Diversity’s an important thing. Especially in our cultural works. Art does reflect culture, after all, and works without diversity are pretty much saying that certain groups just don’t exist or aren’t worth talking about. In a lot of respects, one would think I’m pretty well represented. After all, you don’t have to go too far to find a white male somewhere in video games. People don’t often notice that I’m a minority as well. But I am. I face casual discrimination on a daily basis, from a society that doesn’t even seem to notice that it’s doing so. I live in a world that makes itself very clear that it was not built for me, and would much rather just leave me behind. My kind have a history of being subjected to abuse just for being who we are, to the point that many have had our defining trait beaten out of them. Most speakers of the English language still make habitual use out of words that were once used as slurs against people just like me. I’m a member of a group that makes up somewhere between eight and fifteen percent of the population, yet is still one of the most underrepresented groups in any medium of art. I am a left-hander.
Well more than a year ago, I wrote a post highlighting some of the most prominent southpaws in video games. In that post, I highlighted just some of the many, many obvious advantages of my kind, and gave light to the few of us who have managed to shine through as video game characters in our right-centric world. I’m proud of that post, and it still ranks as one of the most popular things I’ve written on this blog. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any new left-handed characters in video games since then. Seriously, I’ve been looking and the most recent leftie game character came out a couple of months before I wrote this post. This seems daft to me. I thought I made the case for greater southpaw representation quite well. Now, you might think that nobody in a position of power has been affected by my post because I write a small blog and nobody’s gotten the chance to read it. Well, you’re wrong. Completely sensible and actually right but I’m being dramatic here so you’re wrong! This is obviously a case of the establishment trying to keep a hold on things, to make sure our group remains oppressed, so that they can sit there and have all the prominent positions in the video games and the movies and the books and smoke cigars with their right hands. Well, I’m here to fight the Right Power movement. I’ve kept my eyes open since that last post, and I’ve got plenty of new characters to add to our roster, and together, we’re going to shake things up. Let’s go!
Mega Man-Mega Man Franchise
Look at that. Just look at that picture. Have you ever seen such a demonstration of left-handed glory? Well, except for MegaMan.exe on the far left there. He thinks he’s so cool. But he’s not.
Being a primarily 2-d character, it’s been a little hard to get a firm confirmation on Mega Man’s handedness. Sprite flipping plays havoc on everybody, so it’s been really hard to tell in game. He was usually depicted as holding using his left hand for his Mega Buster or other weapons in the official art and game boxes, but not always, and, well, you can’t really trust Mega Man’s box art anyway. When the series made the jump to 3d in Mega Man Legends, Mega Man Volnutt (far right in the picture above) was solidly a leftie, and every other version of him has followed suit. Except for MegaMan.exe. Who is lame.
Hey, while we’re at it…
Zero-Mega Man X and ZX
He was originally designed as the much cooler replacement for Mega Man, so of course he has to be left-handed. Going right would just be a step down.
Zero’s polarity used to be just as hard to figure out as Mega Man’s. He was just as subject to sprite-mirroring, and, although official art did depict his handedness more consistently, determination was stymied by the fact that he used two different weapons; a sword in his left hand, and his blaster in his right. Which one was his mainstay? Arguments could be made for both. Even though it was definitely his sword, you fools.
His more recent appearances have settled the matter. In Capcom’s Vs. series, where he’s in his traditional model, he definitely relies far more upon his blade than his blaster. In the ZX series, in his new model…
There’s just no question.
This is again a character whose polarity took several releases to determine. In the original games, Red has a static sprite, so you never see either way. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen make it clear, though, he’s definitely a leftie. Every time he pops out a Pokeball, it’s his left arm making the throw. Obviously, this handedness illustrates exactly why he’s the best trainer in the series.
