Catherine: Is this mature rated game about more than just sex?

Logo from Catherine. It shows an image of a female with Catherine as the left half of the woman in the image and Katherine as the right half.

Catherine is a new story driven, puzzle based game from Atlus. It is being advertised as a mature game that discusses adult relationships including the issues surrounding cheating, love, marriage, and commitment. It is told through the eyes of the male main character, Vincent Brooks, and deals with his anxieties and experiences with his long time girlfriend named Katherine and a new women he just met named Catherine. I wanted to know if this game explores adult relationships or if is just an excuse for cutscenes with sex and cheating. After finishing the game I have mixed feelings about its success. There are definitely some positives, but there are also several strong complaints that I have with both the content of the game and the advertising surrounding it.

Note: This post will be done in two segments, the first will cover general comments about the game and the marketing while the second half includes late game story spoilers. I will warn before entering the spoiler section so those that people can easily avoid them.

I had plenty of fears about this game before release date. Most of them are a direct cause of the marketing campaign. Based on the imagery I imagined a story in which an overbearing girlfriend “forced” Vincent to cheat because she made his life so miserable. I was worried that she would be painted as a nagging, cruel, and overbearing partner.  For Catherine I was concerned that she would be a temptress presented as an opposite to Katherine: where  one is sexual the other is not, where one is kind and free-spirited the other is cruel and overbearing. The sheep made me think of these men as lambs sent for slaughter and I imagined Catherine as nothing more than the temptress/shepard leading men to their doom. With the images of Vincent running from a monstrous version of a baby or of his girlfriend Katherine I envisioned him as a caricature of a man afraid of commitment in his relationship, which is a an often seen trope in media. I did not want to see men painted as immature and afraid of relationships and women as either smothering, overbearing figures or reduced to just their sexual appeal. The largest problem for me with Catherine is that while it is not the game that I feared, it did not break through those stereotypes and instead relied on them to create drama in the story.


The Deluxe Edition “Love Is Over” version of Catherine comes with the following extras: a T-shirt similar to one worn by Vincent in the game (it says Empty and has a row of hearts with only the first few hearts filled in), a pillowcase with the game logo and an image of a sprawled out Catherine in her lingerie-like outfit, a cardboard pizza box with the logo of the bar “Stray Sheep”, and a pair of boxer shorts similar to the ones worn by Vincent during the game’s nightmare segments. This deluxe edition of goodies is aimed at male gamers. The boxer shorts and the large shirt will either not fit or be worn by a significant percentage of potential gamers. The pillowcase specifically is a nod to maturity meaning nothing more than sexuality. The art book included with the game has an image of Catherine eating a slice of pizza. This image was also used in early advertising of the game and it is very sexually suggestive. Catherine’s box art itself was also deemed too risque by some stores. The original versions of the art were cropped into alternate covers which are now being sold by many retailers. This advertising and art design reduces the game’s Mature rating to code for BOOBS! Boobs! Boobs!! Sex! Boobs! That does a disservice to a game that Atlus claims is about the mature themes of relationships,  commitment, and desire. With so much of the advertising focused on the sexual imagery, it makes it difficult to take the claims of maturity seriously.

Catherine original cover art. For the Xbox360 it is an image of Katherine lying on her stomach with Vincent hanging on her shirt. Several sheep surround her. The PS3 artwork is an image of Catherine standing and moving the straps of her shirt down over her shoulders with Vincent stuck in her cleavage and several sheep falling around her.

Alternate covers for Catherine. Both the PS3 and the XBox360 artwork were cropped to show a closeup of either Catherine or Katherine's faces with falling sheep around them.

Love is Over/ Deluxe Edition of Catherine. Included a Stray Sheep pizza box, art book, music CD, the game, Empty heart t-shirt, boxers, and the pillowcase with the game logo and an image of Catherine sprawled on the pillow.

