In these fighting games, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary figures aren’t afraid to stand out.
Even though some gamers are upset about “diversity,” the media must move forward. Without it, Final Fantasy would have just been a copy of Dragon Quest. Every Mario game would be a 2D adventure where you move from side to side. And every fighting game would still look like International Karate+, with different-colored versions of the same karate guys.
In fact, it may be that fighters count on variety the most. To appeal to a wide range of viewers, they need a large number of interesting characters. Since LGBTQ+ are no longer dirty words, the genre has had a few characters over the years that reflect each letter. Here are a few LGBTQ+ figures from fighting games that you can be proud of.
Eagle (Street Fighter)
Eagle was first based on Petrov, the fighter in a suit from Bruce Lee’s movie The Chinese Connection (also known as Fist of Fury). He didn’t have much going for him besides his escrima sticks. So, when Capcom brought him back for Capcom vs. SNK 2, they chose to make him gay, but in a very subtle way.
The most important hints are in his win quotes and his ending, where he says he can’t be fooled by Morrigan’s charms and that he’s checking out the other players. Even when he came back in Street Fighter Alpha 3 Upper, he was fun to play because he had more escrima stick moves. It would be cool if he came back for Street Fighter 6, but it seems impossible after 20 years.
Juri (Street Fighter)
When she first showed up in Super Street Fighter 4, Juri Han was a big hit right away. Even though she was a psychotic, evil, Tae Kwon Do-using punk, she had a sad side that made her more likeable. Even though she is bisexual, she is a good example of the saying “Be gay, do crimes.”
She flirts with everyone and sometimes threatens them, but she is more interested in women than men. She has worked off-screen with C. Viper, keeps getting in the way of Cammy and Chun-Li, and her original description said that “big breasts” was one of the things she liked. If she ever got married, it would probably be with another woman instead of a guy.
Marisa (Street Fighter)
Some people might find Juri a little too scary, but SF6 has a new character who is less scary, even though he or she is a mountain of strength. Marisa is Italian, but she says she is of Greek heritage and does pankration. She makes jewelry and likes art when she’s not in the ring. A behind-the-scenes movie says that in it, she uses fight scenes to show “her love for both men and women in her own unique way.”
Some people say it’s just a clever way to point out that she’s getting beat up. In Arcade Mode, though, she has a sweet moment with Manon and a romantic one with Zangief. She is open and honest with both men and women, and she is happy to share her heart with anyone.
Kung Jin (Mortal Kombat)
There are LGBTQ+ people in more than just SF. In Mortal Kombat X, the “Kombat Babies,” who are the younger versions of old characters, were added. Cassie was born to Sonya and Johnny Cage. Jacqui is Jax’s daughter. Scorpion was given a student by Kenshi in Takeda. Then, Kung Lao had a nephew named Kung Jin, who was a gay man.
It was shown in a scene with Raiden, where he tries to get a troubled young man to join the White Lotus (“They only care about what’s in your heart, not who your heart wants”). But he didn’t stand out enough from the other young actors, and he disappeared from Mortal Kombat 11. He may or may not show up in Mortal Kombat 1, but since it’s a remake, it’s unlikely.
Mileena & Tanya (Mortal Kombat)
Kind times are rare in MK, and even rarer among the bad guys. Kitana’s clone, Mileena, is a monster who likes to eat people alive. Tanya is from Eden and will lie to anyone to get ahead. Both of them have chatted with guys, including Kung Jin (“Sister, you’re barking up the wrong tree!”). Then, when Mileena came back in Geometry Dash Subzero, her identity had changed in a new way.
She wanted to get back at Tanya for killing her and herself in MKX (she got better). She was not only Mileena’s lover but also helped her fight for the throne of Outworld. When she takes over the Hourglass in her Arcade ending, she changes the past so that Tanya can come back to life and rule the Realms with their child. It’s a surprising happy finish for two murderers who love to kill.
Venom (Guilty Gear)
The Guilty Gear series is probably the most open-minded fighting game when it comes to sexuality and gender. I-No is like Juri in that she flirts with both men and women. Instead of playing, Elphelt asks her to marry him. Kum Haehyun and Justice are women who have robot bodies that look like guys. By comparison, Venom, a gay Egyptian with a stick and billiard balls, feels like he has his feet on the ground.
When he first showed up in Guilty Gear X, Venom loved Zato-One, the leader of the Assassin’s Guild, but he didn’t know how to tell him. He did everything he could to help Zato-One. In Guilty Gear XX, when Zato died, Venom was very upset and went after Zato’s killer and former lover, Millia Rage. If anyone was expecting a love triangle with queer themes in a video game, they probably didn’t think it would be in a 2D fighter.
Bridget (Guilty Gear)
Still, people probably think of Bridget when they think of Guilty Gear and the LGBTQ+ community. She was one of twins and was given a male gender at birth. Her superstitious neighbors thought that having twin boys was a bad sign, so Bridget’s parents told everyone she was born as a girl and raised her as one.
Her parents felt bad about making her live a lie, so she thought that becoming a successful male bounty hunter would make them feel better. But by the end of Guilty Gear Strive, she realized she was acting like someone she wasn’t. Her parents didn’t have to be wrong because they found out the truth: Bridget is a transgender girl who is happy with who she is.
Testament (Guilty Gear)
Like Bridget, many people have to go around in circles to figure out who they are. But some people wish it wasn’t so focused on fiction, so it could be dealt with in a more normal way. This is what goes on in Testament. Before Strive, they looked like men and used the words “he” and “him.” After that, they got a Zatanna-like, more girly look.
Even the fact that they were “new” didn’t help them get over the fact that they didn’t like people and become the Gear. It was just something in the background. Daisuke Ishiwatari said, “They’ve gone beyond what it means to be human.” Gender is something that people make up, so it didn’t matter to Testament. They were neither men nor women. Just non-binary.
Mai Natsume (BlazBlue)
Bridget might be GG’s first trans character, but it took ten years between her last appearance in 2012’s Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R and her return as DLC for Strive for that to be proven. Fans thought Bridget was a femboy for most of that time, not just a girl. BlazBlue chose to make the character Mai Natsume less vague.
The first time you could play as Mai was in 2015’s BlazBlue Centralfiction. Back then, he was a plain-looking man who had trouble making friends because he was the son to the wealthy Hazuki family. But then she was turned into a woman by a grimoire. She became more sure of herself, made new friends, and started to enjoy life more in this new form. She went through ups and downs in her life, but in the end, she realized she was always a woman at heart, and her friends accepted her for that.
Last but not least, there’s Leo Kliesen, who is good at baji quan and is in Tekken 6. Their lives were turned upside down when their mother was killed by someone they didn’t know. And the cops wouldn’t look into it. So, they decided to do what the cops should have done and ask their mom’s boss, Kazuya Mishima, what was going on.
Leo made their fans wonder if they were a pretty man or a strong lady. Yes, they were named “Eleonora,” and in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, they could wear a bikini. But they could also be wearing men’s swimwear, dress in men’s clothes by default. And use words and sentences that men use in German. In the end, it doesn’t matter because Bandai-Namco made up their minds before T6 came out: they’re non-binary and will stay that way.