Female roles in Suikoden

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Wolkendrache
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Female roles in Suikoden

Postby Wolkendrache » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:36 am

This came back into my mind when we discussed some female characters in another thread…

Some years ago I’ve read an essay about female roles in the Shuihu Zhuan. There are basically 4 different roles of females:
- Good woman or faithful wife (e.g. Lin Chong’s wife)
- Bad woman or adulterous wife (e.g. Wu Song’s sister-in-law, Yang Xiong’s wife)
- Man-woman or amazon (all female SoD)
- Mysterious woman (imperial concubine Li Shishi)

Now, I tried to do something similar for S2. Suikoden has much more complex and a much greater variety of female characters (thankfully!!!). Whenever I mention femininity, I’m talking about personality and behavior etc, not about appearance. This makes sense because artwork designer and novel writer are usually not the same persons, so that’s probably why S1 Kasumi’s artwork and her personality totally contradict. Here we go…
- “Underage adventurer”: Millie, Meg, Wakaba, Yuzu, Tomo, Ayda. Girls who haven’t developed femininity yet.
- “Teengirl in love”: Eilie, Nina. Young women who behave feminine, but haven’t fully discovered the field of sexuality or femininity yet.
- “Engaged woman”: Nanami, Yoshino, Hilda, Tengaar. However feminine they are, it doesn’t matter, because they are bound to a specific character.
- “Amazon”: Hanna, Oulan, Kasumi, Valeria, Lorelai, Lo Wen. Adult woman who don’t behave feminine. You could almost replace them with males by just changing name and artwork, without changing their personality (of course you shouldn’t). Just think of Atalanta in case you’ve watched the Dwayne Johnson Hercules movie. Men don’t touch them for fear of getting beaten up.
- “Heroine”: Anita, Rina, Karen. As strong as amazons, but they don’t hide their femininity. If you want to replace them with males, you would need to change more than just name and artwork.
- “Nerd”: Apple, Barbara, Emilia, Annallee. Similar to the engaged woman, but these are bound to their job, that’s why their femininity doesn’t really matter.
- “Auntie”: Leona, Taki. Since they are superior in life experience, their role is to teach the young.
- “Mystery”: Jeane, Raura, Sierra. Although they are arguably very attractive to men, they seem not to care about sexuality. Maybe they are similar to amazons in a way that men don’t get close to them for fear of a punishment, but even harder than a beating.
I didn’t know where to put Teresa (nerd or auntie) and Viki (underage or mystery).

Maybe this gives you a different perspective on the female characters. Think about your favorite female characters (in terms of personality rather than gameplay or looks) of any Suikoden game, can you identify a specific role you’re really in favor of? (You don’t need to follow my model, maybe you’ll identify other roles.)
Moreover, if you were to create the first female hero of Suikoden, would you have their femininity fully developed or not (underage) and displayed (heroine) or not (amazon)? Will her femininity only be displayed when together with a certain character (engaged) or will she just discover her femininity throughout the story (teengirl)? Or anything else?
"Within the four seas, all men are brothers" Shuihu Zhuan

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Neclord X
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby Neclord X » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:17 am

I think the Teengirls in love and most Enganged woman (Nanami and Tengaar) could fit in "underage adventurers"

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sticky-runes
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby sticky-runes » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:14 am

The Lady Tactician
She may be your chief strategist or a secondary strategist who stands in for your chief strategist when he or she is not available. she has studied the art of war and is an essential ally. The less experienced Lady Tactician may be prone to mistakes, while the more accomplished Lady Tactician may have some personal baggage.
Lady Tacticians: Elenor Silverberg, Lucretia Merces, Apple, Agnes, Lelei

The Protective Sister
She was a friend of yours before the game began. she knows things about your character that even you don't know. She will stick by you through anything and remain a loyal friend to the end. she is very aware of your closest relationships and family affairs, and she doesn't judge you.
Protective Sisters include: Cleo, Nanami, Paula, Jewel, Lyon, Miakis.

