NAMCO FEMALE AGE RULE?!
*NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED*
*THESE ARE PURELY MY OPINIONS/TAKES ON WORKS OF NAMCO*
Hello Gamers! As of now, Soul Calibur V has been released in Video Game consoles and reception of the game (based on forums/gaming websites) has been mixed.
There were praises regarding it’s gameplay, graphics, character customizations, however, there were also complaints from some gamers (search videos in youtube from bloggers ranting about their takes on SCV).
One particular outcry from the gaming community was the absence of majority of favorite and iconic female characters in the franchise. Most gamers agree that the reason why these female characters were dropped is because of the Plot’s timeline which takes place 17 years later after Soul Calibur IV. This was also similar in the Tekken series where there was a 19 year gap between Tekken 2 and Tekken 3. Thanks to this video I saw in youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFht_6AWGWY, I suddenly realized that there was a trending in these NAMCO-developed games where male characters were allowed to age throughout the series/succeeding installments and still be playable while females who approach middle age in succeeding installments were either:
*dropped from the series
*replaced by a younger character inheriting their fighting style
*simply delay/stop the aging process via plot details
This has been unofficially dubbed as the “NAMCO FEMALE AGE RULE”
Below are the NAMCO Babes who survived the “rule” and some who didn’t: (Warning! Major plot spoilers)
NINA WILLIAMS, the iconic blonde assassin
Nina was introduced as an assassin where her targets are usually at the King of Iron Fist Tournaments sponsored by the Mishima Conglomerate. Her drop dead gorgeous looks, skin tight purple outfits, cold personality and brutal moves made her a solid fan favorite in Tekken.. an icon, in a sense.
Nina in Tekken 2 (22 years old)
Nina was the most popular Namco female since her debut in Tekken so I see that the developers wanted to retain her youth to maintain her appeal towards the Tekken community. The Tekken developers decided that after the events of Tekken 2, Nina was captured by the Mishima Conglomerate and was made a test subject of Cryosleep where her physical appearance remained unchanged. After 19 years, she was awakened by Ogre, the god of fighting. She woke up with amnesia targeting Jin Kazama in Tekken 3. Up to this day, she has never been dropped from any Tekken installment. She even had her own spin-off title from Tekken, Death by Degrees, where she is the main character.
Nina in Tekken 3 (chronologically 41 years old)
ANNA WILLIAMS, the feisty Brunette
Anna is famous for her sister war with Nina so it just makes sense that she must be present in installments where Nina is. Despite her Irish heritage, she enjoys wearing sexy Chinese dresses which is another thing she’s also famous for. As with her storyline, after learning that her sister was captured to become a cryosleep experiment subject, Anna realized that Nina will retain her youth while she would continue to age. Anna soon approached Dr. Boskonovitch, the head of the cryosleep experiment so that she can join the cryosleep and be awaken at the same time with Nina.
Anna in Tekken 2 (20 years old)
Although she didn’t make the cut in Tekken 4, Anna reappeared in Tekken 5 and looks like she will be present in future installments. Besides, her breasts/butt shaking win pose provides fan service to gamers.
Anna in Tekken 3 (chronologically 39 years old)
MICHELLE CHANG, the original Native American girl
Despite being half Chinese, Michelle is probably known the original Native American girl of Tekken. Her main role in the series is to seek revenge against the Mishimas for causing troubles in her family. (Heihachi murdered her father while Kazuya had her mother kidnapped)
Michelle in Tekken 2 (20 years old)
After Tekken 2, Michelle rescued and adopted an abandoned baby and named her Julia and soon taught her various Chinese Martial Arts. However, Michelle was the first “victim” of the “rule” and was replaced by her adopted daughter, Julia Chang, in succeeding Tekken games. One worth noting is that in Julia’s Tekken 3 ending, Michelle seemed not to have aged at all!
Julia in Tekken 3 (18 years old)
JUN KAZAMA, the nature girl
Jun had a pretty big impact on Tekken fans since her debut. Her smooth aikido-inspired fighting style and spiritual personality were well received by fans. After Tekken 2, Jun realized that she was pregnant with Kazuya Mishima’s child (she was constantly drawn to him during the tournament and became intimate with him). She retreated to a remote region in Japan to raise her child alone. 15 years later, their home was attacked by Ogre and Jun is nowhere to be found. However, up to this day, Tekken 2 was her only canon appearance and her official status is “missing.”
Jun in Tekken 2 (22 years old)
In Tekken 5, it was revealed that Jun has a living brother. This brother of hers has a daughter named Asuka Kazama (this would make Asuka the niece of Jun). Asuka joins the King of Iron fist Tournament to avenge her father after their dojo was attacked by a certain Chinese martial artist. Despite her extreme contrast in personality with Jun, Asuka represented the Kazama fighting style in succeeding canon installments.
