Posts Tagged ‘Catherine

09
Nov
19

Judgment

Gaming_Cave.jpg

 

cathrine-full-body-normal-hero-01-ps4-us-21aug19Apparently, I’ve been blocked and unpersonned by several people this week. Over a video game. The game, in this case, is Catherine: Full Body. It’s an animated visual novel/puzzle game dealing with a mid-thirties man who has no idea what the hell he wants out of life and has to navigate through a series of killer nightmares, his longtime girlfriend and her demands to grow up, a young and vivacious lady who represents the forbidden fruit and everything he thinks he wants in a woman, and a strange girl who recently came into his life.

Big spoilers incoming. Stop now if you don’t want to know.

The mysterious girl? Not actually a girl. By the end of the game, he explicitly identifies as a boy. He’s a crossdresser. Also, not human – actually an angelic alien – but that’s really a sideline. Thus began the screams of “problematic!”

This was exasperated by hodgepodge clips that showed Vincent’s shocked face, pan shots of Rin (the angel), and a scene where he bats Rin’s hand away. Of course! It’s that nasty transphobia!

Except it’s not. Because Rin’s not trans, for one. Also, because all of that is taken out of context. The pan shot they used? Vincent isn’t even in the room at that point. Vincent’s shocked face? Taken from a different part of the game where young Catherine is discovered in his bed and he has no idea what happened. The hand-batting is the closest thing to “problematic,” and in context of the scene – and what happens immediately afterward – it makes sense. Vincent ran to Rin because “she” fell down. He thought “she” was hurt. I’m putting it in quotes not as an attempt to spread “hate speech,” but because up to that point of the game, you have no reason to think of Rin as anything else, and all the characters (except Erica, who is problematic in her own ways, supposedly) refer to Rin as “her.”

Rin is mostly naked, and when Vincent checks on “her,” he sees a male body. He’s surprised. Not revolted, not having a moment of so-called trans-panic. Just shocked. Rin tries to comfort him – which, throughout the game, Rin has been kind of bad at, not being used to normal human interactions – and he bats Rin away.

Rin looks hurt. Understandably so. Vincent realizes what he’s done, and immediately begins to apologize, but Rin runs off. You spend most of the rest of the game trying to get ahold of Rin, to apologize to him. If you’re following the Rin path through the game, Vincent admits that he doesn’t care what others think, what gender Rin is or is not, or even if Rin is human. On the Rin path, Vincent knows what he wants, and it’s Rin. If you’re on the Catherine or Katherine paths, he still admits to having feelings for Rin, and still isn’t repulsed, but his feelings for Catherine or Katherine are stronger. Not because they’re “real” women, but because Vincent feels something for them, and he still expresses regret at having to hurt the other two, no matter what the combination of affection levels is.

Then there’s the Erica stuff. Erica’s a transwoman. She’s also been friends with Vincent since high school (pre-transition.) There’s been reams of paper spewed forth on all the problems with her, but what it basically boils down to is that she gets deadnamed on some paths, the nightmares (which are specifically applied to men who are cheating or otherwise not engaging in “fruitful” relationships) afflict her, and a character who becomes her boyfriend over the course of the game gets a little weirded out when he finds out about her past.

Note that in that last instance, they don’t break up. There’s no indication of trouble in the relationship. The nightmares affecting her? Well, somehow I doubt ancient Babylonian gods like Duzumid are very woke, and further, Erica IS preventing a fruitful relationship by being involved with Toby (who could be off knocking someone else up, which Duzumid the Shepherd considers the primary criteria for who gets to live), so her having the nightmares isn’t exactly a surprise.

Note that most of that is gone in the new version. Erica is still trans, but almost all references to her biological sex have been scrubbed… except one, but that has set off the hornet’s nest all over again.

In one of the endings, Catherine (the young one) creates a time portal and sends herself and Vincent back through it, to when Vincent was still in high school. She then appears there, and they begin a relationship, all for the purpose of having a chance to be happy with him. In this ending, Erica is shown to still be Eric. Some people interpret this ending as being the “happiest for everyone,” and thus the ending is transphobic because it’s saying Erica is happier as Eric.

Those people are stupid. The ending is not intended to be the happiest outcome for everyone; it just works out that way in some cases. Jonny, for instance, who has had a thing for Katherine since they were kids, is now free to be with Katherine, as Vincent is with Catherine instead. Orlando, warned by Vincent of what’s going to happen, has a chance to save his business and marriage before it goes south. But those are side effects of the central idea: Vincent and Catherine get a happy ending.

Second, in other paths, it’s explicitly stated that Vincent and his friends knew Erica as Eric in high school. This ending shows them during their high school years… which would have been pre-transition for her. There’s 14 years between that and when the bulk of the game takes place… the likelihood is that she just hasn’t transitioned yet, not that she doesn’t. There’s also some images that imply there’s something going on between “him” and Toby even pre-transition, so it looks like it may work out for them in the end anyway.

There’s also the accusations that the game is misogynistic (because Vincent is portrayed as a serial cheater, because Katherine is frequently “bossy” or “bitchy” – generally, because she’s tired of being his mother and wants to be his girlfriend and for him to have his shit together – or because the guys give crap to Erica – ignoring that they give each other the same amount of shit, as any gang of high-school mates is liable to do) or how Catherine is a rapist (because Vincent doesn’t remember many of their encounters and frequently finds her in his apartment even though he doesn’t recall inviting her over or letting her in.) Like the rest, they’re missing the big picture and seeing what they want to see there.

Long story short: If you read/see/hear some piece of art or entertainment is “problematic,” instead of just joining the bandwagon and starting to slam on anyone who enjoys it or discusses it, go out and experience it for yourself. If you still think it’s problematic, that’s fine. But understanding the context and the whole story seems like it should be necessary to make that judgment.

But that’s just my two cents. What about you? Did you play Catherine, either the original or the remake? What did you think? Is there some other art piece that’s treated as “problematic” that you are judged for enjoying, or that you end up having to defend? Let us know down below!

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