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FionordeQuester

Does Slavery of Women Not Equal Forced Prostitution in Dragon Quest?

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It was something that was kind of distracting to me while doing my first playthrough of Dragon Quest VI.  First there was Port Haven, where my eyes bulged out in shock at what the Mayor was willing to do to Ella just for mistreating his stupid dog...where it was like "Wow, if that's what he's going to do to someone who mistreats his dog, what's it like for someone who hurts his wife or something? ".

 

And then you go through the rest of the game, which, for the most part, seems fairly light in tone save for a few depressing bits (like Mt. Snowhere being frozen by the woman...still not sure why the party was cool with what she did when asked in Party Chat).  So it's about...a 4/10 on the "Dark and Edgy" scale...

 

And then suddenly, we reach Felonia, where the darkness suddenly shoots up to a full 10/10 as we learn that the game seems to be telling us that Felonia was literally a haven for sex trafficking.  The former king was obsessed with "beautiful dancer girls", had his own "private pleasure chamber" where he would presumably have sex with his female slaves (whether they were willing or not, since he is King after all), Milly was literally sold into this trade and then made to be one of the king's dancer girls...and then there's the fact that Milly is on pins and needles every time Felonia is even mentioned (her Party Chat dialogue mainly consists of "......." in regards to Felonia)

 

So what is this game trying to tell me?  That Milly may very well have been raped or something?  I'm guessing not, since the game is otherwise too light in tone for the writers to have something like that in mind...but it's something that, from an in-universe perspective, could've very easily happened to someone in Milly's shoes, or to any of the other women brought to the king in the past...

 

So, were the writer's blind to the kinds of things they were implying?  Did they not know that rape was something that usually happened in sex trafficking?  Did they even mean to describe sex trafficking as opposed to just regular slavery in Felonia?  For something so terrible, the game doesn't really spend a lot of time on it, and that whole subplot is promptly forgotten until the credits, so...why even include it if they did know?  

 

That is my question to you.  Because if the writers WERE fully aware of the implications of what they were writing, then I'm not really cool with it.  To go out of your way to describe one of the greatest evils in human society, and then not even make that big of a deal about it, or put much of a focus on it (like maybe showing us how Milly recovered from those traumas)...then wow, that right there is a pretty monumental blunder.

Edited by FionordeQuester

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Pretty sure they were. In the SNES version from what I remember, Bianca is abused heavily by whoever she ended up with if you married Flora or something.

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Pretty sure they were. In the SNES version from what I remember, Bianca is abused heavily by whoever she ended up with if you married Flora or something.

 

Haven't tried it myself, but... whoa, that's one way to guilt-trip the player.

It's like: "Not only did you break her heart, but because of YOU, her whole life became HELL! ...You may want to go ahead and erase that adventure log, then MAYBE you'll become a better human being after making up to her for it in your new game!"

 

I'm BARELY hamming it up. :P

Edited by Miles Edgeworth

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This isn't really adding to the conversation but when I first saw this title under new content I almost thought felixrush had returned to troll us again.

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Cray cray.

 

Looks like somebody's been spending too much time on Tumblr.

 

iX6AQjlvATU13.gif

 

Stop that.

 

 

Pretty sure they were. In the SNES version from what I remember, Bianca is abused heavily by whoever she ended up with if you married Flora or something.

 

No, she stays single and continues farming.

 

 

This isn't really adding to the conversation but when I first saw this title under new content I almost thought felixrush had returned to troll us again.

 

Ron-Swanson-Laughing-Gif.gif

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Cray cray

 

...Hm?  Don't believe I ever heard that before.  What does that mean?

Edited by FionordeQuester

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I kinda remember picking up on what had been going on in Felonia, too, and yeah, they don't really go in-depth about it. The writers might have not felt the need to since all of that was in Felonia's past, what with the despicable old king having died while the new one is taking strides to better the place. There are a bunch of unanswered questions, yeah, but that's one of the traits of the series: handing you events that never really have total closure.

 

That doesn't make it okay for them to take rape lightly, though, if that is indeed what the writers wound up doing. If the folks in charge of writing were mostly men then it probably wasn't a big deal to them. The original DQVI was also released in 1995, which I'd wager would be before the internet was at a point that folks could reliably complain and raise awareness about this sort of thing. Mind, I know of these efforts from what information my friends spread, but I have no idea whats being done in Japan, where all the development happens on these games. It's a different culture with different views, so it might be an issue of localization handling things more literally. (which, from what I recall hearing around here, is basically what happened with VI since Plus Alpha wasn't responsible for localizing it) I'm really not sure, though.

