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Pet Sins August 2000

Final Fantasy VIII

Rinoa The plot of Japanese video game Final Fantasy VIII centers around the love story between two characters, Rinoa Heartilly and Squall Leonhart. Despite the faux European name and her slightly romanized nose, Rinoa Heartilly is by all appearances and mannerisms a Japanese female. This is particularly obvious when you compare her physical appearance to other female characters in the same game, who are unambiguously European-looking.

squallHer lover, Squall Leonhart, is very clearly an European male. Of course this is a "Fantasy" and race supposedly does not matter. (There is one sole black character though, and a few characters with ethnic Japanese names) We ask why the union of a Japanese female and an European male is such a popular theme of Japanese-made video games. Other Japanese video games involving the pairing of a Japanese female and European male include Fatal Fury and a very old version of Alien vs Predator.

scene from video game

Final Fantasy VIII is very successful internationally, largely due to its awesome 3D graphics. But one wonders if its popular reception among ethnically European males has anything to do with the Oriental girl fantasies they can derive from it.