Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Should Have Treated its Women Better

Trigger Warning: If rational discussion/examination of media using a feminist lens triggers you, maybe leave now and consider why such things bother your little cuck, snowflake, soyboy heart. (Also sorry for misusing the word “trigger,” I thought it would give proper comedic effect.)

Also also, SPOILER WARNING FOR XENOBLADE CHRONICLES 2

Xenoblade 2 is a fucking fantastic game. I listen to its music while I write, I still pick it up and play it sometimes because the combat is amazing, and the story moved me to tears at least once. Is it as amazing as Xenoblade 1? No. Did I get as into it as Xenoblade 1? No. But why was that, why couldn’t I get as into it? Answer: The Blades. By my count, there are nine male Blades, 33 female Blades and three Blades of indeterminate gender. Now, don’t misunderstand, I like good looking women as much as the next guy and sex is not the problem here, I’m a huge fan of Bayonetta. The issue I have here is the male gaze. Every single female Blade has large breasts, other traditionally feminine identifiers, or was designed to appeal to some specific fetish. The most extreme offender here, is Dahlia, an Ice element blade who... well... for the uninitiated, here...

Yeah, not great, right? Most female blades aren’t that bad, but most of them, have similarly exaggerated bodies, and are almost always clad in something revealing or meant to cater to a specific fetish. There is absolutely zero reason for this, other than the developers wanting to make the presumed audience hard. This brings me to the male gaze. Xenoblade 2 was made, assuming the player was a male who was attracted to the opposite sex. Is that a bad thing? Kind of, yeah. It’s bad because we should never assume that the default is straight, male. Doing that is downright alienating to everyone else. How do I know that? I have friends who are women and gay men who are downright repulsed by the design and prevalence of the female Blades in Xenoblade 2 and can’t bring themselves to experience its actually pretty nice story. On top of the actual Blade designs, the main characters don’t fare much better. The only leading lady who seemingly manages to escape mostly unsexualized is Morag.

Official art of Morag, that I took from the Xenoblade Wiki

Early on, I thought they might be attempting some sort of commentary based on how revealed the Blades were compared to the human and gormotti party members, but I was dead wrong. Late in the game, Nia, the gormotti in your party is revealed to be a Blade, but instead of just drawing her new sword and fighting alongside rex, she gets a full outfit change, and goes from this

nia in game.jpg

To this.

nia blade.jpg

All of this is to say nothing of Tora, the worst main character I have dealt with since Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. Tora, builds an artificial Blade, Poppi, who looks like a little girl robot. The implications of how she claims he treats her are downright pedophilic at worst, and more than a little worrying at best. Poppi eventually goes from her original form

poppi a.jpg

To Poppi QT (cutie) mode  where she dons a maid outfit

And later Poppi QTπ (cutie pie).

Suffice it to say, once Morag joined the group, I never used Tora or Poppi again.

To clarify, I don’t have an issue with Poppi herself. In fact, Poppi is one of my favorite characters in the game, I just hate how Tora treats her and how often that is played for laughs.

Speaking of the trivialization of women, let’s talk about the concepts of blades themselves. As I have said before, a disproportionate number of Blades have stereotypically female features, which makes it disturbing that these women replace a traditional weapon system like you’d find in most other RPGs. The women are so objectified that they are literally objects until someone activates them, and even then, they can’t really function without whoever activated them, because when their Driver dies, they return to being an object. It would be harder to find a more literal definition of objectifying women.

What blades look like before they’re activated. As you can see, they are literally inanimate objects.

What blades look like before they’re activated. As you can see, they are literally inanimate objects.

Now for those of you wondering, Xenoblade 1 didn’t have this problem, at least not as much. Sharla’s outfit was always boobalicious, but she was an important character, not just a weapon, and she had an amazing character arc, just like the rest of the cast. If my criticism of Xenoblade 2 has nearly turned you off the series, I urge you to at least play Xenoblade 1. It’s one of my favorite games of all time.

Official artwork of Sharla from Xenoblade Chronicles 1. Click to enlarge image.

In conclusion, Xenoblade 2 treats its women like shit and would be a better game if it didn’t. It’s insulting to people who fall outside the standard male gaze and, at times, sucked me out of an otherwise immersive experience. Is it bad to love Xenoblade 2? Hell no! Xenoblade 2 is an amazing JRPG with and amazing story. But is it bad to ignore these flaws and the messages they send? Hell yes. Always be critical especially of things you love, otherwise, how would they ever get better? Now if you all will excuse me, I’m going back to see about finishing up New Game+ for the second time around.


Hi there, thanks for reading. Hope I made y’all angry. I know what sort of response these articles usually yield, so I’ve turned off comments here. If you’re not contemplating ways to hunt me down and murder me, kindly share either this article or my whole site. It would really help me to grow.