Hey Nikkolas, I've seen you opening this topic at gamefaq and ended up here. I only have an account here so that's where I will share my thoughts about this issue (but I'm interested in people's responses at gamefaq).
Well, like QuiteBrilliantIndeed, I'm a female Xeno fan so maybe those things feel more obvious and insulting to us. Overall, she's absolutely right. Xenogears is filled with sexism. I don't know if it's a problem with the game alone or the era it was done (because the other Xeno games are SO MUCH BETTER
when it comes to the treatment of female characters... and Monolith Soft happens to be now a pretty female friendly company *from what I heard*). Honestly, I think FF7 has issues with that too (Aerith is probably the most independant *in more ways than one* female character of the game despite her getting killed and not being trained to fight... Yuffie is cool too... but I have issues with Tifa, Shera and maybe even Elena... and MUCH LIKE XENOGEARS, seems like almost every mothers/wives died somehow... the big freaky female antagonist is also a puppet *Miang=JENOVA*). Not really surprising when you know Xenogears was proposed as FF7 at first and Kato wrote scenes for both games (both games also reference themselves *Comatose Cloud in FF7 and Tifa's poster in XG*). They're sort of sister-games.
I happen to adore Xenogears. But the sexism is an issue for me (one among a few others) and I can say that the story would be a much better one if it wasn't a thing. Think about it, Xenogears is about emancipation. However, female characters are still stucked at the end of game. Humanity breaks free from "gods", but women are still ruled upon by men. IMO, the game would be so much stronger if women also broke free from patriarchy.
Elly would be such a better character if she REALLY acted as the protector/guide/companion for the Contact instead of JUST his love interest. She would also be so much better if she was portrayed as a competent soldier. I understand that she had doubts about herself and Gebler military must be shitty for someone who is compationate towards land dwellers. But she must have worked hard to be there. She wanted to prove her worth to her father by going against what he expected of her (which was a nice start, a rebellous daughter with something to prove). It really doesn't make sense that she would not be AT LEAST somewhat competent. Like, think back to when we meet Elly in the forest. I personally would have liked it better if she, at least, tried to defend herself against the Rankar (she would still need Fei's help, but he wasn't likely to do better himself without a Gear so it would be understandable that they would struggle against this beast *Elly had basic elemental powers though... but maybe that wouldn't have been enough... or maybe her powers would be weakened by her mental state at the time*). I can excuse her being knocked unconscious by surprise before (especially if she was tired). Also, gameplay wise, Elly should have kept the gun (rods and gun, imagine that). Also, Vierge was RIDICULOUSLY GIRLY, WHAT THE HELL ! Having Vierge be more redish and more importantly NOT FARTING LITTLE PINK HEARTS ALL OVER THE PLACE DURING BATTLE WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE RESPECTFUL. What kind of army does that anyway !? Also, having seen the scenes again recently, the way she's treated by her squad is vomit enducing. SHE OUTRANKS YOU, YOU MORONIC PIGS! SHUT YOUR TRAPS AND FOLLOW ORDERS! You really have to wonder how the hell they went to this to... "Aw, boss, we're your friends !" in Disk2.
Like QuiteBrilliantIndeed said, the Element girls are also really problematic and a letdown. Why could Jesiah, Sigurd, Hyuga and Ramsus be treated as 3dimentional characters with interesting stories but not Dominia, Kelvena, Tolone and Seraphita (even just a bit) ? It's a REAL shame because, imo, the Element girls could have been really awesome. Dominia is the only one who somewhat get a backstory... but barely a real goal aside helping a male character (though I don't mind her sharing Ramsus' ideals, watching the cutscenes again recently, I realized how similar they both are to each other). And SURPRISE, she's actually butch looking while the others are girly (she's also the only girl who slaps Elly... we have a manly looking woman beating a girly looking one... ... ... yeah, I know, ugh). Think about Tolone ! Nothing is ever said about her. Personally, I think Krelian worked on her as an attempt to mix human and machine, way before he could do it with Gears thanks to Nikolai and Emeralda. Which could make Tolone actually much older than she seems... as well as fascinating. Does Tolone remembers her human self ? How does she consider Krelian ? Does she hate him like Ramsus hate his creators for abandoning him ? Would she bond with Emeralda for the short time she got taken away (having a scene where she accompanies the girl to Krelian's lab would be interesting) ? All this musing for a female character who is completely left unexplained in the game and Perfect Works. And what about Seraphita ? She seemed to be a joker but what if this was just an act ? She's demi-human and she probably was a victim of racism. Also, in battle (forget the game for a while... since they always lose against the party), she's probably fairly dangerous (maybe more than the others... therefore her being the leader perhaps). And she's the FREAKING LEADER. Her character surely deserved better than being portrayed as a mere moron (also, what the hell with the panties?). Kelvena was probably the most calm and normal of the 3 (the Hyuga of the group? they both have crazy mental abilities after all)... but she was Elly's closest friend in Jugend and it was BARELY explored.
