UPDATED: Artist Responds to Azur Lane Game Controversy Linking Feminism to 'Antisocial Groups'

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Artist Nardack's art removed from Korean version after refusing to denounce feminism

UPDATE: The English version of Nardack's blog post states that Azur Lane staff in Korea demanded her to tweet, "I have no relation to Megalia whatsoever, and I do not support Feminism." However, the Japanese version of the blog post states that the staff asked her to tweet, "I have no relation to antisocial groups, and I do not support feminism," as stated in the article below.

Nowhere in the Japanese version of the blog post does Nardack name the feminist organization Megalia, and the English version of the blog post only names it in the quoted text above. All other references list "antisocial organizations." Nardack did not confirm whether she has any affiliation to Megalia or other feminist organizations. Nardack said in the blog posts, "Since I followed or liked tweets from illustrators who support or agree with feminism, the protesters accused me of involvement with an anti-social organization."

ANN staff based the article above on the Japanese version of the blog post, which does not mention Megalia. References to the organization in the English version were overlooked due to lack of familiarity with the group.

ANN staff were unable to locate the exact tweet or tweets Nardack liked and could not confirm that they were directly related to Megalia.

The original article continues below.

Korean artist Nardack recently became the center of a controversy related to feminism and the Chinese smartphone game Azur Lane. She revealed the details of the situation with X.D. Global, the game's publisher in South Korea, in a blog post on Sunday.

Nardack explained that X.D. Global commissioned her to provide an illustration for the game, which debuted on the login screen in the Korean version of the game on April 27. After the illustration debuted, some Korean net users began to protest the game's use of the illustration online, claiming that Nardack sympathizes with an "antisocial organization."

Another creator had posted on social media in support of feminism, and Nardack then "liked" that creator's Twitter post. According to Nardack, the net users opposed to her illustration appearing in the smartphone game saw this action as evidence that Nardack is part of an "antisocial organization." These online commenters appear to believe that feminism is an "antisocial idea," and they object to Nardack's perceived approval of such a concept.

In light of the controversy, X.D. Global contacted Nardack to ask if she is truly connected to an "antisocial organization," and she denied that claim. Staff then asked Nardack to post "I have no relation to antisocial groups, and I do not support feminism" on social media.

Nardack refused to comply with the request, and X.D. Global immediately removed her illustration from the game. The people protesting Nardack's involvement with the game saw the company's removal of the illustration as confirmation that Nardack is a member of an "antisocial group," and they then continued to defame her online.

X.D. Global contacted Nardack again to say they would add the illustration in question back into the game if Nardack posted on social media as previously requested. Nardack was shocked at the staff members' words and added disbelief that "this is really something possible in the 21st century."

Nardack denounced X.D. Global's actions and requested an apology for treating her as if she were a member of an "antisocial group." She also criticized X.D. Global for its apparent agreement with the concept that "feminism is antisocial," and affirmed her right to disagree with that opinion. Nardack further clarified, saying, "I do not sympathize with any kind of antisocial group or idea, and I strongly oppose forced and baseless thought censorship toward creators." Nardack ended the blog post by apologizing to people concerned about the incident and thanking supporters.

Some Japanese Twitter users have posted responses in support of Nardack and feminism. One user referenced the Gamergate controversy but noted that industry members had conversely condemned the attacks involved in that controversy.

The official Japanese YouTube channel for Azur Lane posted a commercial with animated footage on Thursday. In the game for iOS and Android devices, players collect World War II ships from various countries and use fleets of six ships to battle enemies.

Shanghai Manjuu and Xiamen Yongshi developed the game, and bilibili released it in China in May 2017. Shanghai Yostar released it in Japan September 2017. The game has become popular in Japan, and a collaboration with the Japanese Hyperdimension Neptunia game ran in December. X.D. Global released the game in South Korea in February 2018.

[Via Yaraon!]

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