Purely in terms of Catherine as a game, I really enjoyed it. The puzzles were challenging but fair.  The undo button was a nice addition after complaints of high difficulty when the game was first released in Japan. Save points before every puzzle made it so that losing progress was never an issue if a specific puzzle was extremely difficult. There is also a Very Easy mode that can be unlocked in the opening screen of the game for players that have trouble with the high speed and intensity of the puzzles. With both Vincent’s cutscenes and the tales of the patrons at the bar I wanted to see where the story would go next. But at Border House we look at more than just if a game is fun and it is with the story of Catherine where most of my complaints are found.

Vincent’s actions often feel inconsistent with his stated desires. He claims several times that he wants things to stay the same in his life, which should mean that he wants to continue a relationship with his long time girlfriend Katherine. Yet his affair with Catherine is in clear contrast to this desire for things to remain unchanged. My annoyance with this is increases when I felt a lack of control over Vincent’s actions. He continues to make choices that seem to contradict how I answered the questions during the nightmare sequences and the responses I gave for the text messages on his cellphone. The only effect those choices have on Vincent are his thoughts during the cutscenes, but the major actions and decisions around those scenes are largely unaffected by my choices. This player lack of control mirrors Vincent’s perceived lack of control in his own life. He acts as those the relationship milestones and issues with Katherine are things that are happening TO HIM rather than something in which he is an active participant. In much of the game we see Vincent reacting to events in his life rather than taking responsibility for his decisions and their consequences.

One of the things that is done exceptionally well in the game is the voice acting. I especially like the voice work for Katherine. My initial worry of her being painted as nagging or angry was mostly erased through the wonderful voice work. At times there are lines of dialogue or segments where she is upset or angry but for the most part the acting did not steer her toward the stereotype I had feared. It feels ambiguous enough that the player can decide for themselves how they perceive Katherine.

A general complaint from the game is that it is primarily a male centered story. It tells the tale of a 32 year old guy and his worries and anxieties. The other sheep in the nightmare segments are also male. The majority of bar patrons are male. As a whole it feels like a game about men, for men, written with the male point of view in mind. Even when adding the stories of the other bar patrons and their anxieties the game lacks a greater diversity. It is mainly a tale of heterosexual men hanging out with other heterosexual men in a bar.

Now is when I now need to discuss some of the detailed story elements of the game. Spoiler territory ahead! Turn back now if you don’t want to read it.

Not only is this a game about men it is also extremely heteronormative. As the game progresses it is assumed that the men dying in their sleep are all heterosexual males who have been having affairs.  The very end of the game reveals that this is not the entire story. The antagonist of the game is one of the most heteronormative figures I have seen in recent games. It is revealed that this force making men undergo these nightmares is a god who explains his goals in the following terms: “Wasting a woman’s time of greatest fertility is a hindrance to the future of the species. So, we separate these non-fruitful couples and redistribute the women to men who can follow the natural order, you see.” This is an antagonist who literally sees women as nothing more than baby incubators. Through these nightmares and the help of Catherine he puts men into situations where they will cheat and therefore allow the women in their lives to move onto other men so that they can procreate. His argument reduces both men and women to their biological functions and says that this is the sole purpose of humanity. Love, compassion,  and partnership are never mentioned because all this god cares about are people having children.

Luckily, Vincent disagrees with that narrow view of humanity. He yells back at him  “Look men and women… they’re more complicated than you think!” and “Despite what you think, we don’t need any herding.” and finally, “But I AM human! And I’m free to choose how I live!”.  Sadly, this is not fully explored within the game. Throughout most of the storyline we see Vincent fear commitment, fear having a baby, fear taking responsibility, and fear talking to either woman about his true desires. Rather than being a complex character he is the often the stereotype of a man who cannot take a relationship seriously. His relationships with Catherine and Katherine are full of complexity but he chooses to not deal with either of them. He does not discuss his fears and anxieties with the women in his life and instead spends his time drinking at a bar with his friends. He is avoiding making a choice and living with the consequences of that decision. Men and women are more complicated than the god claims but Vincent shows little of that until he finally defeated the god at which point the majority of the game is long past. It is only at the end of the game that he begins to make conscience choices and live with the consequences of his actions.

