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Researcher/Fan Birth by Sleep Discussion



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kuraudoVII

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Thanks so much, kuraudoVII!



You bring up a great point here. Why do you think the female characters in Kingdom Hearts (aside from the disney villains) are so infallible? They don't seem much like real people because they have no flaws. They all seem to have 'pure' and 'incorruptible' hearts. Just wondered if you have any thoughts about this.

No problem. :)

Admittedly, I'm not entirely sure myself. Perhaps it was a cultural thing to follow the whole "Women are Wiser" trope. In all fairness, certain Disney females seem to fall into this category as well; Belle, in particular, comes to mind.

Also, neither of us should forget Namine. Sure, she had shades of the whole "pure, incorruptible" thing as well due to her connection with Kairi, but it should be noted that despite not wanting to, she did ultimately screw with Sora, Donald and Goofy's memories before she decided to stand up for herself and for them. She had quite a bit of emotional baggage due to her loneliness and, later, her guilt for the events of Chain of Memories. Xion, while pure, had some emotional baggage as well due to the nature of her and Roxas' existences.

It is also important to bring up Larxene. Yeah, she's technically a Disney villain since Disney actually owns the rights to the characters last I heard, but she is not a pure and infallible character. It's heavily implied in supplementary material that something happened before she lost her heart that made her adverse to the Organization's goal to become whole beings.

I hope this helps.
 

Elysium

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I’m interested in what your experience was playing KH as a girl: did it feel different using a female avatar? What do you think of Aqua, her outfit, personality, etc.?

If you’re a female do you identify more easily with female characters? If you’re a male how does it feel playing as a girl?

If you could include your gender and age in the post that would really help me out!
Aqua's story didn't feel different from playing as the other male characters in the series to me, which is a good thing. I think Aqua comes across as one of--if not the--strongest characters on the "good" side in BbS and maybe the series overall (both mentally and power-wise). She did inherit Eraqus's fear/hatred of the darkness, but that's her only real character flaw for the most part. I did like having an original female character who had authority for once, although the only people she can look up to are male (seriously, were there no female Keyblade Masters in Yensid, Eraqus, and Xehanort's time?). I thought it was interesting that the Grand Councilwoman turns to her as more worthy/competent than Gantu, for instance. Also refreshing was seeing two (benevolent) females talking to each other--such as Aqua's conversations with the Councilwoman, the Fairy Godmother, Cinderella, etc.--even if it'd be nice if we had two original female characters at a time... And it was nice to see one female protecting another, such as when Aqua protects Cinderella and Kairi, or when she goes to the Queen's castle to release Snow White from her curse, or when she fights alongside the Prince in Enchanted Dominion. Aqua also shows a cleverness, too, when she delays time for Cinderella by trying on the slipper or how she hides Ventus' body at the Land of Departure/Castle Oblivion.

My only real gripe is that, while she's not a passive character, she doesn't really drive the story the way Terra, Ventus, and Xehanort do--she's mostly chasing after them and the one time she catches them at Radiant Garden, she's shamed for having gained new authority in becoming a Keyblade Master. That said, she does take over the action in the episodes following the main story at least; if Ventus and Terra are saved at all, it'll have a lot to do with her actions. I think her design makes her seem powerful in a feminine way; instead of, say, making her seem powerful by making her look "masculine." The flirtations she receives at Olympus Coliseum didn't bother me, since that seems more as if it's something they borrowed from the original film. Megara dumps on Phil in Hercules much more than Aqua does in BbS when he flirts with her, but I'm not sure if I'd call it sexist exactly; Ursula, a flirtatious female character, for example, calls Sora "handsome" in the first game. The characters there at least recognize how powerful she is, and so do a lot of the other male characters in the game (the Dwarfs, Prince Phillip, the Grand Duke, Horace and the triplets at Disney Castle, etc.).

I'm male (26 now), but I've always identified with and enjoyed playing as female characters more than male characters generally, so I guess I enjoyed playing a female character in KH for once--although I'd rather play as Riku and Sora than any of the new playable characters.
 

SteffiAnna

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Thanks so much for the reply, Tartarus. You definitely gave me a lot to think about!

Also refreshing was seeing two (benevolent) females talking to each other--such as Aqua's conversations with the Councilwoman, the Fairy Godmother, Cinderella, etc.--even if it'd be nice if we had two original female characters at a time... And it was nice to see one female protecting another....

This is a great point and one I'll keep in mind when I go back to do an analysis of the game. I'll have to keep the bechdel test in mind when looking at Aqua's interactions (to pass the bechdel test, two female characters have to talk to each other about something other than a man). I'm not sure how much the game will pass since Aqua is constantly asking about Terra, but we'll see!

The flirtations she receives at Olympus Coliseum didn't bother me, since that seems more as if it's something they borrowed from the original film. Megara dumps on Phil in Hercules much more than Aqua does in BbS when he flirts with her, but I'm not sure if I'd call it sexist exactly; Ursula, a flirtatious female character, for example, calls Sora "handsome" in the first game.

Also a good point. I guess I was mostly thrown off by how forward Zack is toward her. I've definitely had to deal with my share of persistent unwanted advances before so I'm wondering if this element makes the player 'feel' more like a female character. Or at least lets the player inhabit a female position. Thoughts?

I've always identified with and enjoyed playing as female characters more than male characters generally....

Why do you think this is? Does it have something to do with rarity of playable females? Character design? Attraction to character? etc.
 

Elysium

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Sorry about writing a lot. lol It's true that Aqua spends most of the time talking about Terra and Ventus, but those conversations do deal with other things. For instance, the Fairy Godmother talks to her about how light begets darkness (Cinderella's light causes the stepfamily's dark jealousy).

