In the Grim Dark Future there is Only (Grumpy Old) White Men

In the books and other kinds of “fluff” there are a number of important women and people with ethnic identity in the Warhammer 40k universe.  However, Games Workshop’s model line for 40k is a distinctly white male affair. There are a handful of companies looking to bridge the gender gap, if not the ethnic one. Unfortunately, though whenever a company attempts to diversify 40k. We get an idea of why GW is in no rush to do this on their own.

I can’t claim to know why Games Workshop has white washed and defeminized the future, but I can venture a few reasonable guesses. Most likely, the real reasons are a combination of these factors and probably more that I couldn’t even guess. The culprits:
Unconscious Bias – It is a creator’s impulse to make his creations in his image. The white males at GW are likely making models that look like they do, or at least like they want to look. It might not ever even cross their mind to sculpt African or Asian features on the models. This can become a bit a self-perpetuating thing. Subconsciously, the creators will probably identify those models more and more as fitting a certain image in their mind. This cycle can be hard to break.

Targeted Marketing – The overwhelming majority of the people who play this game are white males. Considering that a fantasy element is important to any tabletop miniature game, it seems logical to make models that reflect your consumers.
Consumer Bias – Perhaps GW is just following the profits. If the few female models they have done aren’t selling well, they could justify not making more because they don’t believe there is a demand for the product. (Of course, they might not sell well because they are fugly.)
More Trouble than It Is Worth – This is what I believe is the strongest factor. GW might just avoid making these models because they believe they will be criticized either way. GW is very conscious of their image, if they believe that making a diverse range of models will have negative repercussions, then they may choose not to do so.

Why is it tricky? Well, many people have very specific ideas about what they want in a miniature. Particularly with female miniatures, people can be very vocal about what they believe is realistic, what is objectification, and what is grimdark. These groups of people want very different styles of female miniatures, or even none at all. All the female minatures that I’ve seen have received some criticism.  Let me classify the general complaints I have heard:

There are more members than you might expect

The He-man Woman Haters – Spanky and Alfalfa have nothing on these gamers. They don’t believe women should be doing anything but making babies. Maybe, just maybe, one could be pilot or some kind of tech. There is no way though, that they think that over 38,000 years in the future a woman will be on the battlefield. They’ll all be knitting scarves for the menfolk or something. This faction will be angry with GW for selling out and letting little plastic women into their little plastic man club.

You may take our lives, but you will never take our modesty!

The Prudes – The primary concern for these people is that the chastity of the little plastic models stays intact. Women who are not properly covered up cannot be taken seriously or will tempt the fragile minds playing the game into treating real women poorly. To be fair, there is a point where things can go a little too far into cheesecake land. It is a fine line between making an identifiably female 28mm miniature and sexualizing the plastic. This group believes the risk of a sexy 28mm miniature is too great to go near that line.

The “If the enemy finds out you’re a woman, we’re screwed” mentality.

The Realists – This is really a subset of the first two groups. These people are quick to point out that today’s baggy uniforms and massive body armor quickly cover up the female form. Therefore to represent women 38,000 years in the future, you just need some female heads. Hell, they should keep their helmets on, so really you can just say that the models are female and call it a day. Something lost on these people is that modern militaries tend to be run by the He-Man Woman Haters, who really don’t want women identifiable in today’s military anyway. Partially because it ruins the aesthetic and partially because femininity is synonymous in their minds with weakness.

You can never have too many skullls in the 41st century

The Grimdark Bouncers – The complaint of this group is that a model is not grimdark enough. If you aren’t Grimdark you’ve got no place in their game. Subjective in the extreme, this line of thinking seeks to keep out the models that seem too pretty for the game. I tend to think of these people as realists, prudes, or woman haters in denial.

Not quite feminine enough for my taste

That’s a Man, Baby! – This group, which is where I fall, wants the model to be identifiably female.  Perhaps even at the cost of some realism or objectification.  Otherwise, what is the point?  I do realize that boob armor is not practical, but it does help me to tell that they are female.  Give me at least some sense of feminine curves please.  No, I don’t want to “pretend” that Cadian is a woman.

GW obviously has nothing against body shaped armor

Bringing Sexy Back (in plastic anyway) -There is also the faction that wants sexy plastic miniatures.  This is a fantasy after all, and Games Workshop has set a precedent for inappropriate (beefcake Catachans) military attire.  They have also shown they are OK with making their armor a little overly anatomical.  Personally, I feel my friends and family find the hobby creepy enough without adding scantilly clad “sexy” soldiers to the mix.

