First appearing in 2013 as part of Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate’s arcade release, Marie Rose has gone on to be an incredibly popular part of Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo’s long-running series of fighters.
Marie Rose was presumably introduced in order to attract people to the arcade version of the game — the first time the series had hit arcades for 13 years — but subsequently found herself coming home in the form of downloadable content for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Since then, she has been a regular fixture in the series — and popular enough to appear in several spin-offs and collaborations, including Warriors All-Stars and Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash. So let’s put everyone’s favourite wicked lil’ servant under the spotlight today!
As she first appeared in an arcade game, where the emphasis is typically on competitive play rather than narrative development, we didn’t start to get a picture of who Marie Rose really was until later releases in the series.
We learn that she’s a servant of longstanding character Helena Douglas, and that she is a practitioner of the Russian martial art Systema — though her form is somewhat unorthodox and adds a number of original moves to the mix. She is also somewhat at odds with the discipline’s philosophy of being “calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion and pride” — but she nonetheless appears to be a very capable fighter, and at the outset of Dead or Alive 6 successfully defeats Helena in order to prove herself worthy for a dangerous mission.
In that game, Marie Rose develops a friendship with Honoka and, given the latter’s distinctive ability to copy the fighting styles of others simply by observing them, even has something of an influence on her combat capabilities. From there, the pair come to get along very well with one another, and work well as a tag team combination in the games — their original team intro features an untranslatable Japanese pun about the enormous disparity between their bust sizes.
Marie Rose is one of the most petite of the main Dead or Alive cast — both in terms of height (4’10) and bust size. In the latter case, she’s the smallest of all the women in the cast, which certainly makes her stand out amid a group that has been well-known for their big jiggly honkers ever since 1996.
Personality-wise, she’s a bit of an enigma. While superficially appearing to act in a very immature, child-like manner, a bit of observation demonstrates that this is actually a carefully crafted persona designed to manipulate others.
This can clearly be seen in her loss animation in Dead or Alive 5, where she appears to be crying on the floor like a little girl, but looks up partway through just to make sure her assailant (and the player) are watching — and also in one of her appearances in Warriors All-Stars, where she spends most of the battle gradually converting the assembled forces to “her” side simply by fluttering her eyelashes and acting in an exaggeratedly “girly” manner.
Despite the fact that she knows how to make use of her distinctively feminine wiles and young-looking appearance to get what she wants, she dislikes being treated as an actual child. This is mostly seen in the Dead or Alive Xtreme games, where she is keen to prove to both Helena and the Owner that she wishes to be seen as an adult.
Marie Rose’s design is very distinctive, with her iconic default outfit consisting of a Gothic lolita dress, blonde hair tied up with black ribbons and some big clumpy platform boots. The latter aspect of her outfit is quite interesting, because it feels like it contrasts somewhat with the rather “delicate” nature of the rest of her outfit — it also draws attention to the fact that without them, the fact that she is the shortest member of the cast would be very obvious indeed!
A lot about Marie Rose — her Swedish nationality, her young-looking appearance, her birthday being the same as the National Day for Sweden and her immature mannerisms — is assumed to be a middle finger towards Sweden’s rather zealous child pornography laws, which caused 3DS title Dead or Alive Dimensions to be pulled from sale in the entire Nordic region.
In an attempt to point out the absurdity of said laws, a Swedish forum user pointed out that several underage characters in the game — Ayane, Kasumi and Kokoro, who are all 16 or 17 at the time of Dimensions’ narrative — could be photographed from revealing angles. Under Swedish law, the poster wrote, this is potentially enough to be regarded as child pornography — though he didn’t intend for anyone to take any action in this regard. Unfortunately, someone did; the game was reported to the Swedish authorities using these exact laws — though an investigation eventually deemed the evidence to be lacking, and the game was never actually legally banned as such.
The damage was done, though; the game was pulled from release by Nintendo, and retailers such as Game and GameStop in the Nordic regions refunded customers who had pre-ordered. A silly situation, to be sure, and what better way to poke fun at it than with a character who very exaggeratedly plays up the things Dimensions was accused of? (It is worth noting, however, that Marie Rose is canonically 18, and that her default outfit is one of the least revealing of the main cast — even going so far to have traditional puffy bloomers under her dress rather than skimpy lingerie!)
Well, thankfully all that nonsense is behind us now — at least as far as Dead or Alive is concerned anyway, though other games still occasionally have trouble in that regard — and we can enjoy the presence of Marie Rose in a variety of different games.
Just don’t trust that wicked lil’ smile; she knows what she wants, and she damn well knows how to get it!
The MoeGamer Compendium, Volume 1 is now available! Grab a copy today for a beautiful physical edition of the Cover Game features originally published in 2016.
Thanks for reading; I hope you enjoyed this article. I’ve been writing about games in one form or another since the days of the old Atari computers, with work published in Page 6/New Atari User, PC Zone, the UK Official Nintendo Magazine, GamePro, IGN, USgamer, Glixel and more over the years, and I love what I do.
If you’d like to support the site and my work on it, please consider becoming a Patron — click here or on the button below to find out more about how to do so. From just $1 a month, you can get access to daily personal blog updates and exclusive members’ wallpapers featuring the MoeGamer mascots.