Retronauts Episode 501: Cho Aniki
You must be THIS SWOLE to listen
People commemorate December 25th annually for some reason or another (I haven't looked into it) but this year, at the very least, I'd like all of us to reflect on the 30th anniversary of a truly unique franchise in video game history: Chō Aniki
What's Chō Aniki you ask? Don't feel left out if you've never heard of it; that's what we're here for! The first game, a scrolling space shooter with a wacky aesthetic, launched in 1992. While many sequels and spin-offs dropped in the years that followed, very few ever saw the light of day outside Japan.
If the series hasn't found a global audience, why devote an English-language podcast to Chō Aniki? That's where things get interesting; despite almost no international releases, Chō Aniki developed a reputation for its frequent usage of bodybuilders, phallic imagery, and just an all-around homoerotic vibe. This drew ridicule and even disgust from Western media outlets, inadvertently exposing Chō Aniki to millions of gamers who would have never seen it otherwise. And some of them liked what they saw!
This week, host Diamond Feit and guests Danny and Alex of Retro Pals (check out their Twitch channel and YouTube archives) reclaim Chō Aniki from the straights to celebrate its relentlessly queer presentation. We're not above making jokes, of course, because the series is supposed to be funny, but I'd like to think we're laughing with Chō Aniki, not at it. And if our descriptions pique your curiosity and you want to actually see what Chō Aniki looks like, there's no better introduction than this video which Danny & Alex made themselves. Fair warning: none of this is "safe for work" unless your boss is a protein-chugging bodybuilder from another planet.
Description: It's raining men (and mechs and bombs and protein) on the podcast this week as host Diamond Feit welcomes Retro Pals Danny & Alex to recap a one-of-a-kind franchise, Chō Aniki
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Artwork for this episode by Leeann Hamilton and editing thanks go to Greg Leahy.