The Matron
Usually an innkeeper or woman in charge of a facility, she is a mature woman who can be strict and yet caring. She doesn't complain, and she doesn't suffer complaints from others. She can take charge in any situation, whether it's a classy establishment in the city or a shabby castle ruin. The more experienced matron knows how to keep her family and staff in check.
Characters fulfilling this role: Marie, Barbara, Luce, Silva, Louise. Hilda and Marina can be seen as matrons in the making.

The Muse
An artist and performer, before joining your army she had the job of entertaining members of the public, and she continues that role, entertaining your troops and their families and keeping their spirits up during their down time. She may even use her talents to inspire courage in your troops on the field of battle.
Characters playing this role: Mina, Karen, Annallee, Chisato, Rania

The Consultant
Like a Lady Tactician, only you seek her advice in non-critical situations. This can include seeking non-essential allies to join your cause, or just to remind you of what you're supposed to be doing. A bit like having your own personal wise woman.
Characters: Onil, Hellion, Taki, Debora, Fuyo

The Huntress
This lady doesn't particularly care about your personal history or the country's political affairs. she has her own agenda, and she may join your cause if she thinks it will lead to helpful clues. Or, she may simply join you out of respect, gratitude or curiosity, and she's got some free time on her hands any way, so why not. Even though The Huntress is not heavily involved with your personal situation, you will probably end up liking this girl. A lot. And you'll make sure there's a slot in your party to fit her in, preferably alongside some other female you've got the hots for.
Characters in this role: Lorelai, Ayda, Frederika, Isabel, Hazuki

The Devotee
Like a Huntress, but less mature. She is following in the footsteps of someone, whether a master, elder relative or someone she has a fascination with. She can be fun and endearing or really annoying. sometimes both. another name would be "fangirl" or "groupie" but those names sound kind of derogatory.
Devotees include: Meg, Wakaba, Lu, Wendell, Noah, Alanis, Sanae, Emilia

The Craftswoman
This lady is required to make stuff, and perform maintenance tasks around your HQ. She likes to keep her hands and her mind busy. She can be an interior designer or a mechanic. There are various craftswomen with various skills, from forging suits of armour to forging fake documents.
Craftswomen include: Adrienne, Pecola, Mermaids, Kimberley, Shizu

The Battle Maiden
These women are war goddesses. They are Athena, Sekhmet, Morrigan and the Valkyries. While your Lady tacticians are giving direction, these ladies are wielding the sword or casting the spell. They often take charge of a unit and have a high rank, and will likely be present during major war meetings, getting ready to take your troops into battle.
Battle Maidens include: Valeria, Sonya, Milia, Chris, Lucia, Katarina, Zerase, Raja (older ones would be classed as Battle Matriarchs)
Last edited by sticky-runes on Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wolkendrache
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby Wolkendrache » Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:08 am

Wow, you’ve given a lot of thoughts into this! I see, you’re rather focusing on their profession and their relation to the hero in particular than on their level of femininity and its display. That’s fine, just do as you prefer. May I remind you of my questions in the OP? I’d be really interested in you guys’ answers to these.

If I were to create a female hero, then first of all, she should be relatively mature. Nothing against immature side characters, they’re cute for a moment, but can quickly become annoying. I’d probably make the female hero an amazon as initial standard, and then the game should give you options to develop/display femininity like starting a romance. So if you’re a girl fed up with relations for some reason or if you’re a homophobic male, you can choose to not develop a romance with a male. If you’re interested in a romance or if you’re able to not (or not only) identify with the hero character, you can start a relationship, but the game should give you a selection of different characters to romance with. This would be similar to Baldur’s Gate 2 (where you could even have a homosexual relationship and which is why the game was taken off the shelves in some countries iirc). However, it doesn’t have to be a romance, whenever the hero gets a choice of different answers, it’s no problem to have some feminine answers among them rather than only neutral ones (S5 was already going into that direction, you could choose to begin a relationship with Lyon, and you could follow Kyle to visit Jeane, so you didn’t have to keep the hero androgynous).