Let’s take a look at the classics, shall we. Here are some of GW’s female 40k models (all these pictures are from the Games Workshop site):

The Newcomers:
Dreamforge’s upcoming Panzerjaegers

Raging Heroes Toughest Girls of the Galaxy

Raging Heroes New Kickstarter


Just the heads from Statuesque Miniatures

None of these models are going to please everybody. A few might not please anybody, but overall I favor the Raging Heroes Troops (the special charaters are a lot further down the cheesecake scale). There is some exageration of sexual characteristics, such as the ridiculous high heels or the boob shaped body armor. I’m willing to give these a pass because they help to make the models identifiably female.

Games Workshop has some desicions to make here.  They aren’t going to please everybody, and whomever they don’t satisfy will object loudly.  There is even the posiblity that the non-gamer media will get sucked in and make a fuss, as happened with Kingdom Death.  The Toughest Girls of the Galaxy raked in almost $700,000, and the current Raging Heroes kickstarter will probably come close to a million before it’s over.  That’s a serious pile of money that Games Workshop has left on the table.  I can only assume that they have a plan.  Perhaps they will get around to making some ethnic options as well.  Until then, the far future will largely stay the provence of  the white male.


Pretty sure that you can tell that they are women

With body scan technology and 3D printing, the best uniform for the physically active soldier of the future will likely be some kind of skintight ballistic fabric similar in design to what winter athletes wear, but let’s not let something like practicality ruin the argument about what the soldiers of the future would really look like.


Reviews for Winter 2015

Here are the my thoughts on Shirobako, Durarara!x2, KanColle and Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano):

ShirobakoShirobako was good, not great, but solid.  The little doll and bear were unnecessary, and a bit of a crutch.  The biggest issue I had with the show though, is that I feel like it could have reached higher.  The problem with a really good slice of life show is that if you’ve spent the a lot of effort on the characters, they are going to outshine the plot.  Shirobako avoids falling into this trap by being educational, but I feel that the setting and characters could have handled more drama pretty effortlessly.  Down the stretch, I was as interested in what was going on in Aerial Girls Squad as I was what was going on in the animation studio.  Still, despite (or perhaps because of) playing things a bit safe, the show was consistently good from start to finish.  While not an anime I would recommend to everyone, I think that the educational elements of the show make it a must watch for anyone who consumes a lot of anime and manga.  Shirobako does a great job of showing the pitfalls that cause bad anime or at least shows how a number of flaws, from bad frames of animation to airing delays happen.

8 out of 10

Durarara!x2 – Watching the second season of a show you like is a bit of a trap, particularly with the kind of juggling act style that Durarara! uses.  I kept waiting for everything to come together, and when something happened that I wasn’t that fond of, I excused it with the thought that the show would iron it all out in the end.  That, I’m sad to say, is not what happened.  It wasn’t really until the last couple of episodes that I realized how disappointed I’ve been with this season.  It just didn’t click.  Perhaps the “I bet you didn’t see that coming” style doesn’t work as easily on the second go around.  It might be like watching a comedian that relies heavily on shock factor.  It just isn’t as funny the second time around.  The Orihara sisters antics and Heiwajima’s bizarre romance weren’t bad, but the mafia/yakuza story and the return of the street gangs were very skipable.  Really, the only interesting thing in the second half of the season was Mikado’s development.  Whether this is a direction issue or problems with the original LN, I don’t know.  The second half of the season just felt flat to me.

6 out of 10

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Saekano)Saekano is like that slacker, that barely pays attention and doesn’t really care, but then suddenly makes a real effort and does an amazing job.  The first couple of episodes were almost painfully slow, and to be honest a bit boring.  This may be because I hadn’t warmed up to the subtleties yet, but the show didn’t even attempt to do what any really successful show needs to do.  It didn’t set the hook.  There is little in the show’s early episodes to indicate how good Saekano is going to be later. Sadly, I think a lot of people were turned of by the fan service in the hot springs episode or simply found the first couple of real episodes boring (because they were).  Once the show hit it’s stride though, it proved to be quite good.  If not for some pacing issues, I’d say really good.  Saekano manages to pull off being the harem show for people who don’t like harems and take aim at the harem connoisseur.  There are plenty of tropes around, but they actually get explained.  Great effort is made to make each character more than just a cardboard cutout.  Even the fan service is good, in that it is actually sexy, when it shows up.  There a plenty of elevator pans and lingering gazes, but no anti-gravity boobs or panty shots.  However, a huge issue with the show is that is in no way complete.  There’s been a serious gamble made here that a second season will be made.  Without it, we really just have the introduction.  It really makes me wonder why they spent the first couple of episodes messing around.  Sadly, until we get a proper finish, I can’t really recommend the show, even though it was the most enjoyable to watch most weeks of the season.