Such UNEXPLORED POTENTIAL :frown3: . They're just the unfunny team rocket quatuor in the game... but look at what could have been !! Also, talking about the Elements and Enneagram types... I think A.C. (from Xenotensei) really mistyped them ALL as 6... just because they're serving under Ramsus' command. It makes no sense because they actually DO have different personalities. Seraphita is probably a 7 as the fun one, Dominia arguably is a 6 (but she's so reckless/above following orders that I wonder if type 8 doesn't fit her a bit more... that or she's a 3, like Ramsus). I don't really know for Kelvena and Tolone. Type 1 for Tolone and 6 for Kelvena maybe (as Kelvena is the most dutiful and Tolone... she actually reminds me a little bit of Billy... maybe her appearance doesn't help).
Also, concerning Margie... I never really thought of her as THAT similar to Elly. Sure, Margie wants to help and serve her cousin/king, but her personality is so much more... spunky than Elly's (Margie reminds me a bit of Aerith from FF7 actually... and Aerith is certainly not a Type 2 despite being nice... some people types her as a 7 actually). Is she really a Type 2 ? Also, Margie should have been playable and even owned a Gear... hell, she should have been able to be Bart's co-pilot after they found Andvari. She was as deserving of it as he was ! Margie has this entire goal of wanting to protect Bart, just like he did for her when they were children... and yet she never really does because the game won't allow it. She's also the one who speak her mind about guys' sexist shit (much like again, Aerith from FF7). She really should have been able to protect Bart in return... much like Fiora and Shulk did with each other in Xenoblade actually.
I just need an entirely separate bullet point for that scene where Fei insists that Elly stay behind. The whole thing is vomit-inducing for obvious reasons, and it's capped off by this lovely piece of dialogue
It's gross, yeah. However, there is a decent reason why Elly was told not to come. Her new role towards the people of Nisan. I thought a lot about this when I considered Margie as a playable character. We know being a symbol/holy mother in Nisan makes you as important as a political figure... or yeah, the pope. So, obviously, no one would allow Nisan's pope figure to risk her life. Sophia actually risked it and even sacrificed it... and it had major consequences. I guess, as a playable character, Margie would be really defying the sisters and ultimately... Queen Zephyr would get involved because she would feel hugely guilty about Sophia's death and wouldn't want the same kind of thing to happen again. I frankly think the situation was a bit more complicated than just "stay in the kitchen/behind because you're a gurl" ... even if the scene also stinked of this unfortunately. Speaking of "staying in the kitchen", BOO towards the people who stucked Yui Uzuki in there for the entire game ! She surely was more than that !! Especially as the daughter/granddaughter of one of the 3 great sages of Shevat and a kickass swordwoman. And then, she disappeared without explanation... BOO !! I know it happened to male characters (poor Jesiah) too... but at least they appeared a little bit in cutscenes.
Even Maria!!! The girl has barely any character, and zero personality, because her part in the plot is not about her own struggles and development, but rather about her father's. She not even piloting her own robot. Her father's spirit does that.
Actually, it's a bit worse. It's actually Maria's mother, Claudia, who controled her robot. But for some reason, they decided to give Nikolai all the spotlight. Geez, Claudia could have done it herself. Of course, you only learn this if you read Perfect Works, it's not in the game. It would have been less ridiculous (and even more dramatic), come to think about it, if Claudia had been recognized as the pilot and mercy killed her hudband (think about it, Maria doesn't even know at this point that her mother is inside the robot, it would have been great as a twist). Nikolai was inside another Gear already ! Why would they ALSO put him in Seibzhen ?
And of course, it doesn't stop there. But I will. For now.