Hello Master Malstrom,
When reading your post about how Samus Aran is similiar to the character Britomart an even older woman-warrior popped in my head: the Greek Goddess Pallas Athena. She’s born in full combat gear (from Zeus’ head, not to say the least), spear and shield included (the spear being also important weapon for Britomart…and Samus arm cannon can be seen as the sci-fi version of the spear).
Another common attribute with Athena and Britomart is the concept of Chasity. Athena was one of the so-called Virgin Godesses, another being Artemis, being repulsed by the aggressive nature of men.
As all the glorious readers know, Athena was the Goddess of Organized/Defensive Warfare, Crafts and Wisdom, aspects that are also important in the Metroid games and for Samus Aran (learning the necessarry skills, knowledge and mastering combat to succeed).
But Athena was actually more then that, she was actually the Patron God for the city-state itself. The aspects she represents being necessarry to have a city-state survive and thrive in the long-term (organized armies for defense, crafts so that trade can bloom and wisdom for the leaders). To see one’s birth city as the Alma Mater (nurturing mother) is also a strong image throughout history going through the medieval times and early modern times (quite some european cities have female characters linked to them representing the city, one even slayed a dragon!)
but it gets even more interesting from there! As we all know, the Greeks also had Ares as the God of War, but he represented the violent and uncontrolled ravaging of wars (no Greek city-state actually used Ares as their Patron God… but the Romans did use Mars as theirs…). You once talked about how some people misinterpret women as disliking war but Obama’s decision to intervene in Libya was motivated by female advisors. It seems the Greeks already understood that women can be as warmongering as men (in different ways) by splitting the aspects of war between a female and male deity. Also Athena had a big hand in guiding the Trojan War while Ares was not mentioned much in the Epic.
Why bring up this? Because in ancient times you also had… Amazons! Warrior-women on horseback resisting any male dominance, described as very beautifull and… passionate, kiling and enslaving men (well, the pretty ones anyway). But, they actually worshipped Ares as their Patron God (many Amazonian Queens were also daugthers of Ares). Just to show how warrior women were in various types, even in ancient times.
The Warrior-woman probably orginates from an ancient belief, when humanity still only hunted and gathered its food, of the Mother-Goddess (which Athena or Hera in the Greek Pantheons are echo’s of). A life-bringing but also protecting mother-like deity, sometimes responsibe to give birth to the world itself. They would often have servant maidens acting as protectors against aggressors to the world (very often male).
There’s a reason why Vikings have the Valkyrie or Hindoe religion has female warrior-godesses. It’s a very strong concept of a fierce but protecting female character, clad in armor and wielding weapons with a certain sense of purity linked to their personality (often being eternal virginity, the armor literally protecting it). Taking Samus Aran out of her armor and making her a blonde bimbo not only removes that image of the fierce but protective female warrior, but also that sense of purity. Samus also having these maternal instincts and daddy-issues doesn’t fit the image of the female warrior. They are about kicking ass to protect others from aggressive forces. How you can screw up a simple concept like that…well Sakamoto has proven you can.
Good tidings to you and all the glorious readers!
Athena is definitely a good point.
Doesn’t it seem like Sakamoto was hostile to Samus’s suit? In Metroid Fusion, he removes the iconic suit and replaces it with some weird jumpsuit. In Zero Mission, he has Zero Suit Samus who runs around doing stealth gameplay (wtf?). And, of course, in Metroid: Other M the suit is often de-emphasized.
If I was ever allowed to ask Sakamoto questions, one of them would be why he kept trying to remove Samus’s iconic suit and turn her into a ninja style acrobat. I think the suit is really cool. I like the feeling of Samus being some frail and fragile pretty Human enveloped in a thick protective suit of armor. It is not unlike the feeling in Master Blaster where the little fragile guy becomes safe in his big jumpy tank.