Another revelation is that the blue/red scale used to gauge text message responses and confessional booth answers within the game represents Freedom versus Order. Choices that lean toward selfish desires or Catherine are Freedom, and those that care about the needs of a partner or favor Katherine are Order.  This just adds to a false dichotomy presented with Catherine/Katherine. Early on during their relationship Catherine she tells Vincent that she is happy to be his girlfriend but only if he never cheats on her. That comment mirrors Katherine’s desire for monogamy in a relationship. So both women want that “order” in a relationship yet Catherine is seen as Freedom whereas Katherine is seen as a restrictive Order choice. Instead, I saw both women as similar in some ways. While they may dress differently and have different physical appearances both women care about Vincent, want to spend time with him, contact him frequently by phone, and want a monogamous relationship. I have a difficult time seeing the two women as complete opposites like the game suggested with the Freedom versus Order dichotomy.

One large disappointment with the game came from a revelation surrounding Catherine. We are told that, “She is a succubus. She appears at will and seduces men under the curse by appearing as their ideal woman.” She is that shepard leading sheep/men to their slaughter. The overt sexuality she exhibits and the clothing that hints at lingerie exists because it is Vincent’s true sexual desire. Which means that the two main women in the game are portrayed as either coercing Vincent into commitment or as little more than a personal seductress. This reveal made Catherine a far less complex character and turns her into a pawn in the antagonist’s game. I am currently replaying the game and will be trying to choose Catherine as Vincent’s end game partner. I am unsure how the game will deal with this decision in light of the fact that she is not a real person. One small positive is that when discussing the affair with his friend Orlando, Vincent says that he knows Catherine would not be “his type” and he knows this because she is Vincent’s “type”. This bit of dialogue shows an understanding that sexual preference is varied and individual.  While Catherine is Vincent’s personal ideal he knows that this would not be true for everyone.

After learning the truth about Catherine it becomes obvious that the affair is not physical, but rather something that likely only occurs in Vincent’s mind. There is no physical Catherine and thus no physical affair. The only person that ever saw Catherine was Vincent, even when they were supposedly sitting together in the Stray Sheep bar. Yet Vincent said the following to Katherine in my game, “It may have been fake, but in my heart I was still cheating on you…. I’m sorry. I know you can’t forgive me for what I’ve done… I finally woke up.” His understanding that he did have an affair, even without the physical contact, was a high point in the game for me. He is in a monogamous relationship and therefore his belief that he is having an affair with Catherine and his lack of desire to end that relationship is a betrayal to his pledge to Katherine. That discussion showed a level of maturity and care for his relationship that the rest of the game was lacking.

Erica, the red haired waitress from the Stray Sheep bar. She is wearing a yellow uniform, with a white apron, white and green sneakers and is holding a tray with a beer and a rum and coke.

Finally, I cannot discuss Catherine with talking about the character of Erica Anderson. She is the waitress at Stray Sheep. She is cheerful, friendly, flirtatious, and has known Vincent and his friends since they were young. Toby, a younger friend of Vincent’s, has a crush on Erica. As the story progresses the two of them date and have a sexual relationship which is significant to Toby in part because it is his first sexual relationship. At the ending scene in my game Erica walks over to Toby to give him a hug but he pushes her away and says, “The guys knew you as Eric back in school. I want my damn V-Card back!” She replies with “Sorry, but once that hole is punched, there’s no refund!”.  That short scene informs the player that Erica is a transgendered character and there are both low and high points to how this is portrayed within the game. During the entire game Erica is referred to with female pronouns. In the art book and in the game guide her description also uses female pronouns. Sadly, there are several instances where Vincent’s friend hint that Erica isn’t a “real woman” but they could be easily overlooked at the time as them teasing a friend, but in hindsight they seem cruel. I did find it as a positive that they never tell Toby about Erica’s past throughout the bulk of the game. I saw this as a sign of acceptance of Erica by her friends. Therefore I am quite upset at Toby being told of Erica’s past at the end of the game by his friends because that is information that should be disclosed when Erica felt comfortable doing so, not given away as gossip. A further striking choice was made by Atlus when they decided that Erica would undergo the nightmares along with Vincent and the other men. I assume that she is having the nightmares because she is not able to procreate, but since only men are lured into that dream world it hints that she is not truly female, at least in the eyes of the god controlling the nightmares. That decision gives license for players to also not see her as truly female and that is the biggest failing in her portrayal.