Sheva Alomar-Resident Evil 5
The partner of Chris in Resident Evil 5, Sheva is… well, a bit of a load. Yeah, there’s no amount of fake handism I can muster that’s going to make her seem awesome. She’s there to waste resources and cause problems for Chris. Also, to make the game not racist by putting one black (barely) person on your team to balance out the fact that you’re mowing down a bunch of African guys with grass skirts and spears. Interesting fact about Sheva is that she’s got unique reload animations for everything to reflect her handedness. It’s not just the same animations played out in a mirror. Capcom actually took the time to make her left-handed properly. If only they could have taken the time to do anything else properly, that game.
Golbez-Final Fantasy IV
We covered Kain from the same game last time. Golbez is left handed for the exact same reason: to be more of a mirror to the protagonist Cecil. Apparently Cecil’s so right-handed he needs two lefties to balance him out. Also, Golbez is left handed to establish his role as the strongest being anybody’s ever seen. Southpaws are tough. Seriously, did you see him take that Meteor and not even flinch? A right-hander definitely couldn’t have handled that.
You know what, Final Fantasy’s got a lot of left handed characters I didn’t touch on last time, and I’m wanting to include them for completeness’s sake, but don’t want to spend a whole lot of time repeating myself. Let’s go ahead and rush through them.
Palom-Final Fantasy 4
Three southpaws in one game. I’m pretty sure that’s the record. Palom’s a lefty in order to mirror his twin sister Porom. I’d complain about not being able to get a left-handed character without it being there to reflect on a rightie, but this one’s pretty accurate. Twins do seem to be more likely to come in cross-lateral pairs.
Leila-Final Fantasy II
Amano was never a stickler for authenticity, so don’t let the artwork fool you. Leila’s a lefty, through and through. You know what your partners did before you found Leila? They sucked and died, that’s what. Luckily, the better combat skills, intelligence, and all-around greatness that comes native to us left-handers enabled Leila to not only survive, but to continue being useful to the resistance after she left your party, even filling in for the royals at points.
Leon-Final Fantasy II
In creative works, left-handedness has long been a sign of villainy. That’s where we get the word for ‘sinister’ from, in fact; just old-timey discrimination against southpaws. For centuries, people have enforced the view that being left-handed was a sign of a dark soul. That’s also prevalent here, with Square making the chronic betrayer of Final Fantasy II left-handed. Of course, because he’s a leftie, he’s also the most powerful of your temporary party members. So at least they got that fact down.
Reno-Final Fantasy VII
Reno is by far the coolest member of the Turks, for reasons that are immediately obvious. Oh, sure, the fangirls will have their own explanations. They’re just lying to you, though. It’s all in the power of that left hand.
Siegfried and Nightmare-Soul Series
Given that they’re the same character, well, usually, it goes without saying that they share a laterality. As befits one of his handedness, Siegfried is one of the most central characters in the Soul Series, and one of only four to appear in every game. He’s quite the accomplished swordsman, being the first person able to seize the cursed Soul Edge from Cervantes and claim its power for his own.
Of course, once he was taken over by the cursed blade and became Nightmare, the power granted by his handedness made him the most fearsome opponent in the series.
Raphael and Amy Sorel-Soul Series
It’s a hard thing, trying to figure out ways to make a left-handed character cooler. That’s like trying to add to infinity. Raphael, with his left-handed fencing style was one of the standout characters of Soul Calibur 2, being both one of the most noble and one of the swifter fighters on staff. In fact, the only person who was able to beat him as far as the story is concerned was Nightmare, another lefty. Then he became a kickass vampire. That’s how you do it.
Because obviously none of the right-handers were able to take him on, Amy Sorel, his left-handed daughter had to join the fray to try and bring him back to his senses.
Shadow the Hedgehog-Sonic Franchise
Yeah, there’s black sheep in every family. Not all southpaws can be the cool guys.
Aika-Skies of Arcadia
Vyse’s constant and greatest companion, Aika is really the heart and soul of the team. Also, a good chunk of it’s muscle.
Hey, you know what? After all these, I’m still going strong. I’ve got more characters than I’ve got time to detail them. So wait and watch for part three of this exciting series! And hey, look! That next part’s right here!