6 out of 10 

KanColle – Disclaimer: I skipped the Curry Cookoff episode                                           I got sucked back in to Kancolle because I’m a history buff and there were enough WW2 parallels to get me interested.  How exactly was the show going to handle the Japanese Navy’s crushing defeat at Midway Island.  It’s hard for me to talk too much about those last couple of episodes without major spoilers, but it was not a particularly satisfying ending.  The show in general wasn’t particularly satisfying either.  The cutesy stories never really synced with the war as a backdrop.  The combat sequences were pretty, but with just a couple of exceptions, never really had a real suspense to them.  There was just enough history brought out to scratch that particular itch, but not enough character or action to elevate the show past it’s pretty animation.  I’ll give my score first, and then I’ll talk about the elephant in the room.

4 out of 10

Something that came disturb me as the show went on, was the US fleet being portrayed as monsters.  That’s something I was willing to give the show a pass on at first, but as the historical parallels became clear, it became harder to justify.  An anti-US bias  or revisionist history are not anything new, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it done so blatantly in an anime.  If this had been a German film paralleling WW2 in a similar way, people would have lost their minds.  I’ve always been one to stand up for Japan when people start bashing them about the war.  A very small percentage of the people represented at Yasukuni Shrine are considered war criminals, about 0.04%, and the US targeted and killed almost half a million Japanese non-combatants by the end of the war (some estimates are higher).  The question remains in the back of my mind though.  What would a Japanese victory in WW2 mean to the people of East Asia?  It certainly would not have been good for the civilians in Korea, China, or anywhere in Southeast Asia who suffered greatly at the hands of the Japanese military. More than the cutesifying of combat in the anime, the nationalistic overtones are disturbing.  At a time where many here in the US are hoping for Japan to take a larger role in the security of themselves and their neighbors, the show causes me some concern.  It is important that Japan takes an increased military role gracefully and not with a nationalistic bent.  Japanese atrocities are still very much in the minds of their neighbors.

As a side note, the actual Battle of Midway is a fascinating subject that is well worth reading up on. The battle had a massive impact on the outcome of WW2, and is a fascinating example of how small factors, decisions, and luck can determine the fates of nations.

Still here!


So, between a week-long outbreak of hives, unseasonably warm weather, a lackluster season of anime, and a bit of burnout from the general negativity of the internet, I haven’t taken the time to make a decent post.  In fact, I am also behind on my anime viewing and woefully behind schedule on my attempts to make at least on of my 40K factions tournament ready.

The hives are mostly gone now, normal March weather has returned to Minnesota complete with snow, I am trying to wrap up the shows I’m watching, and I am fighting back against the eternal struggle with both my “get off my lawn” mentality and the preponderance of inane unsupported opinion wafting around the internet at any given time.

I’ve been reminded why I am not a true geek over the last month or so.  I grew up too poor, and in too dangerous a neighborhood, to understand people whose entire world is built around anime, comic books, and collectible card games.  Add in a glimpse of the life and death that the undeveloped world faces everyday, sprinkle it all with some PTSD and difficulty adjusting to civilian life and you have a guy who gets really, really angry sometimes.  Leaving aside my personal issues with most of the developed world’s lack of perspective, the couple of legitimate complaints I have about the anime community I feel are still valid.  However, I realize that continuing to berate people for being themselves will just make us all unhappy.

(That being said, please, for the love of god and all that is holy, please stop using  generic as a negative descriptor.  It’s a lazy adjective, as it doesn’t actually describe anything except as being what it is.

The term generic in a nutshell

If it’s boring, then say it’s boring.  If there is something wrong with it then say what it is.  Saying that it’s  a representative of it’s genre and saying that is why it is bad just tells me that you didn’t like the type of show that it was and makes me wonder if you were biased against it from the beginning.)

So, having decided not to let the bastards, or the weather, get me down, I have resolved to push on.  Some  of my favorite generic harem protagonists are returning or making the jump from  manga to anime, and I look forward to discussing my favorite haremshit from the upcoming season.

