Square Enix launches a new LGBTQ+ Pride mascot from Chocobo Dungeon artist

We kind of want Square Enix and artist Toshiyuki Itahana's colorful LGBTQ+ mascot in a game, or maybe on a shirt. Like nowish.

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With everything going on right now - the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing fight against systemic racism, and the push to remove abusers and toxicity from the gaming industry - it could perhaps be forgiven if one forgot it’s still Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community, and that many of us have fought so hard and come so far to simply be treated as equals. It’s hard to go outside and organize or celebrate the way many of us want right now, though. In light of this, Square Enix just put out a happy little reminder for all of us with a new LGBTQ+ Pride mascot, celebrating the month even if we can’t get together for it.

Square Enix showed off its pretty adorable mascot in a Twitter post and company statement on June 25, 2020. The colorful and happy bird comes from character designer and artist Toshiyuki Itahana, known for his work on Final Fantasy 9 and the Crystal Chronicles and Chocobo Dungeon series.

One could probably be staunch about this kind of thing and wonder what the angle is, but Square Enix’s LGBTQ+ Pride mascot wasn’t launched as part of a game or any currently purchasable merchandise. Square Enix simply launched it with the message that in these tough times, the company knows how difficult and/or dangerous it is to get together during this particular Pride Month.

“Each year the LGBTQ+ community and people all over the world celebrate Pride during the month of June,” Square Enix wrote. “In year’s past, our employees have marched alongside others in support of intersectional equality, dignity and inclusion. This year, with parades and celebrations side-lined due to the coronavirus pandemic, we wanted to do something special to honour the LGBTQ+ community and show our support.”

“The character represents diversity and freedom,” Toshiyuki Itahana added. “With its multitude of colors being the diversity aspect and the trainers and wings that allow it to travel anywhere symbolizing freedom. I designed this character hoping that the world can become even more free and diverse in the future.”

Inside and outside games, Square Enix has been no stranger to LGBTQ+ support, even featuring a Pride Parade in Final Fantasy 14 in honor of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in 2019.
Inside and outside games, Square Enix has been no stranger to LGBTQ+ support, even featuring a Pride Parade in Final Fantasy 14 in honor of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in 2019.

It’s a tough time out there, friends. There are a lot of fights that need to be fought among Black Lives Matter causes, pushing toxic predators out of the gaming industry… and then the dangers associated with COVID-19 making every day that much more tough. Forgive me for editorializing a bit, but damn if it's nice to just have something good in what is otherwise one of arguably the toughest Pride Months ever, even it can also be argued from a cynical standpoint that this might be a pull for good PR.

So hey… Good move, Square Enix. Very good and awesome creation, Mr. Itahana. If you would, kindly put your LBGTQ+ mascot on a shirt so people (myself included) can obtain it and wear it sometime soon. Please and thank you.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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