The Importance of Canonically Gay Characters, or: Why I love 7th Dragon III

Those who follow me on twitter will know that I have been screaming nonstop about the game 7th Dragon III for a few weeks now. Part of this is due to the fact that it’s a fun game with fun characters, but a larger part of my love for this game comes from how unbelievably gay it is.

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7th Dragon III is the rare RPG that not only features gay romance options, but also places absolutely no restrictions on who can date who. Any created character of any gender can date and romance any dateable NPC, with the game treating the characters the same. In addition, the game’s default player character option (as seen in promotional material, tutorial prompts, and demo) results in a gay romance path, pairing the player character with a female love interest.

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But gay romance options are, ultimately, options. What truly sold me on the game was the inclusion of well-written canonically gay characters in it. One of your superiors in 7th Dragon III is a campy gay man who goes by the name Julietta. While this would normally be cause for alarm, Julietta actually comes off as incredibly well-written and feels more akin to gay men I’ve know in real life.

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Despite his rather fabulous behavior, Julietta is a renowned scientist who has no patience for those who belittle his talent. He also hides an emotional depth that suggests his personality masks a man who is used to keeping people at arms length. It’s also shown from time to time that Julietta has lived a rather rough life, and is so up-front about his sexuality to make up for his lost youth.

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What really sold me on the game, however, was a singular sidequest. This sidequest involves a soldier from an army known as the ISDF, who requests that you deliver a message to Julietta. The message, it turns out, was a love letter. After a bit of back-and-forth with Julietta rejecting the letter, you discover that julietta looks like the soldier’s dead boyfriend, and that he’s convinced Julietta is the only one for him.

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With this one sidequest, the game legitimizes Julietta’s sexuality and demonstrates a willingness to embrace gay characters in way that doesn’t marginalize their sexuality. It’s a tiny little thing that made a world of difference to me, and suggested that the gay romance options were just as valid as any straight ones. Upon reaching this bit, I knew I loved this game.

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In a previous article I voiced my frustration with seeing people use “gay” to describe characters who were only gay in their headcanons. It is stuff like this that I’d like to see more often, characters who are actually gay and have their sexuality respected. I cannot overstate the importance of being able to point at a character, say “they’re gay,” and actually mean it.

I’m tired of pretending. I want actual, canonically gay characters, and I want them now.

7th Dragon III: Code VFD can be bought from Amazon or Gamestop.

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9 thoughts on “The Importance of Canonically Gay Characters, or: Why I love 7th Dragon III

  1. Some historical context for the series:

    7th Dragon DS had one minor “LGBT” character, named “Effeminate Man” or “Girlish Man”, a standard shrill japanese caricature. (If you remember some cool lesbians or a knight into guys, I’m sorry to say they were added in the fan translation.)

    7th Dragon 2020 had virtually the same awful character rehashed, but also a variety of other subtle representations; a cross-dressing maid (Breadline Worker’s great-grandpappy!), a few guys with clearly depicted crushes on men, and of course no gender restrictions on dating. But, these were all minor touches outside the main arc.

    7th Dragon III is a big step forward in lots of different ways, and whether by chance or design, Julietta is also initially introduced as an “Effeminate Man”. It is a nice touch to have Julietta’s character flesh out that nasty stereotype to the point where it’s no longer harmful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting on this, that’s really cool! I’m not too familiar with the other games in the franchise, so it’s nice to know that this is actually a step forward for the series!

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  2. You pointed out exactly why I also thought Julietta and the soldier quest were amazing. Though I do think Mio’s character could’ve been older (but that’s another story), she’s amazing as well. I played the demo first so I started the game with Yaiba as my main character when I bought the full version. It was incredibly rewarding to see all the different romantic interactions available. I had my doubts at first because of some really skimpy outfits and designs but the diversity in characters totally numbed that. I loved this game so much, I loved the characters. The ending was heart breaking but it felt right </3 Man, what a gem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The stuff with Mio’s age was… unfortunate, but I definitely liked that she was pitched as your main love interest. I genuinely feel like a lot of the dialogue was written under the assumption that your main player character would be a woman, which made it feel a lot more personal than most gay romance options in RPGs.

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      • Yes! Putting the default female samurai in the official art and cover really gives you the idea that that’s the “canon” protagonist. :3
        Returning to Mio though, what I loved about her was how her character really did grow from an insecure moe-like girl to a confident girl who was presented with moral dilemmas (like the medicine thing) and who even had the initiative to ask you out on a date, which is great considering her archetype would be timid or shy about that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, absolutely. I loved her forcefulness when she insists that what you went on was a date, and I love her forcing herself to help even as sick as she is. My favorite moment in the entire game was just her standing up to this genetically-enhanced god of destruction and going “You’re stupid.”

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  3. Pingback: How Not to Be a Representation Snob | Skirt Defense Force

  4. Pingback: 7th Dragon III: Code VFD Review | Skirt Defense Force

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