From start to finish, Yuzu showed great skill in evoking groans and activating our prefrontal cortices as we combated the urge to throw our DSes against a wall. Rather than add something productive to the conversations in Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor, Yuzu serves more as a burden and obligation than an ally. While Abel and Atsuro discuss real strategies to escape or better their situation, Yuzu complains endlessly about running away and wanting to go home. Should we debase her because of her human need for safety and security? Of course not, but incessant whining certainly won't remedy any problem. What perplexes us is that although Devil Survivor is a five-star game, it squanders the lead female protagonist by relying on inane banter and stereotypes. Pink, large-breasted, and in distress? Sounds like a concoction made in literary hell. Speaking of literacy, she is the only character whose text messages require effort to read. Sure, that's how many people text, but why does it have to be Yuzu alone? We were under the impression that protagonists are supposed to be likeable; not self-absorbed, ditzy liabilities.
Shirley Fennes was intended to be a Mary Sue. For those who don't know what that is, it's a character who stands to be a Little Miss Perfect. Writers often try to force on their audience how amazing and perfect this particular character is. Many people who played Tales of Legendia will be the first to tell you that it's a love triangle gone terribly wrong. See, Senel chooses the wrong girl, and it's even more infuriating because it's Shirley, a girl that was impossible to connect with. Why is Shirley so annoying? She's fragile beyond repair; she's allergic to the sea and breeze. And in all of this, in an even weaker moment, she threatens to kill everyone. Why? Because the main character was in love with her sister, who just passed away, and Shirley is in love with him. Senel is healing from the wound of losing someone he had intense feelings about, and in the end, he must push it all back and confess his love for Shirley. It might have worked, if it didn't feel so forced. As such, we come out with a bitter, selfish character, whose place in the game feels forced all the way through. Were we supposed to like Shirley because she was pretty and dainty? Because it didn't work. She has little substance and class, and that's why she's earned a spot on this list. Not to mention she got kidnapped so many times in this game, you have to wonder if she liked playing the role of the victim. What's most disappointing about this is that there were unique characters such as Jay, Chloe, and Moses. Shirley just took up space that was better left for them.
Without a doubt, Princess Peach has ingrained gender stereotypes into our youth for generations. Parents have proudly purchased the newest Mario game for their children through the years, and this includes the RPGs. Before they know it, young Tina and Tommy are saving the helpless princess. Again. What's worse, Peach lacks depth, despite enjoying over two decades of exposure. Sure, Nintendo should be commended for keeping it simple, stupid (KISS), but give the poor girl some meat; all interpretations of that previous statement would likely build character. Granted, Peach doesn't just serve as a support character in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Indeed, she serves up some whoop ass on a hot skillet, or glove, or whatever. However, ability on the field of combat alone is but a small step. Then again, with voice acting like we've witnessed over the years, taking Peach seriously won't happen anytime soon.
The women in our Hall of Shame make us facepalm because they represent the epitomes of bad archetypes, including the Mary Sue, the damsel-in-distress anachronism, the petulant drama queen, and more. Traits that either set women's rights back to the dark ages or highlight the most exaggerated negative stereotypes of the gender do not make for compelling protagonists. We've even seen RPGs, like Star Ocean: The Last Hope and Mimana Iyar Chronicle, where entire casts of characters all exemplify the archetypes we dislike.
But when one woman possesses practically ALL the fail found in the women of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Mimana Iyar Chronicle, our other Hall of Shame inductees, and more, that cannot be ignored. This pathetic paragon of fail is none other than Shion Uzuki from the Xenosaga series.
Shion is supposed to have a PhD or some other fancy degree, right? Well, given how stupid, clueless, and stupidly clueless she acts sometimes, I simply cannot believe that she actually earned a doctorate. That a seemingly intelligent woman would actually consider that ridiculous apple diet absolutely kills me.
Shion is also very petulant, whiny, and immature. She often acts like an entitled spoiled brat, throwing tantrums and hissy fits when she does not get her way. Her internal monologues in the third Xenosaga games are typical JRPG wangst that I would expect from a 13-15 year-old. Her interactions with people also sound more like those a 13-15 year-old girl would have than an adult woman in her 20s. But the biggest flaw in her already meager people skills is her relationships with men. She seems to project "daddy issues" onto her older brother Jin (who takes it all in great stride), she lets herself be manipulated by a poisonous user of a boyfriend, and the way she treats (or rather mistreats) Allen throughout the series is appalling. (Okay, the fact that he still continues to follow her like a puppy dog is pretty pathetic too, but that's another rant for another time.) You would think that over the course of three games she would grow and develop, but she barely budges and remains an immature, petulant brat throughout the saga.
To add insult to injury, in the first and third games she has one of the most grating, nails-on-a-chalkboard voices I've had the displeasure of hearing. I know that's a very shallow complaint, but it just makes this already undesirable character that much worse. The only redeeming quality she has is that she looks fine, but if her only redeeming quality is a weakly superficial one, then it's as good as having no redeeming qualities at all.
The quick and dirty of it is that Shion is a simpering weenie who is too foolish to respect as an intelligent authority, too childish to respect as a leader, and too much of an emotionally unbalanced drama queen to respect as an ally or friend.
Star Ocean: The Last Hope offers a variety pack of exaggerated negative stereotypes of women. Any one of the ladies in that game could earn a spot in our Hall of Shame. However, choosing just one as the worst of the worst was a nigh-impossible task, thus we bestow the dubious honor onto the cast as a whole.
Each woman in Star Ocean: The Last Hope is equally bad in her own special way. Myuria is a typical fan service girl whose bosom spills out of a skimpy outfit. Lymle's childish act would be tolerable, were she 5 years old and not 15, 'kay? Surely no one is as clueless as she is to the world around her, right? Oh wait, Sarah is! Sarah is a pure and innocent "moe" archetype gone horribly wrong. Sorry, but there is nothing endearing about being obliviously out-to-lunch all the time. It only gets worse with Meracle, the 16-year-old catgirl who acts like she's 6, dresses like a streetwalker, and offers a cavalcade of moments that elicit more facepalms than exclamations of "Aww, kawaii!" To quote the surly burly guy in the cartoon 2 Stupid Dogs: "Isn't that cute... BUT IT'S WRONG!!!"
And we saved the best for last: Welch. They say an image is worth a thousand words, so these will do the talking:
We realize some readers out there would counter with, "But Reimi was alright." She is the best of the worst, but that's not difficult given her peers. And even when judged on her own merits, she's far from a prize given her sudden "bipolar drama queen" style mood swings.
Deciding between Star Ocean: The Last Hope or Mimana Iyar Chronicle for worst ensemble cast of women was difficult. However, the fact that there were TWO nominees for "Worst ensemble cast of poorly portrayed women" is pretty appalling in this day and age. The male characters in both those casts are terrible as well, but that's another rant for another time. In this case, the worse cast received the dishonor and will forever live in infamy.
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