Granblue Fantasy Versus add Ladiva, A transgender Grappler

I wasn’t thinking of her just because she doesn’t have an SSR version, but I suppose she is basically Granblue’s peak “brawler” archetype for a fighting game.

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Just gonna preface this that I have not played Granblue and am ignorant in that regard, but I find it hard to trust that her appearance comes from a place of sincerity.

I am all for breaking gender barriers and I personally have zero problems with her design, but, well, it’s a Japanese game, a fighting game, and a video game. I’ve played enough of all three of those that the warning sirens are blaring in my head.

Basically, if the developers didn’t make her to be a “joke”, then fucking fantastic. I love her. Otherwise, fuck them.

(Also from a gameplay perspective she is 100% the character that has resonated with me the most. That lariat is kisses fingertips)

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Don’t worry Ladiva was never a Joke and a she’s never been misgendered.

She is Clearly a Girl

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Sorry, but this is kinda a super shitty thing to say, as if a place where a game comes from says anything about it values. Plently of Usa games have shitty gags about ‘women-with-beards’, japanese devs aren’t somehow more transphobic than an average american dev.

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This seems to be pretty blatantly pulling from Japanese tropes about gay men wanting to be women (there’s a term for this trope I can’t remember or google for this otherwise I would provide other examples so apologizes for the lack thereof) that I find it extremely hard to try to view this with anything approaching a positive light. Everything about this design feels like it is from the ground up meant to be pointed and laughed at. Maybe there’s more to it than that I can’t say, but the only info I can find about the character is from fan sources and to be honest I trust those about as far as I can throw them when it comes to something this niche

And maybe this is a genuine attempt at positive representation on the part of the devs I can’t say for the above reasons, but the kindest interpretation I can find for it is the stay as far away from this game as I can

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I mean, yes, you’re correct that Western devs are just as transphobic and, of course, Japanese developers are capable to making great games about transgender people (like the fantastic One Night, Hot Springs), but there are still differences in the culture. And those cultural difference informs how they are transphobic. Like VulpesAbsurda mentioned, her design plays into a bunch of transphobic and homophobic tropes common in Japanese media.

It is not a great look that the trans woman in this game is not only decidedly more muscular and otherwise traditionally masculine than the other women in the game, but is wearing a full beard while the men of the cast are clean-shaved and about half her size. Is it the case that she isn’t treated as a joke, or that her whole existence is, to the people who designed her, the joke? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be skeptical of the devs’ motives.

If there are other trans women in Granblue Fantasy whose designs don’t play into transmisogynistic tropes (and I don’t just mean “not the same tropes”), it would be great to know, otherwise this seems extremely sketchy. Honestly, it would still be sketchy regardless, but it would be an indication that this isn’t just the way the designers think of trans women in general.

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Ya’ll are bein’ weirdly shitty about this, this character looks fuckin’ fantastic. The animation and design teams knocked it outta the park, she looks great.

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lol come on dude

also saying that japan is somehow inherently more homophobic “because of cultural differences” is straight up racism. im not beating around the bush here. knock it off

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Perhaps it iis what you meant, but your initial reply real comes across as assuming that just because of it’s country of origin you should be wary of it. And again, while hyper feminine muscular gay dudes as a stereotype are definitely much more common in Japanese media they are still present in western ones as well.

While I definitely understand the immediate reaction to viewing Ladiva as a take on Okama stereotypes, as someone who’s played a lot of GBF I’d say that Cygames does try their best at portraying Ladiva as a positive and sympathetic character.

For starters, she’s always referred to as a woman and with she/her pronouns. The only time where this wasn’t in the case that I’ve personally seen was in her first Fate episode (stories that introduce the characters when you pull them from the gacha) but even that was updated fairly recently to be correct.

For reference, the wiki (Fate Episodes -> Intro, if it doesn’t link correctly) still has the old version up which was what I read maybe a month ago? when I got her. Edit: Apparently her Skill Fate also misgenders her on the wiki as well but that’s not the case when I pull it up in-game.

