Jul. 25th, 2016

star_ocean_fan: (Edge Maverick)
 Most people who know me know a thing or two about me when it comes to the female leads of the Star Ocean Universe.

1 - You know I've only played two of the games, Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. I own all but Blue Sphere and the newest game, but getting to play them hasn't been possible at this point.

2 - Of the games I have played, I tend to not like the main female characters for one reason or another. Maria is too extreme in her course of dislike for those who have wronged her, but that can be attributed to the fact that, from age 10, she was raised on a ship, a more nature than nurture environment. Sophia is too naive, but that can be attributed to the fact that her ordeals have not been on a game-changing level. She's been able to maintain her cluelessness, despite learning she'd been genetically altered to fit into a bigger picture. 

And then there's Reimi Saionji in all of this with her apparent jealousy of other women whenever they get too close to Edge and her constant crying of perv whenever Edge freezes up on something or says/does something that the player has ultimately commanded. (Anyone else remember her initial reaction at the Citadel on Lemuris?)

It isn't because I dislike female characters. Far from it, actually. From Till the End of Time, I favor Mirage and Nel of the playable characters and find Tynave, Lady Elena, and Farleen to be fascinating. From The Last Hope, I absolutely adore Sarah, Lymle, and Myria of the playable characters and Lady Elayna (anyone notice what they did there? ^_^). I'm disheartened with the treatment of Meracle. Yes, it's awesome that she's maintained a cheerful and upbeate attitude despite all she's endured, but, to me, that didn't give the writers right-of-way to treat her as nothing more than comedic relief upon introducing Sarah and for antagonizing Cerebrus. Peppita, I'm a bit annoyed with as well, but the reasons for my annoyance with her can also be attributed to having such a hopeful nature and positive attitude about where she's going in her life. I won't touch on other games as of this moment, but others are more than welcome to chime in and point out the pros and cons from the first two games. Let's just leave the newest game off the table until I can get a chance to play it. ^_^

That said, what is it about Reimi that makes her the more susceptible of the female characters I've listed so far? Reimi has discipline. She's mastered two styles of archery (no easy feat, either, I might add, to do one, let alone two). She's studied botany as part of her SRF training. She's the first officer of The Calnus. She has discipline.

Reimi's problem is that she doesn't exert enough of her training in intense situations. She possessed knowledge that her captain did not, knowledge that was beneficial for him to knwo from the beginning. Let me run down the brief list here.

1 - Alternate Earth
Reimi is captured by the U.S. military in basically what is an Area 51 type scenario. Area 51 is one of many favored subjects every science-fiction fan loves to read and talk about. Naturally, the people there are going to jump on the chance to get their hands on a spaceship that has oh so foolishly landed right on top of their base.
Now, it's absolutely no guarantee that Reimi would not have been drugged at Camilla Bachtein's request, and this is a bit more of an indictment against the SRF and its training than it is against Reimi. 
There is one thing that is sticking out with me that Camilla said that must be considered.
She told Edge and the crew she'd drugged Reimi to keep her calm. This, to me, implies that Reimi had gone into fight/hysterics mode in order to get away from them. It's entirely possible that Camilla lied - she wasn't above using Edge's emotions against him in order to obtain the crystal core of the engine drive from him. She wouldn't be above lying about Reimi's behavior in order to justify drugging the poor girl. I personally didn't interpret Camilla's words about Reimi as being completely false. I'll get to that in just a moment.

2 - Roak
Here is where her silence on the Seeds of Hope project could have cost her, not her life, but that of her friends and that of the Roakians. Yes, she has an amazing immune system. Her body will never develop cancer, and her immune system will agressively attack anything that tries to make her sick. 
But, what if in her body's efforts to rid itself of the stone sickness, it mutated the virus and it spread to the others? Bacchus himself would be immune to the disease, but that's because he'd already contracted the disease and it mutated on him. 
This is where Mr. and Mrs. Saionji lose brownie points for bad parenting and Reimi loses respect from me. 
She knew about the genetic experiments done on her due to some stupidity on the parts of her and some friends. They died from radiation poisoning, she lived. Mommy and Daddy told her the truth, not just about her but about Edge and Crowe. This is the same yet completely different scenario that played out between Fayt, Maria, and, eventually, Sophia. Maria learned the truth about herself, much like Reimi did. The knowledge caused her to hate herself, hate her body, much like Reimi hated herself. 
Here's the difference: Maria is not a childhood friend of Fayt's. They don't meet until they're both 19. Sophia doesn't even know a blessed thing about her powers until she's at Moonbase with the rest of them and finding out at the same time as Fayt and Maria. There are no secrets in this particular group. 
Reimi keeps quiet on the whole matter. For herself, I kind of understand. For most people, someone who is genetically different is quite obviously a so-called freak. That's how our society has behaved since the stamping out of the Pagan cultures. Her fear of rejection is quite understandable.
With the person in question was anyone other than Edge. These two, upon his father's death, grew up together. The Saionjis technically adopted him. Why did it take Reimi contracting the stone sickness for that particular truth to come out? And Reimi had plenty of opportunities to tell him the truth, from the time they crashed on Aeos (they had plenty of alone time) until they secure the cure and her body heals itself. 
This isn't just a lack of trust and faith in a trusted, childhood friend. It's a lack of faith and trust in her commanding officer. For this mission, trust is key to survival. 

3 - The Collapsing of Nox Obscuris
This is actually a very pivotal moment right here. Faize, as Sataniel, has been defeated. Nox Obscuris can no longer sustain itself, and the crew needs to get to safety. Reimi is the second in command. It should be obvious by now that Edge is not going to leave a man behind, no matter how severe the betrayal is. Edge has a great capacity for kindness and compassion here. He's being, not just a good leader, but a damned good leader, one who is leading by example and buiding his crew up instead of tearing them down.
Reimi's focus is solely on Edge rather than ensuring the rest of the crew gets to safety. This is gross dereliction of duty here, one that, in our current times, could get her court-martialed. 
To put it bluntly, Reimi has the responsibilities of Maria but the emotional nature of Sophia. She's not fit to be on any type of an expedition, not if she's going to ignore her training to remain calm and collective and to put the lives of the crew before hers, before Edge's. 

To me, this is actually quite sad. Reimi gets a stereotype depiction that's unbefitting of everything she's accomplished. Even Sophia, who is two years younger than her, has enough sense to remain calm in a stressful situation. Sophia has no training whatsoever, and she, too, endured captivity. If the writers had gone in a slightly different direction with Reimi, I might have been able to find her more tolerable as a lead female character. Instead, we get a young, 19-year-old who's infatuated with a guy who is, in a sense, her adopted brother, and allows her emotions to rule her. She is not a strong female character. Meracle, for the poor character treatment she's given, is a far stronger female character than Reimi. 

When it comes right down to it, Reimi (along with Meracle, Maria, and Sophia) gets shafted as a potential strong female lead. Perhaps some character exploration is in order. We'll see what happens.

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