The Top 10 Video Game Characters Who Flipped Genders
Many things get lost in translation. There are subtle elements of each language that another language may not be able to communicate. Capturing these nuances requires skill and linguistic grace. Unless you're giving a character in a video game a forcible sex change. Then it's just a matter of swapping around the pronouns, and hoping nobody notices.
By Dan Seitz
10. Birdo, Super Mario Bros. 2
Birdo is a pretty unique case. In Japan, her name is Catherine, and lately games have been indicating that she's...uh...cuddly with Yoshi, although only Mario can ride Yoshi.
That's the smell of your childhood burning.
Anyway, Birdo first appeared in Super Mario Bros. 2, spitting eggs. The manual basically said "He's a guy who thinks he's a chick," which is fine, but then Nintendo edited that out, and they've been going back and forth on her (his?) gender ever since. Nintendo attempted to settle the issue for good with Captain Rainbow...wherein Birdo claims to be a woman, and that Nick, the main character, is her boyfriend...but has a male voice. Ultimately, you prove to the sheriff who arrested Birdo for walking into the women's room that Birdo's got the lady bits by bringing him her vibrator.
Yeah, thanks, Nintendo. That settles everything...and brings an unsettling adult edge to just about every Mario game ever.
9. Caina, Wild Arms 2
Caina is the second in command of Vinsfeld, leader of the terrorist organization Odessa, and a powerful character in his own right. He has a large magical key, summons the demons that start the game, and is generally a badass. The game also implies he had a bit of a crush on Vinsfeld, which is directly responsible for him losing his penis over the Pacific and landing in the U.S. as a woman.
We're not really sure just why everybody in the games industry thinks even the hint of a gay relationship is such a big deal to gamers. It's not like there aren't plenty of openly gay gamers. Most gamers are old enough to have actually met a gay person and realized that they won't magically start liking musicals and buttsex. Sure, fundamentalist killjoys may latch onto it, but they're all playing Bible knockoff games anyway. And the hints the game drops on the issue are so subtle, it took a while for people to even notice.
None of which stopped Sony from giving Caina a sex change.
8. Fox, Bloody Roar
Source: Hudson Soft
Fox's gender is one of those rare cases where it's all too much for Europe. Europe, of all places. They have the French, which makes the case of Fox's gender just baffling and weird.
In the U.S.? A guy. In Japan? A guy. In Europe? A very masculine woman. Granted, Fox in the game is probably one of the few metrosexuals in fighting game history. Well, okay, one of the first. Tekken has a lot of guys who we guarantee you moisturize.
But still, we can find no reason for the gender change, yet there it is.
7. Harpuia, Mega Man Zero
Harpuia is actually a case of retroactive continuity. When Mega Man Zero originally came out, you had a character who looked pretty feminine (well, by Mega Man standards) and was voiced by a woman. So, female, right? Capcom USA, presented with this opinion by the fans, basically shrugged, said what the hell, and rolled with it.
Unfortunately, the later games, you know, the ones released by Capcom, the ones that already existed and that Capcom was going to translate, explained that Harpuia was male. It's a bit of a plot point. Yeah, good work checking your own games, guys.
6. Spinni, from Kirby
Kirby, featuring a rare character who can both suffer from and inflict diabetes, is about as genderless a series as you can get. First of all, nobody wants to imagine that except for one or two very scary and lonely people on DeviantArt. Secondly, it's a kid's game. They're genderless little puffballs.
And it's true of Spinni, too. Spinni is just a yellow mouse-throwing shuriken, which means either you're playing a video game or somebody just slipped you some amazing drugs. But for some reason, Spinni is female in Japan and male everywhere else. Go figure. Maybe they thought Americans wouldn't accept a female yellow mouse ninja? Was the yellow mouse ninja having female parts just taking it a little too far into the weird for American consumers, according to their market research? We'll never know.