Iconic Female Characters: Samus Aran and Marinette
In honor of Women’s History Month, Byte is doing a month long Byteing Question about the most iconic female characters and why they matter. Every day two writers will look at two characters that are important to them in many different ways. Today, we look at Samus Aran and Marinette
Metroid has been a series characterized by its brooding tone and dark atmosphere, full of brutal worlds full of creatures that either want to eat you, or are about to be eaten by even bigger things that also want to eat you.
So what type of protagonist is best suited for such a series? You think it’d be some sort of battle-weary space marine from some galaxy-wide war that has been waging for centuries. You think, but you’d be wrong; despite all the different DNA’s that have been spliced with her and the trauma she’s been through, main character Samus Aran ain’t takin’ guff from nobody. Each of the main games in her series have shown a different side of her as a character and as a woman.
: Funnily enough, the decision to make Samus a woman happened late in the development cycle effectively as a joke. It was more a plot twist than a facet of the story, from a last-minute meeting by the creators.
: This was the first game in which they show Samus as not just a badass bounty hunter, but as a woman with feelings that don’t interfere with her professional attitude. She encounters a baby Metroid and becomes a maternal figure to it, and the player develops some sort of strange mix of sadness and pride when it saves Samus and sacrifices its life for her. She even learns from animals, and if the game is cannon, saves them from the destruction of the planet.
: The game to introduce Samus’ ‘voice,’ so to speak. Her internal dialogue between assignments talks about her past experiences in the Galactic Federation Army, and her commander Adam Malkovich whom she had great respect for. She has wisdom and grace, but swift vengeance in dispatching enemies, but still feels like a character with weakness and emotion. So much so that even her evil doppelganger realizes its own weakness and joins with her to defeat a greater foe.
: Samus goes to different worlds and fights against the tyranny of the space pirates, which sounds like her normal routine. But she has to come to terms with her past (having been raised by the Chozo), and overcoming this makes her reach a kind of strength that doesn’t come from weaponry or skill.
In the second, she is the key in saving a peaceful world from the power of darkness, and shows admiration (in a scene that always wets my eyes) for the Federation Troopers who died there. In the third, you’re able to see her interact with other bounty hunters and living Federation Troopers.
: This game was controversial, and many fans considered her character to be the opposite of what the other games had supported to this point. Regardless of
and the scarcity of Metroid games, Samus stands proud not just as a woman, but as a bounty hunter who gets the job done and doesn’t mess around.
Miraculous Ladybug is a show that I had been waiting for for about three years before its first episode was released in 2015. It had everything it needed to make me patiently wait for it until it finally was released. The most important part of that was its main character, Marinette Dupain-Cheng, also known as the superheroine Ladybug.
As Marinette she is clumsy and self-conscious but also kind and interested in fashion. As Ladybug she becomes self-confident and powerful, able to take on the biggest of akumized villains and save the day with her partner, Cat Noir — who is in love with her, but she’s in love with a boy in her class Adrien. Adrien’s alter ego is Cat Noir. Neither of them know who the other is, but they form the perfect team.
Marinette is the perfect character for young girls to relate to. She’s unabashedly girly but she’s powerful and strong. She also makes mistakes, next to the mean girl, Chloe, she’s caused the most amount of people in the show to get akumized into a villain. But instead of ignoring her mistakes, she always tries to fix them and try to remedy things. She’s an incredible role model for young girls and boys alike.
It’s so easy for female superheroines to fall into traps where they’re just there for eye candy or that they have to remove their girliness to become a strong, important heroine. Yet Marinette avoids that trap. She loves fashion, one episode was entirely focused around her love of fashion, but that’s never seen as a weakness.
She has a passion for something and she excels at it. She is smart and clever a natural leader even outside of her Ladybug alter ego and as Ladybug she utilizes those strengths even more. She’s Paris’s favorite superhero, saving the city time after time from the villains akumized by Hawkmoth. She exemplifies everything it is that people should strive to be.
Marinette is one of my favorite characters of all time. She’s girly but she’s powerful, never seeing the girliness as a weakness but always as a strength. She is one of the best role models for young girls and boys out there and overall an incredible superhero. She’s the perfect amount of magical girl and superhero that creates a perfect mix. More creators should strive to make characters like Marinette — male or female.