Without a doubt, D.Va has been one of the most popular heroes in Overwatch since her initial release back in 2017. So much so that if you haven’t played Blizzard’s team-based first-person shooter yet, you’d still probably know who she is or have heard her name at some point. If not, you’ve probably at least seen some fan art online, amazing cosplay, or screenshots of her cute skins.
Seeing as she’s an iconic character in the franchise, she often receives skins that are good and well-received by fans. However, back in 2018, Blizzard released a black cat gothic lolita-like Legendary for D.Va—and not everyone was pleased. When equipping this skin, D.Va and her trusty mech, Tokki, both wear matching gothic lolita apparel.
She becomes a blonde instead of having black hair, and Tokki even looks like it’s using one of those once-popular headphones that look like cat ears. Overall, fans were unhappy with how Blizzard completely took away everything that made D.Va who she was.
For a little context, D.Va is canonically Korean in the Overwatch universe—her real name is Hana Song, she’s based in Busan, South Korea, and she’s affiliated with the Mobile Exo-Force a.k.a the South Korean Army. So, why does any of this matter?
Well, for one thing, gothic lolita isn’t really a big thing in Korea. If they gave this kind of skin to a Japanese hero, then perhaps it would make more sense. Despite being inspired by European Victorian fashion, the lolita aesthetic in general is more common in Japan. Overwatch is home to well-researched cosmetics, like Hanzo’s Kabuki skin, so some fans were quite frustrated when Blizzard released a D.Va skin seemingly because it was cute and vaguely Asian.
When the D.Va Black Cat skin was released, it was joined by other Legendary skins of other heroes. Now, what bothered the fans even more was the fact that the other skins represented some part of their heritage—meanwhile, D.Va simply got a gothic lolita outfit that didn’t even represent the Korean culture in any way.
Some fans voiced out their two cents about the matter, stating that they would have liked it better if the hero got a bunny skin or if Blizzard took inspiration from Korean street fashion or K-pop. Back then, there were already K-pop groups that were already stealing the spotlight, so it would have been more preferable if they took inspiration from the dazzling costumes the artists wore in music videos. Imagine D.Va wearing a sailor outfit similar to the one from Girls’ Generation’s Genie.
I just flat-out thought back to the 'Welcome to the NHK' scene where they just kept grab-bagging the lowest common denominator moe tropes and shoved them all into one nightmarish package.
— feral (@feralknights) January 22, 2018
What blizzard thinks we want: nekomimi loli style eh???? EH?????
What we really want: kpop 1M bgirl dance dva pic.twitter.com/A1Gn9Q0uAB
— Irene Koh 🐯🍠 (@kohquette) January 22, 2018
While the skin is admittedly cute to some degree, it’s just unfortunate that D.Va could have had so much more, but this particular skin reduced her to a blanket Asian hero in a video game where the characters’ varying cultures play such a significant role in their lore, backstories, and personalities.
But then again, other characters have had bad skins too. Let’s take Pharah, for example, who has Raindancer and Thunderbird skins even though she’s Egyptian. However, it appears that Blizzard has since backtracked and officially made Pharah part Native American through her dad.
Of course, these thoughts aren’t echoed by the entire Overwatch community. Some fans actually like D.Va’s Black Cat look, so much so that they’ve created cosplay looks and fanart of it.