Anime Aesthetic

In regards to the anime aesthetic, virtually all assets were preserved between the North American Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) iteration and the subsequent PlayStation (PS) re-release of Chrono Trigger. Character artwork still evoked a resemblance to Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball, while scenery and sprite animations held true to their original source. The same can be said between the Japanese and North American PS re-releases, as each one retains the same anime elements from before even with the new introduction of anime cutscenes (animated video clips) that comprise more than ten minutes of extra content for the Japanese or North American player.
The only difference concerning these localizations is the branding shift for the North American PS iteration. Earlier, the SNES box cover art of Chrono Trigger in North America featured an aggressive battle scene with the characters Crono, Frog, and Marle (see SNES Anime Aesthetic). However, now that Chrono Trigger was bundled with a re-release of Final Fantasy IV, more accurate cover art needed to be implemented. This resulted in the usage of the contemporary cutscenes now featured in both video games, with Final Fantasy IV’s depiction above Chrono Trigger’s.
The three scenes displayed are of Ayla fighting reptites, Crono and Frog standing in the rain, and Magus atop some cliffs. Although not as pronounced as the SNES box cover art, this rendition features Ayla (who is an inherently sexualized character due to her appearance), a hostile fight between herself and a reptite, and a depiction of Crono in the center of the cover art, not to mention a dark silhouette (later discovered to be Magus) holding a menacing sickle. These qualities follow the patterns of a “masculine-coded space” a concept previously mentioned that includes renditions of “hypersexualized and objectified women, aggressive men, and signs relating to violence or war.”1 What is interesting, however, is the fact that Ayla is in the aggressive position, as well as not in a supportive role (which is most commonly given and attributed to females). Intentional or not, this cover art accurately depicts Ayla’s “alien” behavior and personality when compared to Guardia’s gender norms (see SNES Gender Norms).
All in all, this branding distinction was only present in the North American localization, with the Japanese PS re-release retaining the already iconic image of Crono and his friends standing together as one. However, even this discrepancy stays true to the nature of the anime aesthetic featuring stylized characters and scenes that tie into the original artwork and as such, this indicates that the anime style in Chrono Trigger was effectively preserved, even during migration to a newer console, with Japanese culture being authentically articulated to North American gaming communities.

Works Cited:

[1] Near, Christopher E. "Selling Gender: Associations of Box Art Representation of Female Characters With Sales for Teen- and Mature-rated Video Games." Sex Roles 68.3-4 (2013): 252-69. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 27 July 2015.

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