Life is good.  Anime has come a long way from buying $30 VHS tapes ($45 dollars in today’s money) to get one or maybe two episodes of a show you had to buy to watch.  If the price of that is a lot of candy ass whining on the internet, so be it.



Zen and the Art of (Anime) Consumption

“If you hate everything and feel the need to tell everyone about it, please identify yourself so I can avoid you.”

One of the best things about being a guy who is almost 40, playing with little plastic army men, and watching anime is that I am not burdened by a need to differentiate myself from everyone else.  One of the worst things about being that old guy is that anime fandom is filled with people who are.  It’s tiresome to watch so many people struggling to be different in the same way.

Anime fandom skews heavily toward late teens and early twenty somethings.  These are people who are trying to find or form an identity.  It’s natural  that identity to be formed around what makes you different.  Please though, for your own happiness as well as the happiness of others, build that identity around what you like and not what you don’t like.  Because no matter how clever or witty you think you are, people will tire of your endless negativity.


The Danger in Basing Your Identity on Your Interests

Interests change, particularly in your teens and early twenties, and if/when they do you will be left a bitter fan of a type of media you don’t really like anymore, but can’t abandon because it is part of your identity.  You might even start disliking the people who do still enjoy it.  Anime forums and blogs are full of these terribly unhappy people, who feel compelled to inflict their unhappiness with anime on anyone who wanders by.  If you spend more time talking about what you don’t like about anime then you spend talking about what you do like, it is probably time to take a break.  If you denigrate others for what they watch it is probably time to shut up.


 Keeping it Real

Watching anime was never an intellectual pursuit, whatever that means.  It is and always was a form of entertainment.  It’s purpose is to entertain.  Sometimes it entertains by repackaging All Quiet on the Western Front as a magical girls show and sometimes it entertains us by engaging our fantasies of being a bad ass pirate, a harem king (or Queen), or a mecha pilot.  As long as it entertains, it has served it’s purpose.  Like a street entertainer, an anime is hoping to entertain you enough that you will spend some money on it, whether it’s on a Nendroid, a tankobon, or a Blu Ray, as you pass by.  Occasionally, like any form of media, there will be a show that really strikes a chord with you.  One that you feel elevated itself past mere entertainment.  Expecting to find a show like that every season or even every year is a surefire way to make yourself miserable.  Approach a show hoping to be entertained and talk about the ones that do entertain you.  That will make you and everyone around you happier.

Everyone’s a Critic

I understand the desire to voice your opinion, I am writing on a blog after all.  Something to consider though, is that perhaps an opinion should be based on some experience before it is voiced.  You might be positive that Steins;Gate is “haremshit” after reading a blurb about the show being based on a VN, but perhaps that opinion shouldn’t be exposed until you have actually watched the show.  Your opinion is your own and nobody can take that away from you, but to the rest of the world you might look a like a condescending asshat when you bash a show you’ve never seen or dropped after one episode. (not that a true discriminating otaku cares what he looks like to the rest of the world, amiright?) If you walked up to that guy playing his guitar on the subway platform and told him how much he sucked before he even started playing, the people walking by might, justifiably, think that you have a screw loose.

All the Negativity that’s in this Fandom Sucks

I’ll admit that I’m a bit disappointed in the blogs and forums I have found, and I appreciate the irony in my going on my blog and complaining on the internet about all the people on the internet complaining about anime.  This has building for a while and I needed to let it out.  Perhaps it will make someone more self aware and they will make be happier.  Perhaps it will get someone who can’t say anything nice not to say anything at all. Perhaps not, but I have hope.

Parting thought:

I work in an office that is obsessed with baseball.  Seriously, something like 50% of all non-work related conversations I hear are about baseball.  I don’t like baseball.  Funny thing is, I don’t tell every person I hear talking about baseball that I don’t like it and why.  That kind of behavior would be considered insane.  It doesn’t become less insane if it as about the type of anime you don’t like and it’s on your blog or on a forum.  It’s still the same behavior and it still makes me think that perhaps you are a bit unbalanced.





A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Making this List

NOTE: I had half written this post when I decided to go in a different direction.  In the odd chance that someone might find my reasonings helpful, I have not changed what I had already written.

Decisions, Decisions:

I’m going with a Command Squad and a Tank Commander as my IG HQs (probably Pask), with a slotless Priest thrown in. My HQ choices from Dark Angels is a Techmarine w/ Servo Harness and Power Field Generator and Azrael. In order to take 2 IG HQs, I have to give up on Azrael’s Warlord Trait and the ability to take Deathwing and Ravenwing as troops. This is a difficult decision that I may change later. Let’s take a look at why this is a tough call.

