Hello, friends. I am here to a) ruin your innocent, childlike entertainment and b) reveal the truth about the secret sexuality of Nintendo’s popular, “kid-friendly” game that recently released on Switch, Splatoon 2.
To those with less perverse minds (or — ahem — those less well-versed in Freudian symbolism), you might not have picked up on the undercurrent of sexuality embedded in Splatoon. Hear me out.
(Warning: NSFW content ahead)
This particular video game stars creatures known as Inklings, AKA squid-people with flopping, suctioning tentacles for hair. Their primary objective is to territorially splat ink all over the damn place, shooting their colorful discharge from various shapes and sizes of guns. As if that wasn’t enough, these Inklings can also turn into sperm-like sea creatures who swim and luxuriate in their own mess of goo.
They even have an in-game tournament called the Splatfest, which sounds more like a euphemism for teenage boys left home alone.
This part of a Respawn Comic, by Deva and Harold, nails how we imagine the greenlight meeting went down for the original Splatoon:
Still don’t believe me? Well, a good amount of people on the internet do, particularly the 7,000 Inklings who currently make up the charming subreddit community, r/Slutoon.
The original Splatoon already had some Oozinator kind of vibes. But Splatoon 2 raised the bar. Right off the bat, in your introduction to Inkopolis (the “center of Inkling culture”), you can go into a seedy back alleyway to access Splatoon 2’s new co-op mode called Salmon Run.
When you die during Salmon Run, you can only be brought back to life by asking a friend to generously ejaculate ink into your hole (which, to be fair, is actually a buoy).
Thanks to this particular mechanic, I couldn’t help but scream things like, “SPLOOGE ME, BRO,” in the midst of battle.
But the undercurrent of sexuality in this Totally Just For Kids game goes beyond Nintenuendo. The thriving slutty Splatoon community online even has its own dedicated Discord server.
I reached out to understand more and, as it turns out, my mind was deeper in the gutter than theirs.
Because while responses from members of the community ranged greatly in terms of their reasons for being attracted to human-squid hybrid creatures, no one really agreed that the game itself gave off a naughty vibe. Most attributed their curiosity to the good old fashioned Rule #34: if it exists in the world, there will be porn of it on the internet.
One redditor flippantly dismissed my thesis, explaining simply: “I mean, it’s girls that look kinda young, with tentacles.” Another backed him up, agreeing that “it’s a bunch of flat chested girls who like to sway their hips back and forth. It’s what I always imagined heaven would look like.”
On the other hand, another said, “I don’t know about these other people, but for me it’s not about age, it’s about an aesthetic of cuteness. Same reason I like (some) furry art. It’s cute and that really gets me going.”
Firstly, it’s important to note that the enjoyment of anime or hentai-style porn is not inherently wrong. Or, at the very least, not more wrong than what society’s deemed to be the norm for porn: namely activities such as bukakke, simulated violent rape, and brutal bondage.
There’s also a precedent for this kind of stuff in Japanese culture. In Japan, the age of consent is 14. Interestingly, Splatoon‘s designers made a point to establish this as the exact age of the Inklings. There’s also the thriving popularity of manga, a type of comic book that is known to include porn that often features sexualized young-looking girls.
But we’re not here to discuss the morality of these practices. I did talk to a good portion of the r/Slutoon’s community, and I’m happy to report that slutty Splatoon seems to attract a much more pure soul than those you’d find in the comments section of, say, a Pornhub video.
The content might be smutty, but interactions between the community members themselves could not be more pure. The threads demonstrate a level of cordiality, openness, and support virtually unseen on most other subreddits (particularly NSFW ones). No request for images appears too weird or unwelcome on r/Slutoon, and members are adamant about crediting artists for their work and even helping each other crop their favorite images into the most well-formed wallpaper size.
While everyone is attracted to different aspects of slutty Splatoon, many focus on the same core appeal: the characters, how much they love their personalities, and how that love makes them want to see said characters nekked.
“It’s more about an attraction to the actual characters rather than the Splatoon setting,” said Spitfire, a female Slutooner. In fact, many of the people I talked to weren’t even necessarily huge fans of Splatoon itself.
Spitfire, for example, is known for being the single biggest fan of a character who doesn’t even appear in either game.
Existing only in a single image of the original game’s soundtrack cover art, the pink-haired girl (pictured below) immediately drew Spitfire in. She even came up with a personality to go along with her beloved squid girl.
