Implied Fisting Is One Sure Way To Get A Mature Rating

Ar Tonelico III was rated teen in Japan. The ESRB isn't being as kind, slapping on a mature rating on the PlayStation 3 RPG for, among other things, a male character reaching inside a female character's body while she moans.

Anyone that's played the first two games in the Gust-developed, NIS America-published role-playing series Ar Tonelico know that it isn't exactly a game for kids. Sure it's got bright and colorful graphics and whimsical music, but that just masks the blatantly sexual content you stumble upon later in the game.

The lead character, which has been a male in all three entries in the series, must attune himself to certain female characters by inserting crystals into their bodies. This is traditionally accompanied by embarrassed noises, moans, and suggestive dialog. Here's an example, from the first game:


Thing is, Ar Tonelico and Ar Tonelico 2 for the PlayStation 2 were both rated T for teen. How did Ar Tonelico III, listed as Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel on the ESRB website, wind up with a mature rating? Let's take a look at the Entertainment Software Review Board's rating description.

Some power moves cause female characters' clothes to vanish in layers; the characters are often depicted holding (covering) their breasts, wearing only underwear, or standing behind strips of light that obscure their genitals.

That doesn't sound so bad! Surely it's nothing more racy than what we've seen in a Sailor Moon cartoon.

The rating continues:

In one cutscene, male characters encourage a woman to strip (e.g., "Uh . . . do I have to take off even more clothes…?" and "Quit teasing us and do it already!"); another sequence depicts a male character "removing" a magical crystal from a female character-this scene is accompanied by suggestive moans and comments (e.g., "Aoto's putting his hand inside Soma" and "Fumble around every inch inside of her . . . you will find what you're looking for . . . !").

*fans himself*

Well okay then, it looks like this particular ESRB ratings employee did their homework, in detail. Does this bode well for the North American release of Ar Tonelico III?

Check out the full rating description over at the ESRB website. Thanks to Nicholas for pointing it out!