Granblue’s localization is done internally as well, so I wouldn’t consider it a case of some outside agency fixing something that wouldn’t fly over here rather than actual sincere representation.

Additionally, in her Cross-Fate with Cagliostro (another trans character), when Cagliostro mentions that she could give Ladiva a more feminine body to match her identity she declines because she favors her body as it is. This is, as far as I’ve seen anyway, the only time her identity is brought up in conversation. Ladiva is, generally, unquestionably welcomed and beloved by all the characters.

The only other iffy things in regards to her character that I can think of (that aren’t related to her design or voice acting) are a moment during one of the April Fool’s Day events (that you can’t actually replay in-game, strangely enough) where someone reacts unfavorably towards her and that she’s listed as Other (as opposed to male or female) by the in-game mechanics. Characters that are listed as Other are either mixed-gender pairs or genderless creatures. Mechanically it means that she isn’t affected by gender specific buffs/debuffs and you can receive chocolate from her on Valentine’s Day and White Day, which are gendered events that occur in the game.

I say all this not to like force you into agreeing she’s good actually but just to lay out what is actually present in the game right now. I won’t hold it against anyone for deciding not to engage with any Granblue stuff because of her portrayal because anyone’s reasons for doing so are totally valid.

@JennySighs Cagliostro is another unquestionably trans character who invented the art of alchemy so she could become the world’s cutest girl. She looks no different from the other women in the game.

Also, Ladiva is a Draph and Draphs are a race in Granblue Fantasy where the men are much larger and more traditionally masculine than regular humans. It is in keeping with their lore that Ladiva would look as she does but, you know, doesn’t really matter because it’s a recurring stereotype when it comes to the portrayal of trans women in fiction.

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So, I don’t know anything about Granblue or Cygames, but I am incredibly uncertain about all this.

Glad to see different body types for women and trans women and all that, but man there are some INTENSELY SHITTY stereotypes coming through her design.

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I legit never said that.

I said that the way they show their homophobia and transphobia is different. And, having played a lot of Japanese games and seeing many of those ugly tropes (which are different than Western tropes), it was enough to make me weary of the sincerity of her design.

Thanks for taking the time to write this up, I was wondering if the stuff on the wiki was accurate to what’s in game. Given the timing, I wonder if they decided to tidy up the story so her portrayal would be consistent for anyone checking her out after seeing Versus.

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Thank you so much for this thorough write-up on her.

I feel most of my anxieties are cleared up and that makes me so so so so happy.

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I’ve never played these games but holy shit she is my queen and idol. I understand with my whole heart that folks are immediately wary of “non-passing” (with huge, glowing red neon scare quotes) trans characters in media because, of course they are, because everything is horrible basically all the time. but based on the context i’ve gotten from people i trust she kicks ass. idk how to put it & i don’t want to say it in the wrong way, but a character like this treated respectfully is really really heartening to me personally, and helps me feel a little more like i can be seen as my authentic self, where often times trans characters are presented in a way that just makes me feel insufficient. no shade on anyone who doesn’t feel the same of course. just throwin my two cents that imo she’s dope.

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Yikes on a bikes that’s one transphobic looking character design and if the only thing separating it from being truly transphobic is intent then uh… i’m just gonna have to call that really goddamn unwise at best, 100% transphobic at worst.

Yea I’m unsure of Ladiva ever really being the butt of any jokes, though I’ll also say that she hasn’t been around very much so the sample size is low. Cagliostro’s a bigger character who doesn’t always get respected but that’s always in the service of the people who disrespect her dying horrible deaths, at least. Also she killed a god a couple of months ago? Cordelia also gets mistaken as a man but that’s mostly just a “handsome knight” gag, I guess.

Tangential to all this I would say that Granblue is often pretty gay, but it’s that type of “anime gay” where characters are as gay as possible without explicitly saying as much or being in a relationship and JUST LET SONG AND SILVA GET MARRIED, COWARDS.

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“Lifelong companions” haha lol what.