Shenhe, the new character of Genshin Impact, has sparked controversy on social media in China for her 'too sexy' clothes

By Julius Chen
Nov. 26, 2021 updated 07:40

On Nov. 22, Genshin Impact released a new character Shenhe on its social media account and soon got criticism from players for the character's inappropriate dress. 

In the game's story, Shenhe comes from a branch family of a clan of exorcists and was the disciple of Cloud Retainer. To better demonstrate Shenhe's personality, the clothes design of the character draws inspiration from a crane bird, with a white top and black pants. The release of Shenhe became a hit in the Genshin community, gaining 208,000+ likes on Twitter and also 240,000+ likes on Weibo.

Shenhe, the new character of Genshin ImpactShenhe, the new character of Genshin Impact

However, after the release, criticisms of the character’s costume quickly emerged on Chinese social media. Some players felt the design was rough and insincere, especially since Shenhe's dress was so similar to another character Ganyu released earlier. The skin-tight costume of Shenhe was also criticized by female players for being too sexy and provocative.

On the other side, many players thought there was nothing wrong with the design and appreciated Shenhe's parody of the natural beauty of a crane bird. They admitted the costume has a certain level of sexual overtone, but generally not in an offensive way, and also not as revealing as other previously released characters.

The angry comments under Genshin's postThe angry comments under Genshin's post

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the discussion quickly devolved into a heated mess and irrational personal attacks. Some more aggressive player communities even tried to report Shenhe to govern bodies for promoting borderline pornography in a game rated for Teens/12+.

A reporting action proposed by aggressive playersA reporting action proposed by aggressive players

The dispute around Shenhe should not be seen as an isolated event. Along with the recent controversy sparked by Harry Potter: Magic Awakened, these incidents demonstrated the impact of the rising female player base on the Chinese mobile gaming industry. As the number of woman players keeps growing, their preferences and taste for video games are becoming a very touchy and serious topic for developers who are more accustomed to a male-player-dominated market. 

MiHoYo has not yet commented on the situation.