What I like about Rina, Anita, Sialeeds, Nifsara etc. is that they’re not only capable of defeating men physically, they can and would also break men with specifically female “weapons” (amazons cannot and/or wouldn’t do that). Nanami had an epic fail there, but at least she tried and gave us a laugh.
"Within the four seas, all men are brothers" Shuihu Zhuan

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sticky-runes
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby sticky-runes » Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:34 pm

For a female Tenkai star, I think I'd go mage knight. Somewhere between Katarina and Miakis - I like Katarina's look and her lady-like soldier manner, but I wouldn't want a staff as my main weapon. And I like Miakis' fighting style, but I wouldn't want her to be too ninja like, and not as humorous/eccentric. But somewhere between those two characters would be great. I'd like her to be strong, but still have need of a bodyguard close by. Her sworn protector star could be the hulking amazon like Hanna/Oulan/Helga who you place on the front line, and she acts like a walking chastity belt threatening anyone who makes an inappropriate comment in front of the heroin. I think that would be an interesting direction to go in.

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby wataru14 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:46 pm

I had a female Tenkai in the Suikoden D&D game I ran last year. She was a long-range mage, elf. A lot of the story revolved around her sexuality and awakening into womanhood, but she was never played as lovesick and she had a personality beyond her romantic relationships. She had a protector character that was slightly concerned about her virtue, but that was more of a "you have a duty to give it up to another elf since we're almost extinct on this continent and not drop your drawers to every handsome human boy-who-might-be-king who comes along" thing. The female Tenkai thing worked very well for us, and I think a woman leading the gathering Stars in a future game would be one hell of a story.

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby Wolkendrache » Thu Dec 11, 2014 8:07 am

sticky-runes wrote:For a female Tenkai star, I think I'd go mage knight. Somewhere between Katarina and Miakis...

Imagine you had to choose an existing female Suikoden character as the Tenkai Star (ignore personality and background of course), my top choice would be Miakis, because she’s a deadly fighter, a good mage, and has a unique weapon. Sierra is also a good mage, has an even more unique weapon (I don’t even know what it is), but is not as deadly physically. Sonya is a mage knight but her weapon is boring. Lorelai (halberd or whip) is a little inferior in terms of magic power. Cleo has it all, but L-range weapons don’t have kick-ass attack animations.
sticky-runes wrote:The Battle Maiden
These women are war goddess. They are Athena, Sekhmet, Morrigan and the Valkyries.

When I was working on a S2 Tactics sequel, I created a female hero with a pair of hooked swords and a unique rune, similar to Kika. She has a unite attack with 3 other “battle maidens” which I originally called Athena Attack, but changed it to War Goddess Attack. Her constant companion is not a bodyguard (in fact she is a bodyguard herself), but a wise wizard, perhaps comparable to the guy in Tales of Earthsea.
wataru14 wrote:I had a female Tenkai in the Suikoden D&D game I ran last year. She was a long-range mage, elf. A lot of the story revolved around her sexuality and awakening into womanhood, but she was never played as lovesick and she had a personality beyond her romantic relationships.

That’s what I’m talking about: give the female hero as much choice as possible. You don’t need to romance of course, go “beyond” that or “underneath” that, however you want to play the heroine. That’s the good thing about dice&paper D&D games, it’s easier to give the players more choices. BTW, I’ve checked your webpage about your game, it’s impressive and looks like it was a lot of work. I hope it was even much more fun. And I like the idea of having a female hero, as well as having a non-human one.
"Within the four seas, all men are brothers" Shuihu Zhuan

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sticky-runes
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby sticky-runes » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:15 am

Wolkendrache wrote:Imagine you had to choose an existing female Suikoden character as the Tenkai Star (ignore personality and background of course), my top choice would be Miakis, because she’s a deadly fighter, a good mage, and has a unique weapon. Sierra is also a good mage, has an even more unique weapon (I don’t even know what it is), but is not as deadly physically. Sonya is a mage knight but her weapon is boring. Lorelai (halberd or whip) is a little inferior in terms of magic power. Cleo has it all, but L-range weapons don’t have kick-ass attack animations.


