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South Park: The Fractured but Whole's Best Sub-Quest Is a Scavenger Hunt for Yaoi Art

Take a break from the main quest and find love.

Article by Nadia Oxford, .

When I first watched the season one South Park episode "Damien," I wondered what was behind Eric Cartman's insistence that all his friends buy him "Mega Man" toys for his birthday. I bemusedly wondered if Cartman was referencing the Mega Man.

I ultimately doubted it: Such a direct reference to game / nerd culture was rare in 1998. Popular TV shows might pop off a joke about Super Mario or play video game consoles (indicated by the stock sound effects blaring from the characters' TVs), but a shout-out to comparatively obscure mascot like Mega Man wasn't something that happened on popular TV shows back then. I chalked it up to coincidence.

But it wasn't coincidence. Not entirely. The series' creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are big nerds. Especially Parker, who is fluent in Japanese (he wrote and performed "Let's Fighting Love" in Season 8's Good Times with Weapons) and was once married to Japanese socialite Emma Sugiyama. I doubt the Mega Man nod was accidental, even though "Mega Man's" powers involved joining up with color-coded members of a team a la Power Rangers, and therefore doesn't count as a direct reference.

In fact, South Park celebrates anime and Japanese video games with a vigor that's impressive even in our current nerd-loving culture. Any Joe-Off-The-Street will freely admit they enjoy superhero movies or The Legend of Zelda, but there's a good chance they'll be stumped if they're presented with the term "yaoi."

Well, South Park graciously explains yaoi in the season 19 episode "Tweek x Craig." The boys suddenly and inexplicably find themselves being drawn as a couple in a deluge of manga-style art (all of which was drawn and submitted by fans of the show and / or pairing).

South Park: The Fractured but Whole keeps the lesson going with a sub-quest that challenges you to hunt for yaoi featuring Tweek and Craig. You find artwork everywhere: On walls, in drawers, and inside bags and boxes. There are over 40 pieces to collect. South Park really loves itself some boy love.

Speaking of, it's technically incorrect to call the art you pick up "yaoi." Yaoi tends to lean more towards the sexual side, whereas The Fractured but Whole's pictures are more suggestive of cuddling. I suppose they're better classified as "shonen-ai" or "boy love"—works that depict the more romantic side of a male-male couple.

(I, uh, used to review a lot of different kinds of manga before I came onto USGamer as a full-timer. At least I can say I approached a book store clerk and asked, "Hi, do you have a copy of Manga Sutra?")

While you do find some pieces that are more sexually suggestive than others, there's nothing explicit by a long shot. The Fractured but Whole earns its M rating six times over, but I've no doubt Ubisoft wanted to steer far away from any suggestion of underage sex, however seemingly progressive (Tweek and Craig are aged up in their pictures, but … c'mon).

Despite being on a tight deadline for The Fractured but Whole's review, I found the yaoi hunt an irresistible distraction. Most of the pictures are just damn cute, and a few adorn Tweek with a Naruto headband. I never noticed the resemblance until now, but yeah, it's there all right.

I didn't find all the pictures. I ran out of time, and getting everything in The Fractured but Whole requires a lot of backtracking. I regret cutting the hunt down early, and I also regret not helping Tweek and Craig through couples' therapy. If I fire up the game again, it'll certainly be in the name of love.

Until then, Destructoid has the full gallery. Happy browsing. Alternatively, you can read this (NSFW!!) Trey Parker x Matt Stone fanfiction I stumbled on while looking up Parker's Japanese credentials.

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