Thanks to odonis for the inspiration!
JRPGs don’t always contain the most diversity, as opposed to their Western counterparts. Perhaps this is one of the reasons interest in JRPG has been waning in the past decade. Not to say that JRPGs themselves aren’t interesting themselves, and they still have a pretty sizable base. Of course, some series fare better than others.
Final Fantasy has been the JRPG with the most diversity, as it usually breaks boundaries and defies common assumptions. But still, while they’ve added memorable characters from all races and gender, none in sexual orientation. Why not? This is something that odonis wonders:
I know its a sensitive topic, but i’ll try. There’s one thought that was coming to my mind for years. How come that FF has no LGBT characters at all? Among hundreds of characters and 30 years of existing, they come with straight characters only, amazing.
We can already see that this is going to be a very controversial opinion. The majority of people in the world are mostly straight. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we can’t represent a story from a “minority” character’s point of view. In fact, I believe it would really diversify the series.
Moreover, the thing that surprises me the most in this franchise is how HOMOEROTIC and simply gay male characters look like. I’m playing new Dissidia and FF15 right now and this is what made me to start this topic. All these game developers are like ‘No homo bro’ but making male characters almost indistinguishable from girls (judging by appearance). Those sleeveless tank tops, or DLS that allows you to enjoy a character with big bare inflated torso. And don’t tell me it’s a typical Japanese mindset, i’m not an ‘anime virgin’, i’ve seen many Japanese projects and yet FF creators make me feel like they really like cute boys and chemistry between men, but NO HOMO, BROS! They are like latent homosexuals really… And please, don’t start with ‘it’s all made to attract the attention of female audience’…
Notice that most of the characters “look” gay (or in the very least homoerotic) is odd. The characters do sport a meterosexual look. Yet, I don’t think they this is a reason to make a Final Fantasy character LGBT. In fact, this might be the faster way to make them feel campy. I’d like to see a game from an LGBT’s character’s point of view. How they dress would have no bearing on how they act.
I’ve read this kind of topics and people saying the same thing: ‘the whole FF based on interesting plot/story, it doesn’t need to be involved into political correctness and something like that’. Yeah, right. Almost every single game based on romantic relationships. And all these sweet fairy tales show us for 30 years in a row that the true love can be between a boy and a girl only. I know 99% of you just won’t get what i feel. And you will never be able to understand this feeling, when everything everywhere forcibly shoves heterosexual relationships right in your face. Well, tv-shows started a quite aggressively LGBT-promotion these days, and on the one hand i’m glad, but on the other hand I feel like they doing it so ridiculously wrong, they think they need to add a black and a gay character in the show and screw the plot, who needs a plot. I wouldn’t like Final Fantasy to be like that, of course not. But is it really hard to put at least one or two gay or lesbian characters that would be as awesome as any other character? Or at least provide the CHOICE. I would be happy if i could make a choice like ‘sorry, Yuna, let’s be friends’.
I understand odonis. Video games, including Final Fantasy, doesn’t have a representation of all possible viewpoints. And as I said before, this may have to do with the fact that the audience is overwhelmingly heterosexual. Maybe in the future, we’ll get more diversity. We’re finding out one doesn’t necessarily need to share the identity in order to empathize. But for now, we’ll have to be patient until developers finally realize it’s OK for other interpretations of characters.
Just imagine if every game had gay love stories only, and you’re still heterosexual. You would have no interest in this kind of relationships, right? You couldn’t wait for a ‘normal’ love story. But your favorite franchise doesn’t care, they make only gay stories, and all those hundreds of characters are LGBT. But you really love the plot and atmosphere of every game and trying to turn a blind eye to countless gays and lesbians, but yet you have THAT feeling. I just hope you could imagine it and understand me. I feel the same but vice versa, I am poor homosexual that has to observe the one and only true and right love in both real and fictional world. There’s no place for me people like me even in the fantasy world, cool right?
Again, this is exactly why video game developers haven’t taken the risk to include more LGBT characters. The main audience consists of heterosexual gamers who might have no interests in seeing an LGBT relationship. Of course, this is changing and more people are becoming receptive to story narratives featuring non-traditional characters.
Just wanted to share my thought, didn’t want to offend anybody. Peace from Russia. Oh right, and sorry for my poor english.
LGBT characters haven’t truly been prevalent in the gaming community. But only in the 2000s has gaming included greater diversity (beyond the assorted stereotypes). Before they were punchlines (Mukki). This is more so in Japan than it is in the West, and it could be cultural, as Aruu stated:
As others have said, Japan is slightly behind when it comes to LGBT + rights. It’s unlikely to change soon, but I imagine that they’ll become a little more open to the idea of same-sex relationships in the future, even if they’re not the main couple of the game.
And if this is true, baixiaolang has an interesting perspective on this issue:
I’m gay too and I think this is a bad topic. Japan has different cultural values and different aesthetics. They might “look gay” (lol no) or “indistinguishable from girls” (lolol no) to you, but neither of those things holds true as a blanket statement for Japan.
Also Japan is pretty bad at handling lgbt issues, so I’d prefer they just not, because I wouldn’t trust them to not be offensive with it.
Several people in the discussion thread listed “Fang and Vanille” as THE LGBT couple of Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy XIII hints they may be lovers. But odonis is specifically referencing characters that “look” as if they could be LGBT characters; they’ve either been flamboyant (i.e. Kefka) or effeminate (i.e. Kuja) “looking” villains. But “looking gay” isn’t reason enough that a character should be gay. In some cultures, men wear purses and don’t consider themselves gay for it. And some women find this to be incredibly attractive. Might they be the target audience?
But I agree with odonis: diversity and alternate romantic relationships would be nice to see, for variety sake. One day, we’ll get there but even in real life it’s not that common to see, so it’s not enough to make people feel comfortable to play in a game. But I’m sure that if Final Fantasy XIII can hint at it, we’ll get around to another LGBT relationship eventually.