One thing I'd like to see is characters who can perform long range and short range attacks. They sort of did this with the ninjas in Suikoden 3, where they throw shurikens from a distance and use swords or claws at short range. A style that is cross between Cleo and Miakis would be kinda nice, so she can slash enemies closeup and still engage in duels at certain points in the game, but if you want to keep the heroin safe, she can still toss her weapons from the back row.

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby BrucePrintscreen » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:28 am

Women of Suikoden are awesome, all of them, all in their different ways.

I already said it, one of the best things about suikoden is that you fight for diversity, you head an army of colourful, varied individuals against a grey block of uniforms. Women in suikoden are part of it, they are all different, all living their feminity their own way, but they all contribute.

My daughter will be allowed to play suikoden also for this. Whoever suikoden girl(s) become her heroine(s), I know it will be a good example.

Wolkendrache
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby Wolkendrache » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:01 pm

Sheesh! You sound like a politician on an election campaign! A nice lurid speech on individuality! :wink:

That’s a strange view on a simple and legitimate analysis of female roles. We’ve just found some similarities between certain characters, without saying that these make them identical. So I wouldn’t elect you for the head of the institute for literary studies, but if I had to find a father for orphan kids, I’d choose you, because more kids deserve a liberal, smart and humorous dad. Keep it up, Ferid! :)
"Within the four seas, all men are brothers" Shuihu Zhuan

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BrucePrintscreen
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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby BrucePrintscreen » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:58 pm

Thank you for voting for the Printscreen/Silverberg ticket in 2016! :D

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby BrucePrintscreen » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:59 pm

Oh I just realised I offended you with my previous comment, sorry it was not my intention to disparage your analysis, I was actually going in your direction :)

...so do you also vote for me as head of the institute? :P

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby sticky-runes » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:15 pm

I've been thinking about Hilda lately (Recently played the White Deer Inn section of S2) and it's interesting that she makes her own impact on the story, despite being one of the most unassuming characters in the whole game - she's not a soldier or a sorceress who can help win a battle or slay dozens of monsters by wielding weapons and rune magic, she's a humble innkeeper, playing the part of a loving mother and wife struggling to support her family while her husband chases his dreams of finding treasure so his family can become rich overnight.

She never shouts at Alex, she puts up with his treasure obsession and doesn't complain when he dumps childminding duties on her while he heads off on a treasure hunt. And Hilda ultimately is the treasure that Alex goes off searching for. we go through a whole dungeon, traversing waterway mechanisms and fighting monsters and a giant two headed snake, and instead of finding tons of gold or fancy jewels or a special magical artifact like we might find in another RPG, Alex is given a chance to put his wife first when it seems she's about to die. He got to realize that even if he did become filthy rich, it would have meant nothing without his wife and the mother of his son.

It also seems that Hilda gets treated with the respect she deserves after she recovers. She gets to make the decisions instead of suffering Alex's outbursts. she makes the bold decision to move the family into Riou's castle so they can help with the war effort by providing an inn and shop. And Alex even gets to prove he's become a better man by defeating Killey - not by beating him up, but by gesturing to his wife and son, showing that his family is more valuable than any treasure that he was hoping to dig up in those ruins.

So there ya go, the love of a gentle woman becomes a powerful weapon in the Suikoden world, not by being brutal or domineering, but by being patient and kind and nurturing to those around her.

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby Sasarai10 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:41 pm

Personally i'm attracted to the "Amazon" type mostly. :D

But Lorelai an amazon??? she isn't tall at all (if u remember in S5). And Kasumi definetely not an amazon.....i'd say "teengirl in love".

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Re: Female roles in Suikoden

Postby BrucePrintscreen » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:13 am

Sasarai10: Valeria is the woman. THE woman.

sticky: your analysis is totally right. Hilda matters. And Alex learnt the right lesson. He's so much better than Killey. I sometimes think as Hilda & Alex and their son as what you are fighting for in this war; you're fighting for such families to exist without the fear of Luca and his madness.


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