I've been playing Nier lately, and I just absolutely adore Kaine. She's tough and doesn't need any man to save her. She's the one stepping into battles helping save the other characters' asses when it's all about to go downhill. She's not afraid to be crude, but mostly, what's so admirable about her is that she's true to her heart.
I'm tried of characters like Alfina from Grandia III, Shirley from Tales of Legendia, or for a more recent example: Ryfia from Arc Rise Fantasia. They play the role of the girl who needs to be saved - these gals just don't seem equal to their male counterparts. They're never the sharpest crayons in the box either. And seriously, what's with them always being the healer? And don't you just love how their attacks always register weak hits. Well, screw that. They should take a note from my girl, Kaine, who doesn't need to be a healer; she's tough, loud and in your face. She's a "I'm going to mess you up and then some" type of girl. And what I loved so much about Nier is that she was actually helping the main character along the way through his terrible crisis. It wasn't one of these games where the girl is in trouble and desperately needs the man's help to get by. In fact, from the first time you meet Kaine, she flat out says she doesn't need or want any help. She's not looking to burden you with her problems. She wants to take down the bad guys all by herself. It's admirable. Too many times, and mostly in JRPGs, we have a girl who the entire of crisis of the game is centered around. I guess, maybe we can blame Super Mario Bros. for that. It did tell us that the Princess always needs to be saved and is painfully never in the castle you want her to be in.
So, I propose, let's have more strong female leads. Let's not only make them be the source of drama. I know drama is something commonly associated with women, but women have also been more independent these days than ever. And my other point, we all need saving every once and awhile, so if a man needed to be saved by the girl, it wouldn't be any less realistic or valid for a plot. And although men will deny that they indulge in any drama, they do. I'm just looking for girl characters who are more than a damsel in distress. It's just so much more satisfying to hear a girl like Kaine straight up tell you to get your head out of your ass. Oh yeah, she's that fierce. And I do realize that there have been some strong female leads in video games, but my point is, if I'm this excited about Kaine - they don't come nearly enough.
I am aware of Kaine's condition. Despite the ambiguity, I am looking at Kaine as a positive female character. Maybe Kaine represents more than we think. I think it's safe to say, gender shouldn't define someone. I'd just like for games to stop clinging to gender stereotypes. It's almost 2011, we should be past the majority of that.