Overall, Catherine is a game that fails to shatter stereotypes. In its attempt to tell a mature tale about adult relationships it thrives in cliches. Vincent wants everything to stay the same yet he fears a permanent commitment to his relationship. The idea of a having a child causes him great anxiety, so much so that a child is the boss in two separate nightmare stages. When he is unhappy with his relationship, rather than talking with his long time girlfriend, he instead sits in a bar getting drunk with his friends. Vincent’s “ideal” woman is a blond, blue eyed, younger woman who is sexually bold and wears provocative clothing. This is a set of over used cliched that are never shattered. Vincent’s conclusion that people are complicated creatures is never fully explored by the game. In the end, I wish Catherine showed more depth and examined its adult themes with more care. For games that do these things I recommend some previous titles by this team: Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3 and Persona 4. In fact, Catherine alludes to those games several times with images of characters or icons from the Persona series scattered around the Stray Sheep bar. Personally, I am thrilled that an Atlus game sold 200,000 copies in the first week but I wish it had been one of those two gems rather than this latest project. The Persona games handle complex character stories much better than Catherine and I would recommend those games for players interested in mature themes that really do mean more than just boobs and sex.

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24 Responses to Catherine: Is this mature rated game about more than just sex?

  1. Sunflower says:

    I enjoyed this article, thanks for writing it. One thing that bothers me is the seemingly common perception that monogamy equals boredom and stagnation and can only be accomplished because both people stick to some arbitrary rules. I think a monogamous couple can also be free to question norms and make their own path, but that isn’t explored much in my experience. And yeah, like in this game, men are portrayed as being basically immature and unwilling to make choices and take responsibility for their own happiness. It is cliched and tiresome.

  2. Laurentius says:

    “Overall, Catherine is a game that fails to shatter stereotypes. In its attempt to tell a mature tale about adult relationships it thrives in cliches.”

    I think it’s true and not true at the same time, it terms of storytelling it’s a cliché, it terms of relating for heterosexual men (and I agree this is a low of the game ) I don’t think so. Men (not all, but many, many men ) live this cliché or to be honest most people lives are full clichés but seeing it the video game medium, playing through this, I don’t know, it sounds pretty good.

  3. demonicmurry says:

    I have to agree with Laurentius’s comments. I think we are over-stating the negative of this stereotype. Vincent is kind of a fuck-up and often time, especially in relationships, our actions are contradictory to our own beliefs. While we can view Vincent as clichéd, that is a complaint with media. But I think it is important to denote that he is not a cliché in the videogame space.

    Personally, I have no qualms with this being a heteronormative story. The game makes no attempts not to be. Yes, it is heavily a heteronormative space, but it is also a masculine space. And Catherine explores homosocial relationships at the bar with Vincent’s friends in contrasts with his heterosocial life. These are also gendered spaces that should not be forgotten in future analysis of this game.

    I too am glad Catherine is selling well, not only because it is an attempt to have a mature story about relationships, but also because the tenacity of its design. It’s a social “dating”, puzzle-game, pseudo-RPG and the attempt of originality to create a hybrid/remix/genre is also commendable.

