Parental Advisory Review – Return to Ravnica

Let me start by saying that I know my standards are not those of everyone. My goal is simply to highlight images with a potential to concern or disturb, and offer some basic evaluation. My guiding questions are “Would I want my teenager to be viewing this in a movie or on TV?” or “Would I let my teenager out of the house dressed like that?” Overall, I think this new set does a decent job with the art, considering you have a guild of homicidal maniacs (Rakdos) and of nature hippies (Selesnya).

The main categories of evaluation are GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, NIGHTMARE HORROR, PROVOCATIVE DRESS, IMPLIED NUDITY, and BLATANT SEXUALITY. I will conclude with an examination of a side issue that is often raised, the question of the inequality in the portrayals of women. I think it’s pretty obvious that a game marketed primarily towards young lonely males is not going to be equal in its treatment of the sexes–how many of these guys really want to stare at a ripped male hotty? But it’s also unfair to simply assert that men are never portrayed provocatively or in some state of undress and women always are. So, I’ll try to highlight this issue a little by noticing these sort of depictions of males and also some of the more positive portrayals of women.


Graphic Violence

Although the scenic background of Return to Ravnica is not very warlike, there are .

Avenging ArrowEssence Backlash

Really not too bad on the violence front, but that arrow is popping right out of his chest and in the other, it’s the guy’s guts that are exploding out of his chest.

Nightmare Horror

This category is about disturbing images that linger in the mind, and sometimes come back to haunt you in your dreams! These are images that aren’t necessarily violent or gory, but might be described by many (note: not necessarily all) as ‘disturbing’, ‘evil’, or ‘horrific’.

Annihilating FireDreadboreLotleth TrollRakdos RagemuttSkull RendPithing Needle

Again, these may not bother you, but I can certainly imagine a young teenager getting freaked out by some of these, especially if they think too much about what’s going on: being utterly consumed by fire, your insides being boiled up, a really freaky devil-dog, suffocating under a gross looking hand, or a dude about to be skewered by a large barbed needle (a lot of people get freaked out by large needles, I assure you). The worst of the lot, in my opinion is the Lotleth Troll–gruesome! (And what exactly is that thing he is chewing on?)

Provocative Dress

One of the problems our society faces, in my view, is the continuing objectification of women. When ‘sexy’ is the main adjective people use to describe a beautiful woman (or even the one used by a woman describing her goal for her dress and makeup), I think you’ll never solve the problem. Is a woman meant to be more than just a set of big boobs? I’d like to think so, but some of these pieces of art would make you wonder:

Keening ApparitionBlustersquallFaerie ImpostorStealer of SecretsSyncopateStab WoundTavern SwindlerThrill-Kill AssassinElectrickeryCentaur's HeraldChorus of MightDruid's DeliveranceHorncaller's ChantKorozda MonitorOak Street InnkeeperSeek the HorizonSlime MoldingWild BeastmasterCall of the ConclaveCounterfluxIzzet StaticasterRites of ReapingTrostani, Selesnya's VoiceVraska the Unseen

I’d be the first to admit that many of these are quite tame. But still, they seem to represent either some horny teenager’s dream of how women should dress, or some woman thinking that her self-esteem rests on garnering looks from the opposite sex. I won’t comment directly on them all:

  • but look at the woman on Blustersquall–it looks like she’s about to burst right out of her shirt!
  • That Stealer of Secrets is all covered, sure, but in examining her stance, what do you think we’re all looking at? I’ll give you two guesses.
  • I’ve figured out the real problem for the woman in Stab Wound: if your armored covered all your vital areas, maybe you wouldn’t be dying to a stab wound! (What was she thinking? – No one ever tries to stab you in the side!?)
  • When I first saw Thrill-Kill Assassin, I though she was using her right hand to cover up her breast. It took some serious study to find her hands, so that must be her dress holding things up, I guess.
  • On Electrickery, that girl must be thinking, “I’ve got my eyes, my boobs, and my shins covered–I’m invincible!”
  • On the Oak Street Keeper, I can actually appreciate that my eyes aren’t drawn to her face but rather a bit lower, because that face is none too pleasant to look at.
  • The woman in Seek the Horizon looks like she just survived a hurricane with some of her clothes intact, either that or she’s just arrived fresh out of the prehistoric age, where clothes are not as easy to come by.
  • Rites of Reaping–imagine some teenage boy picking out her armor: “You’ll need something for your shoulders, your wrists, and your sides, but don’t worry about your chest–just a couple of leather straps ought to do the trick.”

Implied Nudity

A PG-13 game can’t really have full-on nudity, I guess, but you can certainly imply it for dramatic effect.

Rest in PeaceTraitorous InstinctTreasured FindGrowing Ranks

Notes:

  • I fear that if we zoomed in any more on that woman in Rest in Peace, we’ve have to up the rating.
  • All that the girl in Traitorous Instinct seems to be wearing is a couple of conveniently placed ribbons. And a green hat.
  • I suppose a gorgon doesn’t really need clothes, since the snakes on her head can probably just wrap her up if she’s feeling a little shy.
  • I suppose we’re all born naked.

Blatant Sexuality

There’s not a lot here, but consider this image:

Deviant Glee

I fear that too many people can imagine all too well, what her dream actually is. Would you let your teenager read Fifty Shades of Grey?

Men vs. Women

This is the section where we look for questionable portrayals of men and positive portrayals of women. Most of these guys are hardly the ideal of a man that anyone is looking for, but they are ripped! That Dryad Militant, though, I couldn’t even figure out whether it was a man or woman at first, but I think we can all agree that the point is, “Look at my sexy back!”

Gore-House ChainwalkerGolgari CharmHellhole FlailerDryad Militant

And, to balance things out, here are a few fully-clothed women showing off their full potential:

Ethereal ArmorSwift JusticeAsh ZealotGuild FeudHeroes' ReunionHussar Patrol

See, women can be tough, dressed, and beautiful all at the same time.


Now let’s tally up the results for Return to Ravnica (274 cards total in the set):

Graphic Violence: 2
Nightmare Horror: 6
Provocative Dress: 24
Implied Nudity: 4
Blatant Sexuality: 1
Objectified Males: 4
Female Protagonists: 6

This seems to be a better than average than set, but still with its problems. A lot of provocative females, and some even more than that. There is still room for improvement.

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