Asuka in Tekken 5 (17 years old)
KUNIMITSU, the fox devil
Kunimitsu was once a ninja who wields a sheath knife under Yoshimitsu’s Manji Ninja Clan. After being expelled from the Manji Clan because of her thievery, Kunimitsu continued her theft activities and was determined to steal his sword for her grandfather to make a copy of it. Despite debuting in Tekken 1, Kunimitsu has always been a low-tier character among the Tekken community. After Tekken 2, she has not appeared in a canon game ever since. Despite it, I really find her fox mask iconic.
Kunimitsu in Tekken 2
ANGEL, the divine one
Angel is the spirit who battles Devil in order to have Kazuya’s soul. Having only appeared canonically in Tekken 2, Angel was a palette swap of Devil in Tekken 2 and in my opinion, had no big impact on the plot. However, her and Devil’s fighting style is really popular among gamers (the infamous laser). Also, I find it rare to see a “Divine” character in Tekken who can TRULY defy the aging process.
Angel in Tekken 2
IVY, the cursed-blood alchemist
Isabella “Ivy” Valentine was introduced the Soul Calibur series as an English alchemist who became a servant to the evil sword, Soul Edge. After discovering her birth connection to the cursed sword, she has since dedicated her life into destroying Soul Edge. Since Ivy’s debut in Soul Calibur, she has been well received by fans due to her unique weapon, her voluptuous body and her revealing dominatrix-like outfit.
Ivy in Soul Calibur IV (32 years old)
As the main source of fan service in the Soul Calibur series, I guess Namco decided that Ivy, aged 32 during Soul Calibur IV, should not age any longer. The main plot then reveals that individuals influenced/associated with Soul Edge will stop aging or will have a delayed aging process. Ivy, possessing the blood of Soul Edge, then stopped aging at 32 and 17 years later, she is still determined to destroy Soul Edge.
Ivy in Soul Calibur V (chronologically 49 years old)
TIRA, the ring blade wielder
Tira is probably famous for her extremely unique weapon: the ring blade (a bladed hula hoop). Her acrobatic and confusing attacks, together with her sadistically playful personality, make her a memorable villain in the Soul Calibur series. In Soul Calibur III, she was introduced as young and sarcastic assassin fascinated by Soul Edge that she decided to serve the evil sword. By Soul Calibur IV, she developed a split personality which heavily affected her move set and game play.
Tira in Soul Calibur IV (17 years old)
As someone who is dedicated in serving Soul Edge, she has also seemingly stopped aging and was also responsible for creating the conflict in the Alexandra family, making her an important villain in Soul Calibur V.
Tira in Soul Calibur V (chronologically 34 years old)
HILDE, the courageous queen
Hildegard Von Krone made a unique debut in Soul Calibur IV. She appeared in full armor amidst other female fighters wearing revealing outfits. Despite her covered appearance, her design still provides a certain appeal although in a wholesome way. She wields a short sword for horizontal attacks and a lance for vertical attacks. Her tactics also earn her the infamous nickname “the Ring Out Queen.” In her story, Hilde was queen to a kingdom attacked by Nightmare. Leading her army, they were soon aided by Siegfried Schtauffen in defeating Nightmare.
Hilde in Soul Calibur IV (18 years old)
Hilde was a true survivor of the “rule.” She was neither dropped, replaced nor had a delayed aging process. Her inclusion actually makes sense because if she was dropped, then she would have appeared in only 1 canon game – which would have been a huge waste on a character well-loved by fans. Becoming a mother to 2 children, she then rebuilds her Kingdom from its ruins during Soul Calibur V.
Hilde in Soul Calibur V (35 years old)
The Alexandra Sisters: SOPHITIA, the holy warrior and CASSANDRA, the spunky sister
Sophitia debuted in the first installment and has become the resident Sword and Shield practitioner of the Soul Series. In her story, she was a given the divine mission by the gods to destroy Soul Edge. Her graceful moves, apologetic nature, easy move set and her Greek goddess costume made her a fan favorite throughout the series.
Sophitia in Soul Calibur IV (25 years old)
By Soul Calibur II, her younger sister, Cassandra, made the roster. Cassandra’s aggressive attacks, crouching throws and arrogant quotes were enough to differentiate her from Sophitia and made her a top tier character. She assists Sophitia in her journeys until Sophitia’s daughter was kidnapped by Tira during Soul Calibur IV.