    • gunthera1 says:

      I am really interested in this discussion of cliches in media overall versus gaming as a sub-genre. Personally, the fact that that stereotype is something I have not seen discussed a lot in games didn’t matter to me because it is so ubiquitous in other media. I think maybe I would have been more likely to accept that portrayal of men if the game had gone deeper into Vincent’s thoughts/ideas. Rather than exploring why he is afraid of marriage/children we instead have him mostly worried about Katherine finding out about Catherine and vice versa. I never really felt like I knew how he felt until the very last scenes of the game. So in my mind it just stayed a stereotype and was never really examined. I do agree with Laurentius’s comments that “most people lives are full clichés” but I just wish the game explored Vincent’s thoughts/anxieties a little deeper than just a nightmare with a monstrous baby. Not only was the cliche not shattered, I didn’t think it was really looked at thoroughly. Or is there something that I was not seeing when I played the game?

      • Olivia says:

        Did you make a point of checking the ATM at the Stray Sheep every night? I remember at least one time when I checked his account, Vincent made a comment about how his finances are a wreck and he’s worried about providing for the baby. I never got the impression that he was that distressed about the pregnancy specifically, just that it was one more thing complicating the current situation that he was already panicked over because Catherine kept showing up. When he finds out that Katherine is not pregnant at the end, he seems upset about it.

        • gunthera1 says:

          I did not check it every night, but I did see that thought toward the end of the game. I can see how that comment could be read as such but I was also never completely sure how he felt. I wish I knew MORE about how he saw everything (Catherine, Katherine, the pregnancy, marriage) in the game. I wanted a bigger window into his thoughts.

  4. mecha lolzilla says:

    I agree with Laurentius here. I get a feeling that a lot of men experience something like this. Parts of it certainly rang true with me.

    I agree that the characters, especially Vincent, aren’t that complex in the end, and the twist took away from the whole of the plot for me. However, for a media which has practically no character studies about things that happen in life after your teenage years, I am happy to see the Persona team talk about these things.

    Having a main character, especially a man, who is actually doing damage himself and those around him from his unwillingness to look at his life? (And the solution isn’t to “Be A Good Person” necessarily) Unplanned pregnancy? Even cheating, presented in a way that isn’t “they’re with a terrible, mean person; the one’s they’re cheating with is really the one that they really love.”

    The ground this game covered is pretty impressive, all in all. I’ve been frustrated with the hamfisted way this media approaches character depth and life, but I realized that video games are just starting to hit puberty. That gets us obvious critiques of naive philosophies (Bioshock) and character studies of not very complex characters (Catherine).

    I would love to see a version of the story through Katherine’s eyes, but it would necessarily be a very different game. I don’t see the problem with a game about a guy struggling with typical masculine relationship problems to be male-centric. I would love to see the woman-centric one, though.

  5. Maverynthia says:

    I had a feeling the game would live up to it’s marketing. Even though ATLUS stuck their name on it, they have been known for the boobs and sex genre before. It was a major turn off when I saw the pillow with Catherine on it. Record of Argarest War had a similar item and it was a similarly horrible game.

    However since a bunch of people bought the game and made a record for ATLUS they will only release MORE games like this. Misogyny sells and it seems that everyone is buying. ;_;

  6. Alex says:

    Fantastic review, really well done! The whole commitment-averse man-child stereotype is so very tiresome and just about the least interesting characterization a game like this could take. It would be interesting to see this sort of game that doesn’t rely quite so heavily on old cliches about men and women and relationships.

    • Deviija says:

      This sums up what I feel as well. Formula like that which is presented in Catherine, to explore personal relationships and dig into the psyche of various people, have such an opportunity to use it as a tool to examine much larger social (and social justice) issues and relationships between people that are not homogenized. Race, gender, sexuality, relations between people… a lot could be done for this kind of social medium.

