Well, it’s character-centric visual novel time again here on MoeGamer at the time of writing, and that always provides plenty of interesting female characters to discuss!
The first heroine from Our World is Ended that I wanted to look at is Tatiana Alexandrovna Sharapova. She has been the subject of a certain amount of controversy thanks to the ever-reliable outrage machine that is the Western games press, but she’s also an interesting character in her own right, and well worth exploring.
So let’s do just that, shall we?
In Our World is Ended, the majority of the narrative revolves around the game development company Judgement 7. Tatiana is a member of this crew, but she is introduced as a remote worker that protagonist Reiji has never actually seen in person. He is accustomed to her dialing in to the company’s meetings — or “Seven Councils”, as the company leader insists on calling them — and participating in voice chats while representing herself as an avatar that is nothing more than a pair of breasts in a yellow bikini. And indeed, this is how we, the audience, first encounter her, too.
It is perhaps understandable, then, that both we and Reiji might have certain assumptions in our mind prior to Tatiana actually appearing on screen for the first time — though some of those assumptions might be immediately subverted if you pay attention to her vocal mannerisms.
Specifically, Tatiana is one of those characters who overuses a particular sentence ending particle for which there isn’t really a direct equivalent in English; in her case, it’s のだ (no da), which is typically used in normal conversation to signal that the sentence in question is explanatory in some way.
However, the practice of making use of a sentence-ending particle that doesn’t necessarily make any sense is a common means of characterisation in media such as visual novels and anime, and such is the case here. Tatiana isn’t making literally everything she says into an explanation; it’s a vocal tic, and one that is commonly seen in characters depicted as somewhat childish — the character Al Astra from Death end re;Quest also has the exact same habit.
There’s another layer to it in Tatiana’s case, however; despite the fact that she’s a 13 year old middle schooler, she is also a child genius. She is a member of Judgement 7’s staff due to her extraordinary programming abilities, and she works remotely because the rest of her time is taken up assisting at her father’s scientific research laboratory. With this in mind, we can interpret the use of her tic as a suggestion that she’s a bit of a know-it-all, and perhaps talking down to people somewhat.
That said, one cannot ignore the fact that she is also a middle-schooler; standing a good half-body length shorter than the rest of the cast, it’s hard to ignore her childishness. In fact, it might come as a bit of a surprise to hear that she is 13 years old; she looks particularly young for her age, and acts even younger.
According to her official character profile, the majority of her social skills are at lower elementary school level at best, typically closer to kindergarten, and as such any of her visits to the Judgement 7 offices typically require one of the staffers to act as her “attendant”; she tries to make out that this is some sort of servile role based on her inherent superiority, but in fact, as Reiji discovers, it’s more of a surrogate parent role since she is totally incapable of taking care of herself, and isn’t averse to throwing an eminently childish tantrum when she doesn’t get what she wants.
Unsurprisingly, it’s this side of things where the “controversy”, if you can call it that, comes from. Throughout the early hours of her on-screen appearance, there are a number of crude jokes surrounding Tatiana — many of which are initiated by her, it has to be said — and this has led some people to be uncomfortable with what they see as her “sexualisation”.
What’s important to note in this regard, however, is that this is all to do with the study in contrasts that Tatiana is. For one thing, as you’ll recall, she chose to represent herself in voice chats as a busty blonde woman when in fact only the “blonde” part is true; as such, it’s clear that she understands the power that an attractive female form can hold over men such as Judgement 7’s leader Owari — and to a lesser extent, Reiji.
On top of that, we have the fact that she’s distinctly “mature” in some ways — notably her programming ability and certain pieces of specific knowledge (she shows herself to have an excellent understanding of psychology in particular) — that is clearly designed to make us (or at least Reiji) temporarily forget that she’s a clumsy young girl with the social skills of a five-year old.
The game — and its characters — take great pains to point out that thinking or doing anything indecent towards Tatiana is a fast-track towards severely negative consequences, and yet there are times when it’s difficult not to find her by turns cute, infectiously self-confident and in possession of an admirable work ethic; all undeniably attractive qualities.
In other words, it’s entirely intentional that you find the relationship between Tatiana and Reiji — and Tatiana and the audience, for that matter — to be a little awkward and just skirting that line of impropriety and decency. You know you shouldn’t joke about stealing her panties, but then she comes out and does it herself, and it’s hard not to play along.
Then she goes and calls you a disgusting pervert for entertaining such disgraceful thoughts, and it’s hard to argue with that — once again proving that women, even at such a young age, will forever be a mystery to the men of the world.
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