Catherine: Bad Representation Made Worse

Catherine is getting a remake and adding new content, which sounds really cool considering it’s an additional storyline. The mood is soured when you remember how transphobic Catherine is, and it looks like it’s being made worse with the addition of this new storyline. The new story involves Rin a new romance option for the lead character Vincent. Rin from the looks of the trailer, is a trans woman.

Before I dive too much into Rin, let’s look at how things went wrong with Erica and why the first sandwich needs to be fixed before making a second, worse one. Erica is the red headed waitress at the bar Vincent our protagonist frequents. She is the first to tell him the story of the Witch and the Nightmares that are plaguing unfaithful men.

These nightmares are where the gameplay of Catherine happens. Vincent navigates puzzles by pushing and pulling blocks trying to climb to the top. These nightmares, though, only happen to cheating men, and Erica. Yep, they make the trans woman have male exclusive nightmares, which means to the writers Erica is not seen as female or truly a woman.

Erica (left) embracing her partner, picking on him after he was talking about his distaste in losing his virginity to her, a trans woman. Also right after deadnaming her in front of friends.

During the true ending she is deadnamed and shamed by her friend and sexual partner Toby. Toby says “you used to be called ‘Eric’” and mentions he regrets sleeping with her and losing his virginity to her. She is being shamed and given nightmares because she is seen as a guy and seen as tricking a man into sleeping with her. Even though the build up to the whole thing is littered with Toby flirting with her.

From the Venus Mode Artbook, while most of the text is Japanese you can see clearly in English that she is deadnamed in the book despite being referred to as her real name Erica the entire game.

Lastly she is misgendered several times through the credits, manual, and the Venus Mode Art Book (deadnamed here as well). In the artbook her body type is referred to as “surprisingly broad shoulders” and her sex is male. It’s very clear that she is not treated as a woman even by her creators. Almost like she was made to be negatively represented rather than through simple ignorance.

It’s easy to say that this info doesn’t change anything about her and that it could do no harm to her as a character. But these already warp the opinions of fans on the character and by extension trans people in general. Many sites have drug her through the mud for “tricking” Toby, and referring to her as mentally ill or delusional. If this bad representation doesn’t create new hate it at least perpetuates old hate.

It’s pretty bad and if she wasn’t a kind, caring, and human character this representation could have been a lot worse. Onto the new stuff though, the new trans character for the remake is Rin. There isn’t much known about Rin besides what is shown about her in the trailer. Her sex isn’t even actually known and we have been going based off of her appearance in the trailer. But she is romanceable so we at least know she identifies as female because Vincent’s other romance options are all female too.

Rin, the third romance option in the rerelease of Catherine.

Many of the scenes in the trailer have this focus on what’s below her waist. Showing a few shots of her lower stomach and lifting her dress (seen above). Like they’re intentionally keeping something “hidden”. Further into the trailer they show Rin nude, censoring what’s below her waist with the back of Vincent’s head. Then pans to Vincent with a look of horror and shock on his face. As if something shocking was revealed.

Vincent, the game’s protag giving a look of shock and horror from seeing Miss Rin’s equipment. Also sorry for the half butt but alot of my work is half assed.

If Vincent truly is shocked and disgusted by Rin then this is a serious issue. This reaction would normalize Vincent’s reaction, but they could fix it to make the ending with Rin as nice and trans friendly as possible. Show that Vincent’s reaction was a bad one. It’s weird, when you consider that Vincent is a longtime friend of Erica’s. He has known Erica since before her transition, yet he would have such a reaction to another trans woman?

Considering Atlus’ history of representation I doubt that will be the outcome and it makes me wonder why they even put LGBT characters in their games let alone just Catherine. Their poor representation seems almost intentional at this point.

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Nichole Johnson

Hello, I’m Nichole and I’m a 27 year old transgender woman. I’ve been gaming since I was 8 years old and currently have every major platform. You can find me on Xbox One, PS4, and the Nintendo Switch. I love co-op, souls-likes, roguelikes, action, and rpg games. I play a large variety of games though and I’m playing something different every week, it’d be easier to list the genres I don’t like. Despite my experience and work I consider myself more of a casual gamer because I feel the definition of hardcore gamer has changed over the past couple of years. If you want to watch me play stuff live you can find me on Twitch as QueenHellcat.


5 responses to “Catherine: Bad Representation Made Worse”

  1. ProcHoliday Avatar

    If I went home with a girl only to find out she had a penis I would be pretty shocked. Are you saying that if this scenario happened you should just have sex with the other person just to not offend them? Because that’s what it seems like, and that’s an incredibly stupid opinion to have.

    1. 💖Nichole💖 Avatar

      It’s ok to be shocked, disgusted no. You don’t have to have sex with them, you don’t have to have sex with anyone unless you both want to. But you can at least talk about it before diving for the near trash bin to puke in. Nothing disgusting about trans women or their bodies is what I’m saying.

    2. 💖Nichole💖 Avatar

      Obviously no one has to have sleep with someone unless they both consent verbally. There is nothing stopping him from walking out right then and there, and he wouldn’t be a transphobe. I’m just saying he shouldn’t be disgusted, trans people aren’t disgusting. The company portraying us as something to be disgusted by, doesn’t feel great you know?

      Shock I can understand. Just saying it would be nice if they somehow worked this out and they could still be a couple in the end. I’d personally would like it if they talked it out, or was only shocked and disgusted at first. Like maybe he gets upset, goes home and they talk about it sometime later and they decide to date in spite of how poorly “the reveal” went.

      I don’t think it’s a bad thing to suggest a company whose games I like should do better when they have a history of transphobic and homophobic representation. I think it’s that criticism that makes me a good fan.

      (sorry if multiple of these show, sometimes the comment section can be buggy and I have to rewrite the whole thing just for them to show up later)

  2. justaperson Avatar

    “If Vincent truly is shocked and disgusted by Rin then this is a serious issue.”

    No, it’s not.

    Given what we already know of Vincent, the obvious thing is to believe that Vincent expected Rin to have female parts. IF Rin doesn’t, then it’s more than understandable that Vincent would be freaked out, as he wouldn’t have gone home with her under those expectations.

    How well and how long he’s known Erica is irrelevant: no one wants to be lied to and to find out that lie under those circumstances. Furthermore, his reaction isn’t all that different from when he woke up to find Catherine in the bed next to him. In either case, the face he makes is the natural one for someone realizing they’ve made a huge mistake, and has nothing to do with transphobia.

    1. 💖Nichole💖 Avatar

      Freaked out is fine, disgusted is not. Trans people aren’t disgusting, and that’s what I’m discouraging here the thought that we are. Sorry if it came across as otherwise. The whole thing with Erica is to show that if he (vincent) is an ally as the game frames it he wouldn’t be reacting in the way he is, disgusted, surprised sure. Also you don’t know the context, no one does, made that clear in the article too.

      Don’t assume that just because she is a trans woman that she lied to get someone to sleep with her, that’s transphobic thinking. Trans people just don’t tell anyone all the time, you could have been with a trans person and never known. As for the last bit, I dunno if finding out someone is trans is a mistake. They clearly trust Vincent enough for him to find out. Who knows, maybe she was too scared to tell him and this was the only way she could do it. I’m not saying he should or shouldn’t sleep with her, I’m saying don’t be disgusted.

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