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Pet Sins August 2000

Soul Calibur/Soul Blade

Soul Calibur and its precursor Soul Blade are weapons dueling video games released by Namco. The characters featured are all ethnic East Asians or Europeans.

Atypical

An "adoption" theme runs through the game narrative:

  • One of the characters is Rock, the ethnic Englishman who travels to Central America and decides to go native. Rock rescues and adopts a Native American boy.
  • Dykey-looking British fighter Ivy Valentine is also an adoptee raised by loving parents.
  • As for other video games that have adoptive parents as s/heroes, I can only think of Namco's other highly successful fighting video game Tekken 2/3. Considering the bias against adoptive families in North American and East Asian cultures, this is worth noting.

    Not-so-cool
  • In Soul Calibur, the Chinese pirate Maxi has a black-haired form and a blonde form. He is also styled as an Elvis-lookalike.
  • Other Japanese video games guilty of depicting ethnic East Asian characters as blondes in an alternate costume mode are Bloody Roar and Dead or Alive. The East Asian fantasy of light-skinned Asians being equivalent to whites on the racial line is rooted in internalized racism and the idea of white supremacy .

  • Women as a sex objects
  • In Soul Blade, Seung Mina dons a Korean costume slit all the way up her thighs and cut low to reveal her cleavage. Last I checked, this was not the "traditional" practice. In Soul Calibur, Ivy Valentine wears dominatrix-type costume. Hmm. Greek warrior priestess Sophitia was featured bathing naked in the Soul Edge trailer. She gazes at the viewer seductively.

    On the other hand, Soul Blade/Calibur is rare in that it does feature a scantily-clad male character, the evil Italian Voldo who bares his butt cheeks. At least there's some fairness between the sexes here, unlike other video games that feature fully clothed men and near naked women.

    2000