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Archetype discussion

Posted: 15th May 2021 17:55

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Black Mage
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So, I made the mistake of posting this question in a facebook group and you can imagine how poorly its going due to the context. I should have posed it to you all in the first place so here we go:

How do you feel about the 'Little Sister' Archetype in gaming? In Final Fantasy we see spunky characters like Eiko, Relm and Selphie filling this role but we also see calmer characters like Rydia (to a degree in early game) and Penelo filling it. I find that most people's feelings on the archetype vary wildly and it makes for interesting conversation.

So: Little Sister type characters, how do you feel about them? Like them? Hate them? Have a favorite? Tell me about it.

Personally, I favor the calmer less spunk but more ferocity version. Something about Penelo as a character has always appealed to me. Her down-to-earth nature and nearly 'done with Vaan's nonsense' appealed to me from the very beginning. She felt like the only thing holding him responsible. Beyond this she was the driving force behind connecting the group to the people they needed to meet in the story (phrasing to avoid spoilers for FF12). Not only that but built correctly (Zodiac Age in mind) she was a power house on the battlefield and I got a lot of use out of her.

What do you think? Tell me about what draws you to their characters or even repulses you from the archetype.

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Posted: 26th May 2021 19:08

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Omega Weapon
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I don't think I've seen enough of this trope in games to have much of an opinion on it.

I'm not sure that it is a concerted thing. It might be related to the "little girl" secondary character archetype in anime, sometimes called the "token loli", but I'm not sure how much of that archetype translates to this. In fact i'm not sure how much of an archetype it is even in the examples you cited, since Rydia isn't really that spunky, if I recall correctly.

If you have more examples, though, this might help to highlight what are typical shared traits between such characters, which might define the archetype better.

Edit: I thought of Tita Russell from Trails in the Sky. I do think she's more defined by her being a genius, though? Not sure. But it's at least one more character we could discuss, and someone who isn't from an FF game too.

This post has been edited by Glenn Magus Harvey on 26th May 2021 19:16

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Posted: 28th May 2021 05:48

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Chimera
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Quote (St Khael @ 15th May 2021 12:55)
So, I made the mistake of posting this question in a facebook group and you can imagine how poorly its going due to the context.

Honestly, I really can't. Maybe it's cuz I don't delve much into social media, but I'm definitely missing something here : / .

Like GMH, I'm also not too sure how the "little sister" archetype is being defined here, but I'm guessing the main trait is such a character's bond with an older/more experienced sibling figure(s)? If that's the case, then, considering the kind of relationship she develops with Agate, Tita certainly fits.

On the other hand, I don't really get the "little sister" impression from Penelo, since she and Vaan seem to engage each other on a more equal basis. And I don't recall her developing a sibling-like relationship with anyone else.

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Posted: 2nd June 2021 04:31

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Black Waltz
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I think that the idea is, that the designers of the game (or story, as the case may be) want a character for a younger child playing the game to be able to use as a sort of "access point" for the story.

Rydia is introduced almost immediately in FF4; Japanese video games had only risen to prominence about 5 years prior, and RPGs were still largely a niche market, so the story isn't just there to examine its themes. The story also served a function of "hooking" various kinds of people from various walks of life.

Story beats and characters can serve this kind of purpose. Rydia's main characterization when you first meet her is
Possible spoilers: highlight to view
that she is traumatized by the sudden death of her mother and destruction of her village, by the main character, Cecil, but then is convinced that he isn't such a bad guy when he commits the big ol M against some Baron Guards that show up to skrag her.


To me, this suggests that Rydia is meant to appeal to a child, whose parents might not be around as much as they would like, due to the massive workload that living in Japan places on people. You will find themes of trauma and parental abandonment through a wide swath of Japanese media, a lot, like a whole lot. Final Fantasy alone seems to want to approach this topic almost all the time.

But to put it more simply, a character that small children can relate to generally increases the chances that a small child will continue to pay attention to the story. After all, children tend to have short attention sp---OOH A SHINY THING EXCUSE ME

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Posted: 15th June 2021 03:53

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Holy Swordsman
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I didn't really think of this as a common trope, but upon reflection I'm generally not a fan (even if I totally get the marketing appeal of including a younger perspective).

(Now that I'm a decrepit old man, I get real tired of the silly and naive perspectives, and I get there real quick.)
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