The encounter with Zack does stand out among the series, because there really haven't been any romantic advances towards a main character before. I suppose this could have a little to do with the cultural idea that the man pursues traditionally, so Sora, Riku, Roxas, Terra, and Ventus don't receive advances because they should be making them? But that's likely jumping too far.

As for why I generally identify with female characters, I'm thinking it has to do with the fact that they are allowed to be more expressive and variant (both in personality, emotion, and design). You get to see female characters of so many kinds that react a lot of different ways, while sometimes male characters are kind of boring in that regard. They aren't allowed to be emotional or affected most of the time, or at least it's more rare to me. (Although Sora and Riku give a wider range of emotions than I usually see male characters give in entertainment, which is part of the draw to the series.) Plus it might be because I also enjoy magical characters, and female characters are given magical abilities to fight with more often than not.
 

Divine Past

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Thanks Divine Past!



So you're saying since there aren't many playable girls in the series (I haven't played 358/2, does it have one?] then she serves as sort of a novelty which means she didn't have to be very complicated, interesting! I do think it's weird how she's like super 'good'. The whole 'women have completely pure hearts' thing is a very weird concept in the series as a whole that I never thought of, interesting! (aside from the disney villains of course).

So do you play other games with playable female characters? Which ones? Do you feel like those characters are 'deeper' than Aqua?

My point in 358/2 is that Xion is such a part of the story that it feels like even when playing as Roxas, you are still proxy playing as Xion. At least to me.

For the 1st point, I think you can see Aqua's story isn't as deep or interconnected. Terra has a strong connection to MX and Ventus to an extent as well. Aqua really doesn't have that connection to anybody in her story that aren't Ven or Terra. So in a sense she's kind of like the female Sora minus the playfulness of Sora. So yea my guess is the writers didn't feel a need to write Aqua an interesting story as much as the other 2 guys because she's a female and there is a wow factor on the own there. Not saying it's right or wrong just how I see it.

I think you can see that in their long term impact on the series so far, Terra has a deep connection with MX(duh) and Riku getting the keyblade, Ventus has a very connection to Sora and even a bit to Roxas as well, Aqua.....has the connection to Kairi with the Keyblade which hasn't been touched upon much yet and the whole castle oblivion stuff which while important, it's not close to the importance the other 2 guys got.

Like I said previously her character is kind of flat but it's not offensive. I never got to a scene where I just hated how she acted or anything.

I don't play too many RPG games so I can't really relate her to other female characters' I've used, but in all Aqua is just ok. Maybe the next games will expand on her role but she's a middle of the pack person in the story.
 
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When I played through BBS for the first time, I had the sense that Aqua's story was "less important" than Terra and Ven, due to the fact that their stories directly tie into the rest of the series while it seems like Aqua is "just there". However, I changed my opinion on this after completing her normal story, and because of the fact that she had to fight Ven (taken over by Vanitas) and stop him from starting another Keyblade War. Without her everything would have gone to hell right there, so as far as her impact on the series, she literally saved the universe in that one moment. Character-wise, I found her to be both very motherly and very strong, stronger than all the men around seeing as she was the only one of the three made Master. She cared deeply about her friends, and was willing to do whatever it took to save them, hence her sacrifice to save Terra. I don't play too many RPGs where females are prevalent, but I would rate her very highly as a capable woman that transcends the damsel stereotype (Kairi). I am very much looking forward to her role in KHIII.
Male/20 (17 when I played BBS the first time around)
 

Xickin

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First of all, wouldn't you be "fan-girling"?

Second, I actually never minded playing as Aqua, it was pretty fun with her magic based offence and defence. But i think I didn't mind because I had no choice but to play as her. I always found it...odd for a boy to choose and play as a female avatar; I don't know why, I just did. Probably that whole "guys are guys" mentality from when I was younger and on the playground.
 

khluva010

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Hello! I’m a huge KH fan and a PhD student currently interested in games/gender/avatars/identification etc.

Well first off I'll say congratulations on being a PhD student! More power to ya!



Thanks to 2.5 I was able to play Birth By Sleep for the first time over Christmas break (love the battle system!) As a lady, I was super pumped that for the first time I got to play KH as a girl! I’m interested in what your experience was playing KH as a girl: did it feel different using a female avatar? What do you think of Aqua, her outfit, personality, etc.?

It didn't feel different but if anything it felt refreshing. All my angst for wanting Kairi as a playable character was nearly answered with Aqua. She's a great character at that, strong wield, loyal, determined, honest, and her making the ultimate sacrifice that she did, oh man we could go on. And in all this you still get the this vulnerability with her as you get with Ven and Terra as well, all that I give kudos to the voice actors of the three who really brought the emotions out & into these characters.

Her outfit is great too, it has nice balance between femininity and masculinity compared to Terra and Ven.

If you’re a female do you identify more easily with female characters? If you’re a male how does it feel playing as a girl?

It helps to always to have female presence in my personal opinion and experience. It's a very psychological thing to live in a male-oriented world, these dynamics are slowly yet surely shifting though, which is fantastic for the future! In terms of identifying however, I don't always necessarily identify with every female character I've ever encountered, but it is much easier to feel that connection when it is present. With Aqua for instance, I identify with that honesty that she has with her friends and hoping nothing but the best for the ones I love. There's a lot of characters in the KH universe with these qualities such as Sora who is another character that I've always identified with throughout the entire series, so it honestly depends for me.

If you could include your gender and age in the post that would really help me out!

You can see my age and gender on the sidebar below my avatar name here, I hope this helps & good luck!



-KairiAnna
PS: I’m open to e-mails/private messages. I need all the help I can get![/QUOTE]
 
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