The Lolita in Video Games: Cute and Kick Ass!

It’s already July, practically the start of the second half of the year now. I’m anticipating sequels of two games I’ve been waiting for since forever. At the same time, I’m also making a budget schedule of my cosplays so I don’t go broke midway and abandon. (Not to mention I also want to accommodate buying copies of Blazblue: Continuum Shift and Sengoku Basara 3 XD I am a gamer after all! I MUST PLAY!) It soon came to my attention during the scheduling how most of the ladies on my to-do list fall under the Lolita character category. (With no relation to the novel of Vladimir Nobokov of the same title!) Further reflection made me soon realize just how many lolitas there are in the world of video games, such that it’s become a stock character in itself. Other than being a stock character, it’s also used a means of alternative fashion for the female characters. These mentioned purposes of Lolita in video games are no different than what it serves to do in anime and manga. Despite having been around for quite some time, not a lot of people are quite familiar with it for what it is (Hence you find people wrongfully labelling maid cosplays/outfit as Lolita for example). In an effort to fix that, this article shall seek to discuss this popular fashion statement and its impact on the world of video games.

WHAT IS LOLITA?

Lolita is a subculture, much like your punk and emo, complete with rules, etiquette, manner of behaviour and fashion; the latter being the most obvious and attractive of the elements of this particular subculture. In a nutshell, it is a revival of the beauty of the Victorian era with a nod to Rococo. It emphasizes on character, virtues and yes, fashionable clothing most especially. Given the historical inspiration, all things Lolita are exquisite and beautiful to behold.

Not a lot of people know this but there are actually many types of Lolita. Since its beginnings in the later 1980s/early 1990s, this subculture has evolved in all aspects, most especially fashion-wise. It has become vast and broad, inculcating more and more styles to allow diversity for every well meaning Lolita. So it’s very wrong to categorize all Lolita type clothing as simply ‘Gothic Lolita’ when it could very well be something else.

From Left to Right: Classic/White Lolita, Punk Lolita, Sweet Lolita (Alice Style), Punk Lolita, Country/Cutsew Lolita

Here are some visual examples of other popular Lolita styles. Notice the diversity in styles. These are just a few of them.

More than just cosplay and fetish outfits, Lolita fashion is a name on its own. However owing to its links to anime and other mainstream media, the intricacies of the craft are forgotten or vastly modified.

From Left to Right: Loretta and Stella (Castlevania Portrait of Ruin)

LOLITA IN VIDEO GAMES

In the world of video games, characters that follow the Lolita subculture tend to be portrayed as aristocrats and holding elite status amongst the rest of the cast, just like their anime counterparts. They possess an air of elegance and sophistication about them; hence they are assigned as the rich and famous of their community.

If not one of the elite in terms of wealth, they may be the elite in terms of strength and power. They are in possession of special abilities which make them a force to be reckoned with.

And of course, there are the ‘bonus’ costumes that allow female characters in video games to transform into Loliltas at least in garb alone.

But why the prevalence of Lolita in video games?

Allow me to explain in three points.

1.THE POWER OF CUTE

In the context of fashion, cute is used to describe something bright in colour/colourful, evokes a feel of innocence and purity. Sometimes it can also be child-like in a way.

Even the darker ‘guro lolita’ (gore Lolita) is considered cute in its morbid little way.

Beyond fashion however, cute has its other functions and is a powerful means to an end: its serves as a means for survival as well as a feasible business strategy. There have been studies that support the hypothesis that infantile/cute features evoke a sense of care and concern in humans and is a preferable trait.

Long before the Japanese wielded the power of cute through its army of Hello Kitty and Domo-kun worldwide, cute has been around even before civilization came to be and is definitely going to stay.
Having said all that, it is therefore undeniable to ignore and refuse the power of cute. We may say otherwise, even violently deny it but it’s true! We are all suckers for cute things. Lolita, as a fashion, definitely lives up to that.

Other than her user friendly moveset and powerful moves, part of what Tekken 5: DR newcomer Emily ‘Lili’ Rochefort so popular with the fans is her Lolita inspired tastes and characterizations. She dons a classic/white Lolita outfit that has been modified for ease in fighting. Her long blonde hair has been styled after the Lolita-styled hime cut. Lili’s purchasable wardrobe consists of more implements that are a nod to the Lolita subculture, allowing one to style her in most possible styles, given the color chances including hair and makeup. To top it off, she is a young woman with a wealthy background complete with a limo and butler and a hankering for tea.