“I gave her a kinda lazy personality — but still pretty nice and friendly.”
Others shared this love of diving into and expanding upon Splatoon‘s characters through smutty extracurriculars. One redditor explained that, “Our main characters don’t talk, yet are able to convey a lot of personality through smaller animations and their core gameplay and style. Inklings are appealing in that we are able to project a personality onto [them].”
Whether through clothing, weapons, or the playstyle you choose for them, Splatoon allows you to embed yourself into the game. And, “that is the perfect recipe for creating a f***able character.”
When I asked what attracted Spitfire to her so much aside from her looks, she said, “Well, I’m a lazy, slouchy girl IRL.”
As I chatted with the community, I found only one person who somewhat agreed with my thesis that Splatoon 2 appears to be a horny game all on its own, even without Rule #34. Peter, a weeks-old member of the Inkling porn pod, said he “fell in love [with the community] pretty quickly.”
While the first game didn’t have any inherent sexual vibes, Peter believed that “Splatoon 2 definitely brought it up a notch. With new, ‘sexier’ hairstyles — and Marina with her *cough cough* obvious sexual traits *cough cough.*“
To him, Marina’s popularity in part stems from her, “revealing clothing, and how some of her dance moves show off nice hip movement (props to Nintendo on the animation).”
Here’s a look at an artist’s rendition of Marina (by KT Baker) on Tumblr, a forum where you can find dozens of bra-clad Marina drawings and gifs.
In general, when it came to the kinky trends on r/Slutoon, Peter admitted that, “None of it is really new territory for me. Actually, a lot of this stuff is pretty tame compared to other things I’ve seen.”
Both Marina and a love for swaying hips proved to be two constants among most slutty Splatoon lovers. Marina even has her own dedicated r/MarinaNSFW subreddit, populated by 120 subscribers.
“Nintendo’s darker skinned characters altogether have been getting a lot of positive attention: Marina, Twintelle, Urbosa and Riju, and Olivia,” said Gocker, a female member of the community. “Marina just has a really cute, sweet personality, too. Everything about her is attractive lol.”
Gocker also noted that lots of people seem to be partial to Octoling characters — the more fully grown, octopus equivalent to Inklings — like Marina. “It could be that they appear physically older than the Inklings. Or the fact that they were depicted as villains in the original game’s story mode.”
Making up one-half of the game’s broadcasting duo, who provide updates on maps and Inkopolis at large, Marina’s co-host Pearl receives only a fraction of the love. My Slutoon sources believe the disparity comes down to Pearl’s more stuck-up personality and girlish appearance.
“But frankly, I never quite saw why people didn’t like Pearl in the first place,” Gocker said. “I have a soft spot for small bratty princess types.”
A r/PearlNSFW exists, to the tune of 4 lonely subscribers, and a single post with a joke that links back to Marina’s subreddit. But, “People are starting to warm up to Pearl too,” Gocker said.
A male community member who wanted to go by Jens was on the other side of the Octoling/Inkling divide.
“I think the loli/shota [kink] plays a part in it for some people,” he said, referring to the manga-like preference for young, shy types. These types range from small, effeminate boys to girls in Lolita-like getups. “That’s one of the things I’m into, but it doesn’t go hand in hand with all Splatoon porn.”
“The tentacle stuff probably is something that draws a lot of people towards it,” he said.
At the end of the day, Splatoon porn isn’t very different from other niche porn communities, particularly those related to gaming. Like Overwatch, which is becoming one of Pornhub’s most searched terms.
“I don’t know what it is about seeing these recognizable characters in sexual situations that is so attractive. It’s not only Splatoon but most types of games, shows, etc.,” said Peter, echoing many of the others’ explanations for the attraction.
“When you take something not sexual and sexualize it, it becomes weirdly attractive. It certainly is interesting to see characters like these in those situations.”
Gocker agreed, seeing the Splatoon characters’ magical, hybrid qualities as part of the appeal. “Inklings are very similar to humans in appearance. It’s similar to the reason why I find fantasy elves attractive. [And then] there’s Ink, which is pretty messy.”
Ink is indeed messy, but the squid-loving heart of the online smutty Splatoon community is purer than I ever imagined. So much of live-action porn is characterized by the dehumanization of women into sex objects. Meanwhile, on r/Slutoon, people just want to see a different side of the characters they love so much. And, really, what’s the harm in wanting to see the boobs behind the personality?