Cassandra in Soul Calibur IV (21 years old)
By Soul Calibur V which was set 17 years later, Sophitia was supposedly murdered and Cassandra was never mentioned in the main plot. The Alexandra Sisters were seemingly replaced by Sophitia’s children: Pyrrha and Patroklos. Pyrrha (and her corrupted form, Pyrrha Ω) seems to inherit Sophitia’s personality, fighting style and some of Cassandra’s key moves.
Pyrrha in Soul Calibur V (20 years old)
While for Patroklos, most of his moves are original and more aggressive but are still inspired from Sophitia’s and Cassandra’s moves. While Pyrrha’s personality reflect Sophitia’s apologetic and gentle nature, Patroklos seems to have more of Cassandra’s arrogance and aggressiveness.
Patroklos in Soul Calibur V (19 years old)
In terms of Sophitia’s appearance, the final Boss, Elysium, is a mimic character and is revealed to be the spirit of Soul Calibur. She takes on Sophitia’s voice and appearance so that she can manipulate Patroklos to destroy everything associated with Soul Edge.
Elysium in Soul Calibur V
TAKI, the ninja icon
Taki made her debut in the first game as the resident Ninja and has since become an icon in the franchise. Her skin tight ninja outfits, sexy body, fast attacks and deadly combos were key components in making her famous in the Soul Calibur community. In her story, she is a master ninja and demon huntress who travels around the Japan to hunt down demons and evil spirits. By encountering Soul Edge, she realized that she must destroy the cursed blade, as it is source of evil.
Taki in Soul Calibur IV (29 years old)
In Soul Calibur V, Taki was now 46 and had an apprentice, Natsu, whom she taught her fighting style. Seemingly, she also became a victim to the “rule” as she was dropped in favor of her disciple, who has a sealed demon inside her. It seems her spunky successor Natsu will have a huge responsibility to continue her master’s legacy in the series.
Natsu in Soul Calibur V (17 years old)
XIANGHUA, the elegant Chinese sword wielder
Despite not being the original Chinese sword wielder in the Soul series (Hwang Sungkyung was the first), Chai Xianghua made a pretty cool debut in Soul Calibur as the token Chinese girl. In her story, she was a member of the imperial guards sent to find Soul Edge. Upon meeting with Kilik and Maxi, she discovered that Soul Edge was evil and joined forces to destroy it instead. Xianghua’s sweet and outgoing personality mixed with elegantly executed swordplay instantly gained her fans. Another factor that contributed to her fanbase was her romance with Kilik, another popular figure in the Soul Series.
Xianghua in Soul Calibur IV (20 years old)
However, as the Soul series progressed, their romance turned sour; after the events of Soul Calibur IV, Kilik and Xianghua became intimate but Kilik soon left her in order to seal off Soul Edge. On her way home, Xianghua discovered she was pregnant with Kilik’s child (Xiba). The patriarch of her family was furious of her disgrace and ordered her to have the child killed. Soon, a Chinese general, Yan Wujin, took interest in Xianghua and knowing of her situation, married Xianghua so that her child could live. Eventually, Xianghua bore Xiba, who was sent to live away from Xianghua’s new family. Xianghua then had a daughter with Wujin, named Yan Leixia. In the events of Soul Calibur V, Leixia somehow obtained Kilik’s pendant and sought adventure outside her home, becoming Xianghua’s replacement.
Leixia in Soul Calibur V (15 years old)
SETSUKA, the foreign swordswoman
Setsuka design seems to be inspired from Japanese movies in the early 1970’s (Lady Snowblood, Sex and Fury). Her design, combined with her iaido sword in an umbrella weapon and her extremely fast attacks made her a top tier character since her debut in Soul Calibur III. However, despite her badass fighting style, execution of her command list is not easy and requires patience in mastering her style. Setsuka’s story reveals that she was a Caucasian girl living in Japan. She was shunned from society because of her appearance until she was adopted by a local swordsman who taught her his fighting style. Her master was supposedly killed by Mitsurugi and Setsuka then stalks Mitsurugi to avenge her master’s death.
Setsuka in Soul Calibur IV (24 years old)
After Soul Calibur IV, it was revealed that she gave up her passion of revenge and decided to become a self defense teacher for orphans. One of her students was Patroklos Alexander (Sophitia’s son). In the story mode of Soul Calibur V, we learn that Setsuka’s style was Patroklos’ true fighting style (the umbrella was replaced with a scabbard) and thus, he was dubbed as α Patroklos. It would seem that Setsuka is another victim of the “rule” as she would have been 41 by Soul Calibur V.