As a survival strategy, Bad Girl from No More Heroes personifies this. Dressed in a cute pink dress (A mix of sweet and ero Lolita designs) with innocent blue eyes, this potty mouthed assassin is definitely not someone you would like to run into in a dark alley at night on your own. She’s a mean swinger with her bloodied weapon of choice, a baseball bat no less. (Come on… Making projectiles out of men in gimps? That’s not an easy feat by all means!) One of Bad Girl’s signature moves is an instant kill wherein she drops to the floor and begins to sob. Should the player direct Travis to approach her in hopes of a free hit, the blonde will suddenly rise and begin to attack; inflicting a series of deadly hits which will eventually kill Travis.
Bluffing is definitely one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to survival. Coupled with cute, it’s definitely something.

Besides, consider the fact that Bad Girl is ranked 2nd in the UAA prior to her canon defeat by Travis’ hands. That must definitely mean SOMETHING, now wouldn’t it?

2.Deviance is the Name of the Game: Being Different is Never A Bad Thing

Subcultures are expressions of deviance. It is the practice of life outside of the norms. It offers alternative to the mainstream, opening doors of opportunity in many aspects. It promotes diversity. Often than not, subcultures advance the exotic and unusual, hence its appeal. As consumers, we are always open and attracted to the concept of the new. Perhaps out of the boredom and routine, we seek function in a new package whenever possible.

There are video games that feature worlds that are very different from ours, allowing us to enter a brand new world through the TV screen. Everything in their scenarios is new and uncommon to us, usually made fantastic, over the top and memorable. One of the means to further the fantasy can be through including Lolita inspired characters and manner of clothing as well in in-game areas where they can feel/be at most at home.

In Blazblue: Calamity Trigger, we have the current head of the Alucard family, Lady Rachel Alucard. This elfin twin tailed blonde vampire possesses power over the wind, hence her heat gauge is also called the ‘Sylphide’ gauge which is a nod to her element of dominion. Her fighting prowess is further proof towards her being the current clan leader. Utilizing a unique fighting style wherein she is able to conjure wind and lighting while maximizing the most of her shapeshifting familiars. (Electric throne anyone?) She lives in an unknown area in the game, residing in a majestic Neo-Victorian castle. Rachel is found sipping tea in her garden of roses, with her butler and two familiars serving on her every whim. Her castle is quite surreal, situated under a blanket of twinkling stars and the bright full moon.

Rachel perhaps is the most powerful of the playable characters and the only one who is truly aware of what is going on in the storyline.

Another castle dwelling Lolita would be none other than the Soul Calibur mainstay Amy Sorel. It’s hard to disregard her Lolita inspired elements. Starting with her hair: it’s held up in twin tails and styled in large mono drills/ringlets. Her costumes since her debut in Soul Calibur 3 have made use of the traditional and not so traditional materials for Lolita clothing namely leather, fur, satin and lace, among other elegant trimmings. Amy’s clothes are exquisite and well made, definitely the work of an artisan and made of the best materials possible in the land. More akin to an ero Lolita than anything else, this castle dwelling swordswoman utilizes a similar but swifter fighting style to her adoptive father Raphael. It is ero Lolita with its liberal skin exposure and use of lace stockings to cover the thighs, this is very showy and too sexy. Lolita fashion after all capitalizes on the value of modesty.

Both ladies belong to a world of magic and mystery filled with violence and force. In their respective worlds, power and dominion are the name of the game. As part of the larger storyline, they have a role to play in order to move the plot forward and in a way contribute to the landscape they are in. This is most especially true for Rachel as a mover of the story from behind the scenes, despite her being part of the audience.

3.Lolita: My Identity. My Power

As they say, clothes make the man. Same goes for the female population as well. Hence the term of ‘power dressing’ where we purposely aim to dress in a certain way to boost our confidence such that we feel extra ‘powerful’ so to speak. Thus it’s important to both look and feel good about ourselves.
Fashionability is part of the character design. Elements of style matter. So it’s crucial that the character design we pick is apt and coincides with the kind of character we like to have: from the hair, to the colors and the cut of the dress. The overall design also tells us the personality of the characters and gives her identity.