    • Olivia says:

      I thought the game handled the commitment-averse stereotype pretty well actually. The whole point of the game is that Vincent needs to grow up. Even his bachelor friends that egg him on have serious issues and anxieties deep down that damage their own relationships, as you find out toward the end. So it’s a stereotype that’s definitely not celebrated and by the (true) end, Vincent and most of his friends have matured significantly beyond the stereotype as well.

      • gunthera1 says:

        I did not talk about his friends and the other bar patrons in this post but that is definitely one section of the game that was a highlight. Their stories touched on a variety of themes and were generally really interesting. But, like the rest of the game, I wish I had gotten even more details. I would love it if the game had twice as much story as it does now so it could look at all those issues a little deeper.

  7. 0thello says:

    So Erica was there for Atlus to make jokes about rape via deception? Isn’t that an already overused cliché of transgendered females? Hmm I think I almost went an entire day without seeing this trope…

    Geez, I could understand if there was some sort of SVU storytelling to drive the story along but this just seemed like a cheap shot and most of all a wasted opportunity to discuss some serious dynamics.

    • gunthera1 says:

      “but this just seemed like a cheap shot and most of all a wasted opportunity to discuss some serious dynamics.”

      That sums up my main disappointment with the game as a whole. It could have discussed a lot of really interesting topics but it failed to do so in a meaningful way.

    • Sas says:

      Someone on the megaten team must really have an issue with trans people, since this makes it the third game of theirs that I know of, to use a trans character in such a way. Seriously disappointing, I was looking forward to this game.

  8. Richard Naik says:

    When was Erica in the dreams? I must have missed that.

  9. Matthew says:

    I’ve been checking this website very frequently since Catherine came out because I had a lot of the same fears. I’m still uncertain whether I should play it or not, but it seems to be making some very, very awful assumptions about relationships. That, and the weird, vaguely hentai-ish art and marketing is really off-putting.

  10. mim says:

    It’s too bad that such an interesting concept has to be squandered like this (heck, when even Yahtzee points it out, you know that it’s bad). I might still have been tempted to play the game though, could I afford it. I’ll have to give some props to how they drew Catherine – fashionable and slender as she may be, it feels like ages since I saw a woman in media whose main appeal is that she is cool – not sweet, not beautiful, not cute and not sexy, cool. The promotion art of her is right up there with male anime characters of similar design and it’s fantastic to see. That said, I’m aware that I’m showing the appreciation that you do for crumbs when you’re starving.

  11. Marco says:

    I have been grappling with so much about this game since the initial announcement, and my feelings about have changed with every bit of news and even every bit of content I saw after each release (the JP and NA).

    Since it’s Atlus, I expected it to explore things fairly well, but I was also prepared to be fairly let down. I think when it comes to exploring humanity and ideals with a more fantasy or sci-fi edge and broader terms, they tend to get pretty on-point with presenting us different sides, views, alternatives, etc. But I think when it’s more personal, and in games like Persona especially and now Catherine, they can do so well and yet still lack so much. But I do like the fact that they go to places that most devs stay away from – or even just use, but don’t actually care about their handling.

    The advertising and marketing of the game really bugged me though too. From the get go, the sex was heavily emphasized. I think it also brought an even uglier side to gamers. I noticed a lot of males already preferring Catherine because she was sexy, younger and they viewed her essentially as a minx. I liked Katherine more early on because I liked her design better and her personality seemed natural and like one I liked, but after a while, I felt bad for her. (And interestingly enough, I feel they handled her pretty well in the JP dialogue, and I definitely think Kotono Mitsuishi played a HUGE role in that; but in an interview, one of the translators and two of the VAs mentioned a bias to Catherine for varying reasons and I actually felt like that leaked over into the localization at times.)