Patroklos in Soul Calibur V (19 years old)
SEONG MI-NA, the heart and soul girl
Seong Mi-Na was the first pole weapon wielder and the original “Hot Chick” in the Soul Series. With her weapon, her biggest advantage was reach and she has been featured in all succeeding installments. Her story revolves around her being a very spirited young woman, wanting to obtain Soul Edge to prove herself to her father and the Korean coast guard forces (who rejected her earlier because she was a girl). By Soul Calibur II onward, she became an older sister figure to Yun Seong, a disciple of her father.
Seong Mi-Na in Soul Calibur IV (23 years old)
But by Soul Calibur V, she was dropped and she had no actual replacement. However, Xiba (who is actually the son and style successor of Kilik), seems to inherit some of Seong Mi-Na’s moves. This is because both Xiba and Seong Mi-Na were taught by Kong Xiuquiang (Xianghua’s estranged father). Mi-Na became acquainted with Xiuquiang during her travels while Xiba was sent to Xiuquiang after he was born. Makes sense? 🙂
Xiba in Soul Calibur V (16 years old)
TALIM, the wind priestess
Every video game needs a “cute and innocent little girl” in their roster and Talim definitely filled that role for the Soul Series. Debuting in Soul Calibur II, Talim wielded dual tonfa-like elbow blades and her designs are distinctly tribal in contrast to other female characters. In her back story, she was a pacifist priestess to a village which worshiped the Wind Deity. She encountered upon a shard of Soul Edge and recognized it’s evil energy. She then took the responsibility of sealing this evil power by venturing around the world. After Soul Calibur IV, Talim was dropped and had no successor in Soul Calibur V. Talim’s absence in Soul Calibur V raised a lot of questions among gamers as she was too young to be dropped (she would have been only 32 in Soul Calibur V) and that she sported a unique fighting style. However that might just be the reason why she was dropped. She was after all, introduced as the “little girl” and by Soul Calibur V, surely, she’s not “little” anymore.
Talim in Soul Calibur IV (15 years old)
AMY, the cynical little girl
Since the Soul Series already had a “cute and innocent little girl” in Talim, they decided to introduce a “Gothic badass girl” in Amy. Story wise, Amy was a poor French orphan who became the adopted daughter of Raphael Sorel, the resident Rapier/Fencing fighter of the Soul Series. Raphael, who has became a vampire in Soul Calibur III, wanted to spread his curse around the world after Amy became a vampire as well. She debuted in Soul Calibur III and her Rapier fighting style (partially inspired from Raphael) gained her many fans, making her a top tier character. Additionally, it’s hard not to ignore her sarcastic and cynical quotes throughout Soul Calibur IV.
Amy in Soul Calibur IV
But in Soul Calibur V, Amy was dropped and was only mentioned in Raphael’s storyline that she has been missing for 17 years. Though Amy is technically absent in Soul Calibur V, gamers can hardly ignore the new character Viola who bears similar facial features, clothing, hair style and voice with Amy. Viola is an amnesiac fortune teller who uses a magic Crystal Ball as her weapon, which is a far style from Amy’s rapier. However, that doesn’t stop the big question in SC Fans’ minds: “Is Viola really Amy?”
Viola in Soul Calibur V
That’s a wrap! I will continue to update this post for updates if ever.
As a conclusion of this post, I am NOT criticizing Namco’s decision to drop/replace these iconic female characters due to their age or importance in the story. As a matter of fact, they have been doing efforts in reinventing them in non-canon games (such as Tekken Tag Tournament and Tekken Tag 2 where Jun, Michelle, Angel and Kunimitsu made their 2012 comeback despite retaining their youthful appearance from Tekken 2).
Jun, Angel, Michelle & Kunimitsu in Tekken Tag 2 (non-canon)
Another mention is a playable Bonus Character, Aurelia Dichalla Dolce Dalkia, from Soul Calibur III. Aurelia was introduced as a 36 year old queen who serves a boss in a side quest, Chronicles of the Sword. She was introduced even before the “rule” was talked about. But since she was a Bonus character, she has not appeared in succeeding installments.
Aureluia in Soul Calibur III (36 years old)
Besides, there have been examples where despite the developers making the female characters age over 15 years, the aging effects are really subtle.
Michelle Chang, before and after 19 years
Hildegard Von Krone, before and after 17 years
As a fan of their well-rounded up games which shows detailed game plays, iconic characters and diversity, I have respect for their decisions in choosing of characters and story. However, I would also like to say that even if epic female fighting characters age and grow old, whether it be in TV, media, films and games, they still have that charisma and charm that lives on with the fans.
It is the fans’ APPRECIATION that keeps them badass!