It’s been a popular thing to dress lady skimpily or in a revealing outfit as it to remind us that despite their brute strength, they’re actually women. Female characters need to express that being feminine in their character since its part of who they are. Being feminine is important, in my opinion, as it gives them identity as something more than just an avatar with a controllable moveset that we can manipulate to an extent. But dressing skimpy or revealing isn’t the only way to do that. Lolita fashion provides an alternative which does the job well enough as skimpy clothing does: that is to help us identify with the character as a female character without baring skin.


One of the assassins in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, who I find to be well designed, is Margaret Moonlight. Despite her lack of a solid background story (which we just know from the possibility of a link between herself and 2nd rank Alice Twilight), her character design is rich in symbolism and detail which makes up for the lack of a background story. (Though I’d still love a background story anyway?) Through Sylvia’s narration, we find out that this particular assassin had been given the nickname of ‘Goddess of Death’. She is aptly ranked 4th which is an unlucky number according to Japanese numerology owing to it being a homonym to the word Death. (Four in Japanese is pronounced the same way as Death ‘shi’). Her theme song ‘Philistine’ goes on about her role as a ‘Reaper’ that has come for Travis owing to the sins he has committed. Her choice of weapons are a pair of dual purpose anti material rifles which have crescent moon implements with are akin to a scythes called the ‘Le croissant du ange’ (French for The Crescent of Angels). Let’s not forget her Gothic Lolita mixed Ero Lolita style too which ties in with the God of Death theme with her generous use of black and white colours.

Through dressing in Lolita, I believe Margaret is able to embody what she stands for and that is very important as a character. You have to walk your talk baby.

CONCLUSION

As they say, as long as there is a demand, supply will continue to be produced to provide to the masses. And not that I’m making up statistics, but I definitely can see that there is a demand. Considering the time it’s been since Lolita entered the popular culture/mainstream, there will be more to follow after these well dressed ladies. Already there’s a sizeable number of them up and about (Look at the entire cast of the Touhou Project, people… Practically EVERYONE is a nod to Lolita fashion!). The examples I’ve put here either explicitly or simply in photos are just some of the more popular examples who have risen to certain fame amongst fans. Based on their success, there will be more to come, no doubt about it, while some of these I’ve mentioned will definitely be here to stay.

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Comments

7 Responses to “The Lolita in Video Games: Cute and Kick Ass!”
  1. wtf??? says:

    I REALLY dont think you or these people know what "lolita" is all about.

  2. lol says:

    You have a thing for underage girls and dont even know it.

  3. Greg Miller says:

    If this isnt just pg lolita porn then why does all of the "woman" look like they are dressed up to look like slutty little girls?

  4. rosenqueen says:

    @wtf??? Lolita as in the Japanese fashion/subculture. Not discussing the porn connotation.

    @Lol Not necessarily. Not all followers of Lolita are underaged. : / And the fact you're relating something that isn't even pornographic in the first place implies that you just might be a pervert. Oh noes?

    And I'm afraid going for young girls aren't my thing. Please don't accuse me of such things. You don't even know me.

    @Greg This isn't related to porn at all. Seriously people. That's why I wrote about the lolita fashion/subculture so you guys can be EDUCATED about what I'm talking about. I'm somewhat disappointed by the fact you guys are immediately thinking OMG PORN when it isn't. Really now.

    @Everyone IT'S NOT ABOUT SEX OR PORN IN GENERAL PEOPLE. GET A HOLD OVER YOURSELVES. READ WHAT I WROTE ABOUT LOLITA FASHION BEFORE COMMENTING ABOUT SEX OR PORN. UGH.

    Furthermore~ There is nothing pornographic happening here. MORE THAN enough minimum coverage is being applied here!

  5. principle says:

    i'm calling the police

  6. Morrigan says:

    First: English is not my mother tongue, so, sorry for any grammatical error.

    Second: Can't believe these comments, I think YOU don't know what the term means in the Lolita-subculture.

    As a sociologist, and of course, long-time otaku and Japanese culture lover, I've been watching the lolita phenomenon grow in Japan even more with the spread and grow of the goth, punk -and even emo- subcultures.

    I agree with rosenqueen, because as long as the lolita phenomena is popular in Japan, and they continue developing the majority of videogames (and anime) we'll continue watching Sailor-lolitas, hime-lolitas, gosu-lolis, etc.

    Just remember, this is not a matter of sex, pseudo child-porn or whatever; it's about a subculture that is stronger within the Japanese society (music, fashion, mags, etc), and the fact that this society has a different set of values in comparison with the western societies -like USA-.

  7. Morrigan says:

    And yes, lolitas kick asses!!!

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