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What is Omega Labyrinth Z and why was it banned in Australia?

The Australian Classification Board has quite a history of banning video games. Not to mention, we’ve only recently gotten the R18+ rating.
Just so we’re all on the same page here… Firstly, I’m a woman and I have boobs. Secondly, I have played visual novel or visual novel-style games before. Thirdly, I’ve watched too much anime in my lifetime. Cool! Moving on…

What is Omega Labyrinth Z?

Omega Labyrinth Z (stylised as ωLabyrinth Z) is a sequel to Omega Labyrinth. According to the PlayStation Singapore store, it’s a roguelike RPG.
Omega Labyrinth Z
From the trailer, the game is a mixture of the above screenshot and visual novel dialogue in between. After much Googling, I’ve surmised that the plot involves a group of young girls (we’ll get back to this in a different section) fighting their way through a dungeon to obtain the Holy Grail of Beauty (I also have many thoughts on this).
Several outlets announced that the game was set to be released in North America and Europe last year. However, as the game attempted to make its way to Australia, it was banned.

Why did the Australian Classification Board ban the game?

Here is the specific part of the classification code cited that is breached by the game:
The computer game is classified RC in accordance with the National Classification Code, Computer Games Table, 1. (a) as computer games that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified,” and (b) “describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not).”
RC is short for “refused classification” by the way. According to the classification document, this determination was made on the 2nd of February.

Should Australia have banned the game?

Here’s where I’ll probably make a lot of people angry. If all the Classification Board saw was the trailer, it makes sense that they’d ban it under this specific section of the code (emphasis added):
(b) “describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not).”
Ages aren’t clear from the trailer or any other promotional material I could find online. It’d be simple enough to assume that they’re in high school but that would still leave them in the realm of let’s say 13-17 years-old.
The question then is whether the characters are depicted in a way that is ‘likely’ to cause offence to a reasonable adult.

Cultural differences… make a lot of difference

It’s very obvious from the outside that anime women are depicted much younger than they’re said to be. Also, the sexualisation of seemingly young female characters is more common than you’d expect compared to Western media.
Just as an example, here is a collage from a PlayStation Japan Blog store promo:
20171116-psstore-02.jpg
I will admit that none of the above particularly offends me personally. In my mind, this is the visual style I’d expect if I’m reading or watching shoujo. However, I can fully understand the thinking of official government offices like the Classification Board. They wouldn’t want to be seen as approving something that looks like the sexualisation of characters under the age of 18.

Food and questions for thought

If these games made it very explicit that all characters were 18 and over, would it make a difference? I don’t think so, again arguing the point about expected visual style. Outside of the age argument, I haven’t seen anything offensive other than an overabundance of boobs in the trailer.
This article was initially sparked by this piece. And, I should add that I disagree with them and their argument that Australia hates boobs. As an Aussie who has boobs, I can say that boobs are great. The problem the Classification Board has with the game is the presumed age of the people that those boobs are attached to.
To wrap up, I would hope though that the Classification Board actually played the game. It would make no sense that they passed their judgement based on promotional material only. However, I don’t have high hopes for this happening considering GTA V doesn’t even pass the same code breached by Omega Labyrinth Z:
(a) as computer games that “depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified,”
Images: PlayStation Singapore, PlayStation Japan