    My friend pointed out that Vincent doesn’t really do the things he wanted though either, and he had a hard time getting the good Katherine ending even when he thought he was doing things perfectly. I don’t know if it says something more about Vincent or the dev team. ^u^;

    Vincent was a huge point of… Mixed feelings, I suppose? I really liked his design, and I felt like his personality could go either way (really early on anyway). But it became increasingly clear that he was essentially a kind of listless guy who was just unhappy with everything and couldn’t grow up (to make a somewhat cruel paraphrasing). It’s only natural that there are different (good) endings, and I’m glad they’re there, but in the end to me, having them just always feels like a way to applaud Vincent no matter what he does (except for when he completely loses out).

    You make an interesting point about Cathy and Kathy though. I hadn’t entirely thought of it that way, but now I do entirely agree that at least as far as their romance (with Vincent) goes, they are very much so similar and mirror each other. I think it kind of ends there though, and that’s what I think helps distinguish them more, but it does kind of make things in the game… Well, I don’t know really. it certainly sends out an interesting message at least.

    Quite disappointed I didn’t get to talk to my friend more about the Erica stuff though. That is another broken case… I think that’s also one of the places in sexuality where Atlus tries to approach things, but has a hard time. It makes me think back to Kanji in P4 (and someone else, but that may be more spoilery than mentioning Kanji). I like to give Atlus credit for trying, but I feel like these kind of matters are sticky with them. With the decisions they make, you have to wonder how things are truly being presented. That Erica experiences nightmares bugs me, but I wonder if it’s more telling of the god or Atlus. But at the same time, how each player reads into and identifies with all this is what matters in the end.

    I think in the end, the game will certainly make (male) gamers consider these things, but I feel like the game ultimately feeds into some unfortunate implications and messages. Perhaps in the end, they tried to make it too much like an Atlus game and that was the problem. Or maybe it wasn’t even sticking close to their style that did it, but how they presented it anyway.

    Definitely agreed about P4 (and from what I see, P3) approaching these things better. I don’t know if it’s just because of the dev team at Atlus or it’s a matter of what they wanted to do with Catherine, but I hope that maybe it helped them explore matters of relationships and sexuality better too, and that when we get P5, it’ll be significantly more refined with the help of the Persona games and Catherine.

    Thank you so much for this post~. I’m so happy to finally see a review like this of the game, and I wondered if any of you guys would talk about it here, so I’m glad you have. This was a great read and helped my thoughts on not only the game but also the themes involved more as well.

  12. Jade says:

    I think you have to be careful when calling the presentation of relationships in Catherine cliched. The “commitment-averse manchild” cliche isn’t really a stereotype in Japanese media. Considering all the characters in this game have Western names and are presumably supposed to be American, it’s probably more a take on what the Japanese see in Western media: commitment-averse manchildren and lots of boobs.

    I really don’t think you can comment on the game without mentioning that the cast members are supposed to be American, because it affects the way they will be written in a big way. When Japanese media has American characters it tends to go way overboard with the stereotypes because what they get from America is ONLY the stereotypes in movies and TV and such. And then you get things like Metal Gear Solid.

    So basically what I want to say is “don’t forget this game is made in Japan”, and don’t expect the Japanese to have some nuanced take on Western culture because they won’t.

    • Marco says:

      I think you have a point, but at the same time, only to an extent? Japan does have its own “commitment-averse manchild” cliche/stereotype. Usually it’s applied to a younger crowd though, but it’s still there and apparent.

      The cultural differences are quite relevant though, and it is true that a lot of companies and creators (whether it’s for manga and anime, television, video games or what) do tend to fall prey to using media and stereotypes, plenty are informed, and even the ones who supposedly do research and travel can fail (which is pretty much a mirror of us), so I think sometimes, that doesn’t have as much bearing and application as it usually would.

      But I think the game works with Japanese and American culture (values, themes, etc). More to some and less than others on both sides, but I think it does go with both, interestingly enough.

  13. L.R. Weizel says:

    After having seen a bit of a play through I was thinking the same thing about the Catherine/Katherine Dichotomy…

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