even if it isn’t always set there), just like Barbarossa. Hell, the two sides are even called Axis and Allies and are made up of young men as the avatars of countries like Germany and England. And I know that the uniform for Germany isn’t 100 percent exactly like a real Nazi uniform, but it is close enough that if you were to try to walk through a section of New York full of Holocaust survivors and their descendants, you might not make it out alive.

Granted, it isn’t sexually exploiting young women like Barbarossa does (*cough* and Ikki Tousen), so I guess you Hetalia fans have a leg up there.

My point here is that everything that is offensive is so on a spectrum, and different people have different points along that spectrum past which they will not cross, no matter how entertaining or funny something may be.

Maybe Barbarossa is over that point for you, and maybe Ikki Tousen is. But if you don’t think the same reasons why one is offensive doesn’t put the other as close as a kissing cousin, just on the other side of the breakover point for you, then you are kidding yourself.

Does this mean I am going to play the game? Hell no, and for the same reasons I won’t watch Hetalia — I think it is stupid and offensive. But I also won’t rush out to join that pitchfork mob.

About the Author

Rodney Brown



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One Comment

  1. Jack Harwood

    Im sorry, too much? Too much what? History? If you’re offended by history, and a playful mock of it too, I’ve got bad news for you.

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