On the DA side:

Having Azrael as my warlord gives me the option of taking whichever Dark Angels warlord trait I want. The first three aren’t very interesting, but Furious Charge on a blob of 40 Guardsmen is definitely something to consider.  Reserve manipulation shenanigans are always good for the Vendettas and Feel No Pain on a guard blob is also awesome.  Ravenwing troop choices would also be a great way to add that element of mobility that the guard lacks.

On the AM/IG side:

Only taking one HQ choice means that I lose either the ability to split fire my tanks or I lose Senior Officer orders.  It also means that I have to choose between tanks or artillery if I move those tanks to the Heavy Support slot.  It’s great that guard can cram so much into those slots, but doing that really messes up your ability to use all that fire power effectively.  If I take 3 high powered tanks, I have to shoot them all at one target.  In many cases that will be a waste of firepower.  The Command Squadron’s split fire order allows you to bring all your firepower to bear when you really need to hit something hard, like a Knight, or split it when you have multiple targets.  The loss of the Senior Officer Orders is an even larger disadvantage.  Bring it Down! (Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter) and  Fire on My Target! (Ignores Cover) are frankly just too good to give up.

Let Me Pask You a Question:

Another question that comes up is whether or not to use Pask.  Knight Commander Pask is a 40 point upgrade over the vanilla Tank Commander.  What does that give you?  It gives you Preffered Enemy for the squadron against the codex of your choice (if you want it), de facto Tank Hunter, and a buff to whatever tank you place him in.  Is it worth 40 points?  I think so.  The best place to put Pask is probably in a Punisher, which gets Rending for it’s 20 shots.  However, I think I am going to put him in an Executioner instead.  5 Tank Hunting Strength 7 blasts are going to be trouble for medium vehicles and 5 AP2 blasts that re-roll to wound against T5 and lower is also pretty awesome.  The biggest thing swing thing towards the Executioner over the Punisher is the extra foot of range.  For the rest of the squadron, I am thinking Eradicators with Plasma Sponsons.  So if I decide not to split fire, I will drop 2 Str 6 AP 4 Ignores Cover Large Blasts and 9 Str7 AP2 small blasts on a target of my choice.  I am paying a lot for this privilege, but it’s a impressive amount of firepower that also gives me a way to keep my other HQ out of sight.

Stone Cold Aquilla:

Another question that came up was whether or not to use Kurov’s Aquilla.  At first glance I thought it was a good idea.  A Prefered Enemy bubble sounds pretty good, even if it is a bit expensive.  Since the tanks can get Prefered Enemy by making Pask the warlord, this becomes a question of how effective Prefered Enemy is on the average guardsman.  The thing is, when you do the math, getting to re-roll hits and wounds for Ballistic Skill 3, Strength 3 shots just isn’t that great.  Your chance to hit goes up by about 8% and your chance to wound goes up about the same against T3, and even less against T4.  Even dodging Get’s Hot is mitigated by the 4++ save, so I decided to leave KA out of the list for now.

A Sudden Change in Direction:

I mentioned in my last article that cheap and easy Prescience is gone.  Twin Linking your weapons by means of Psychic Powers is a lot more difficult now.  The rest of Divination is still pretty good though.  Unfortunately, 50 points for a rather squishy level 1 Psyker isn’t so great.  If only there was a way to add a few 65 point, Fearless, Power Armor Wearing, Leadership 10 Psykers without haveing to pay a troop tax.

Enter the Conclave:

I’ve decided to use the Dark Angesl Conclave of Librarians Formation.  The Formation gives you Ezekiel and two Dark Angels Libbys kitted out however you wish.  If they are within 12″ of each other, the Psykers can cast Mind Worm at 24″ and can also share powers under the condition that only one Psyker can cast that phase.  That’s not all, if they share powers, successful warp charges are gained on a 3+.   That’s a significant increase in the chance of successes.  Add in the 4++ from the Power Field Generators and I’m sold.


So far the list looks like this:

Pask in an Executioner (Warlord)
2x Eradicators

Company Command Squad

Ministorum Priest

Infantry Platoon with 4 squads

Veteran Squad


2x Wyverns (there was some money in my cushions after all)


2x Dark Angels Librarians (Level 2 w/ PFGs)

The combination of Orders and Divination should give this list tremendous firepower.  The only thing that worries me are Flyrants, but if neccessary I can roll all my guys on Telepathy and try to Psychic Shriek them to death.