Fire Emblem Fates has finally released state-side, to the joy of many and chagrin of many others. The translated and localized version unsurprisingly still suffers from the problems that it had in its original release, but I don’t believe those watching the game were that surprised with how it came out. While those problems deserve discussion, and talk of how the translated dialogue itself also deserves some scrutiny, today I’m not looking at any of those. (And probably won’t until I finish all three games.)
In the previous installment of Fire Emblem—Awakening—the player character had to help the royalty of their world to put an end to a war; not a particularly new theme to the series, but neither is it a theme that suffers from possible interesting and poignant takes on it. Again, in Fates, the player character must help to bring an end to a war that will devastate the world if allowed to go on. I don’t have a problem that Fates is using the same plot again—though I would say the writers added a sort of nuance to Fates that Awakening didn’t have—but I do have a problem that its catalyst for the characters getting “serious” is the same. That is to say, the war really only comes to a head over the death of a woman.
Spoilers for Awakening and Fates (Birthright and Conquest), and a trigger warning for suicide under the cut.
So who saw that Smash Bros reveal on Monday? Can I get a “hell yes” for Lucina becoming the first female playable character from the Fire Emblem series to enter the melee/brawl/etcetera? To some, the choice may not have been that huge of a surprise, or even a big deal, but from a personal standpoint I think it’s a nice step towards having a more balanced roster in the popular Nintendo fighting series. And luckily, it coincides with something I’ve wanted to talk about. For the past couple of days, a certain post has been making multiple appearances on my Tumblr dash, and it brings up a fair point about lady characters in media.
i’ve been thinking about all those posts about “we need female heroes who do girly things”/”why is the female hero always such a tomboy” and then the response posts that are like “uhhh actually we don’t really have any really masculine female heroes either” so i was trying to figure it out—what do we have, exactly?
and really what we get is women who eschew “girly” things while still managing to look like society’s ideal woman. they would never touch eyeliner (they’re too busy with Important Things), but their eyeliner is immaculate. they have a huge, varied wardrobe, but wouldn’t be caught dead actually shopping for clothes. and it reminds me of the expectation that women must be effortlessly beautiful. don’t wear makeup or you’ll seem self-absorbed—but god forbid you look like you’re not wearing makeup. it’s interesting to me, that the impossibilities imposed on female characters are the same ones imposed on real women.
I would say that this is an issue especially present in video games if it wasn’t for the fact that it was so prevalent in all types of media. However, I believe it’s easier to pick it out in video games if only because when you’re trouncing around in deserts or swamps surrounded by haggard looking men, it’s ridiculously easy to pick out those perfect manicures and stylish outfits of the women characters when a cut scene zooms in on them—kinda seems out of place. Truthfully, Fire Emblem: Awakening doesn’t subvert this issue in any meaningful way. Some of the more physical lady fighters still look on point and none of the women seem as though they’ve stepped away from their boudoir for longer than an afternoon. Though, to be fair, the men in this series look equally as prettied up; also sporting stunningly beautiful armor and well-coiffed hair. But, I do think this game tackles the issue of femininity on the battlefield very well. Or, rather, women maintaining their femininity without sacrificing fighting prowess. In fact, there’s a friendship that can be built up (should the player partner the two up in-game) between two seemingly opposite female characters—Sumia and Sully—that portrays the idea that a woman doesn’t have to be masculine to tear zombies and evil do-ers apart.
“…You’re right. We couldn’t do that to them. But, but then, what do we do!?” The pitch in Cynthia’s voice approached hysteria. She wished a Risen was still skulking around, ready to be lanced through by a righteous hero. Even if said righteous hero was currently in the throes of a berserker fury, justice would still be on their side. “Are you saying we just have to hide it? Everything!?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. At least until those two work it out. They managed it once without us; they can do it again. Hopefully.” Severa sighed. “It’ll be harder to keep it a secret now, with both of us here. We have to be careful not to slip what we really are to each other. I’ve already told all the others about our situation – no one’s screwed things up. Yet.”
I have a confession: after I wrote my last Fanfiction Fridays I ventured deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening. Balls deep. So, I’m not quite ready to leave this fandom just yet. And really, I can’t leave when there are so many other good femslash pairings that could be written about; I had to see what the fanfiction authors had to offer. Though, sadly, there weren’t any tales about the female Player Character and Tharja, the hex-obsessed dark mage (I can’t be the only one who ships this), I did manage to find a fic about another pairing that a) I didn’t think about before and b) adds some of the lightheartedness from the games back into the fandom.
Minor spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening under the cut.
Here at Lady Geek Girl and Friends, we address just about every social issue you could shake a stick at; however, in terms of fandom and fanfiction, the issue that speaks directly to my heart is the lack of fics starring a female couple in a romantic relationship. I’ve already made mention of this in an earlier Fanfiction Fridays of mine, but this time I decided to approach it from a different angle. Rather than hoping that some author wouldkindly decide to extrapolate on the relationship between two ladies already present in canon, I wanted to see if game series that focus on making a customizable main character might be more evenly divided between the types of slash fic—if not evenly divided, at least an easier task to find actual femslash fic.
Before plunging myself into the depths of fanfiction created by Bioware titles—I could lose days sorting through all that fic-y goodness—I wanted to start with a fandom that is a little more reserved in its output. Or at least it seems like it from this side of the ocean.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is the newest addition to the Fire Emblem series of turn-based strategy games. Its plot deals with a huge multi-continent war, a legion of the undead—named ‘the risen’—coming to wreak havoc on everyone and everything, memory loss, doppelgangers, and time travel, just to name a few things. I know, it sounds like standard fare for a JRPG, but what this has over a typical JRPG is a mechanic in which fighting alongside certain members of your army unlocks new conversations with them, and even marriage later on. It’s a shipper’s dream, and the fanbase loves it. However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no homosexual relationships available for the player character to pursue. This is disappointing especially considering that there’s a pairingthat’s so hinted at it may as well be canon (at least in terms of being available for the final, ‘marriage-tier’ conversation).
I had thought that finding a fic based on the seemingly forbidden relationship between the player character and a member of the same gender would have been the easiest path to tread (since self-insert fic is a long-lasting love of any canon), but once more I was surprised: a fic on the front page staring two characters that I hadn’t even thought of together caught my eye. And it was femslash? Be still my beating heart.
Spoilers for Fire Emblem: Awakening under the cut.