Friday, November 27, 2015

30 Day Reboot Challenge, Day 26: Change in Design

When ABC cancelled Reboot after its second season and the show went to Canada, things started looking a little different. Not only was the show more willing to go a bit darker thematically - having Bob thrown out of Mainframe into the web was obviously a turning point - the character designs
were allowed to be a bit more nuanced (aka adultified), and the graphics for the backgrounds and scenery were beautifully rendered, like I said back on Day 24..

Now, sadly, a lot of that advancement was dedicated to making sure the women were more sexualized. For example, here is Dot Matrix during Season One:
And here she is again in Season Three:
Via Reboot Wiki
Okay, so here's a side-by-side comparison of AndrAIa, from Seasons Two and Three:
Via Justin McElroy
Notice a difference? Now, I love boobs as much as the next bisexual, but dammit, Mainframe Entertainment. Dot's new and improved non-uniboob breasts were an okay upgrade because it made her look more realistic (for a green-skinned computer person, I suppose) and her sexuality was never really an issue in her portrayal. She continued to be written as a brilliant leader, and her clothes were not really ever focused on her body. But AndrAIa? I really hate the translation of her youthful outfit for so many reasons. One, where in the hell did that seashell go? Two, this is so much like the skimpy armor for women. Three, her beauty and lack of clothing always brought unwanted attention from male suitors other than Matrix, which just drove the latter crazy and created that stupid tension between him, AndrAIa, as well as the dudes who were all, "Look at that baaaaabe." AndrAIa usually took it in stride, even getting dangerously close to allowing sexual harassment from guys like Ray Tracer, and her clothing never kept her from being truly badass. But my point still stands: she didn't have to be dressed like a slutty sea princess.

That being said, though, I do feel that the show greatly improved with its technological advancements. The worlds were gorgeous, and all of the characters were given that much more visual depth, which just added to the storytelling that was also top notch.  I really did feel completely immersed in the world of Reboot, and the graphics played a huge part in that. So kind of like how Anita Sarkeesian says in her Feminist Frequency videos about women and video games, I feel it's appropriate to criticise elements of the show while being able to appreciate the overall enjoyment of it.

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