After the reveal of the first teaser for the new Catherine remake, Catherine: Full Body, there has been a lot of controversy swirling around the internet in regards to the new character, Rin.
People are speculating that Rin might be a trans character and are justifiably upset about how Vincent reacts to seeing Rin’s crotch. It is clear that it was put into the trailer for shock value (which is a method I am not a fan of in general), but this is not the first time we’ve seen a not so tasteful display of such methods recently as Is This Even Allowed? (The Last Of Us 2 Trailer) can remind us.
The bigger issue with Catherine: Full Body is that of how it handles a possibly trans character. Atlus has a track record of not always being very respectful with its handling of gender minorities, so people are already getting upset. But let’s backpedal for a bit and re-examine what we already know.
- If you’ve played the original Catherine, you’d know that this is how Vincent reacts to literally EVERYTHING. Vincent already has a girlfriend he is going steady with, Katherine, and waking up with a stranger, even Catherine, upsets him to the same extent.
- In fact, it’s not even the first time we’ve seen this reaction of his in a Catherine trailer.
- On the official website for Catherine: Full Body we also see a trembling scared looking Vincent covering the exposed crotch of Rin. This, again, is not something we haven’t seen before with the original cast of characters that all have vaginas. In fact, it’s the same exact picture of Vincent as we see on the image below.
- The Catherine: Full Body team has already shown us that they are paying attention to their Western fans and what they want with the addition of online competitive play. Can we really already assume at this early stage that they aren’t also aware of the complaints regarding how the first trans character in the game, Erica, was handled? Or that one of the biggest complaints regarding Persona 5 was the lack of same gender dating options and the poor treatment of the couple of gay characters you do encounter? Japanese devs have shown this year continuously that they are listening to their fans, so maybe, just maybe they have listened again?
Now after examining the facts, let’s consider the possible positive outcomes that could come with the addition of a transgender character route.
- If the Studio Zero team can pull of a respectful depiction of a transgender Rin, it would be one of the first big games (probably THE first big game from Japan) to feature such a character in its main roster. Hell, we’ll probably even get her dominating the cover of the game. How awesome would that be?
- The original Catherine let you decide whether to end up with the serious Katherine or the wild and free Catherine (or neither), with all the endings being equal and not wrong. So logic dictates that the same would be the case with the third option, Rin, and if she is a trans character then it means that while Vincent might have been shocked about the fact at first he will grow to be okay with it and love Rin for who she is.
- I could see this being like testing the waters for this kind of relationship in general for Atlus, which means that if this goes well, then maybe we will get more varied relationships on the sexuality spectrum when it comes to their other games like Persona or the new high fantasy title Re: Fantasy. Catherine seems like the best testing ground for this, as it is the most mature title from the same team and focuses on such themes as sex, sexuality and relationships.
Of course, the possibility exists that Atlus will botch this up and Catherine: Full Body will just join the pile of poor representations of gender minorities like many are afraid. Rin’s gender could just be there for laughs, like it often ends up being in Japanese works. It is also possible that Rin isn’t even transgender and we’ve just all read more into the marketing material than there is. At this point everything is possible.
So why not be hopeful?