 

I do know that it always bothered me a bit that Milly has this traumatic element of being a slave-dancer in her past, yet her outfit is a little dancer-like and one of her poses in the official art looks like it could be part of a dance motion. Considering what went on you'd think the last thing she'd ever want to do again is dance, but ehh, I don't think the games really started delving into each character all that much until, what, VII? They just tacked on something to make something tragic about the character and then let your imagination do the rest, which might not always be the best course to go depending on what you're using to make this tragedy.

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...Hm?  Don't believe I ever heard that before.  What does that mean?

 

Allow me to enlighten you.

 

Dragon Quest is written with all ages in mind and it's doubtful anything original or localized goes beyond Jabba the Hutt-ish intentions.

 

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Mmm, I agree almost completely, though I will correct one thing...

 

 

 

I do know that it always bothered me a bit that Milly has this traumatic element of being a slave-dancer in her past, yet her outfit is a little dancer-like and one of her poses in the official art looks like it could be part of a dance motion. Considering what went on you'd think the last thing she'd ever want to do again is dance, but ehh, I don't think the games really started delving into each character all that much until, what, VII?

 

Actually, that's not so unrealistic.  A lot of sex trafficking victims, or victims of sexual abuse, will actually have a tendency to gravitate towards becoming prostitutes, or becoming more promiscuous, at least, if they don't have a good support network.  It's because, in their minds, they're "tainted", or, "not valuable" anymore, so prostitution is the only thing they're good for...

 

Again, probably not the case with Milly, since she doesn't act all that messed up.  More likely, she was a dancer before anything happened, and was probably, I dunno, dancing out in the fields when some rotten men happened upon her, thought "ooooo, she looks pretty!  And she dances!  Let's take her to the King!!", went up to Milly's adoptive father, persuaded him to sell her somehow, and then things just snowballed from there.  

 

If I had to guess, Milly got out before anything really bad happened to her, but, still, most likely, the other women weren't so lucky, and to bring THAT up, well...you'd better be darn sure you're going to treat this with the gravity it deserves.  Or just not have it be as big of a focus as it was (like how Breath of Fire 2 did it.  Some dude called Joker was just as creepy, but was some thug you dispatched in mere moments).

 

 

 

Dragon Quest is written with all ages in mind and it's doubtful anything original or localized goes beyond Jabba the Hutt-ish intentions.

 

I think the difference there though is that Jabba never succeeded at doing anything...plus, you don't spend a good half hour to an hour there slowly unraveling everything he does the way you do in Felonia (while you're trying to get the shield).  Plus, Return of the Jedi didn't go nearly as in-depth in regards to what Jabba was doing with his women.

Edited by FionordeQuester

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Yeah, I don't remember much of VI... I got kind of bored while playing it to the point that once I lost my DS with the game in it, even after finding it, it had been so long since I played I didn't want to bother finishing it. I also don't want to start all the way over either... (Ironically this game was more like DQVII than any other game before it, but the story was just too bland. It's good when you first start up the game, with the mudo cutscene and everything, then gets boring, then gets good for a while and then it forgets it's a DQ game and runs along with a vague generic-RPG plot it seemed like.)

 

ANYWAYS, though I barely remember this scenario in the game I can say this: From what I've seen of Japanese culture, sex is a slightly less taboo subject over there than it is here. Not to say that people walk around naked and that pornos are shown in movie theatres, mind you, but that they can get by without censoring quite as much for their younger audiences. I don't know this, but it sounds like a little bit more detail (not something tooo graphic) was in the original version, and the translators didn't want to change the story but also didn't want to include the whole thing in the western version, because they wanted the game to be kid friendly. That being said, THE GAME WAS RATED T. They could have probably left whatever it was in there without affecting the rating except maybe adding another tick to the rating explanation box on the back of the game's case. Just my guess. I could be totally wrong.

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Dragon Quest is written with all ages in mind and it's doubtful anything original or localized goes beyond Jabba the Hutt-ish intentions.

 

I think the difference there though is that Jabba never succeeded at doing anything...plus, you don't spend a good half hour to an hour there slowly unraveling everything he does the way you do in Felonia (while you're trying to get the shield).  Plus, Return of the Jedi didn't go nearly as in-depth in regards to what Jabba was doing with his women.

 

 

This is all I really need to draw from for the only point that has to be made....and if you want to skip ahead, go to the last paragraph, it concludes and summarizes my key points.

 

It's not about "making light" of any one subject, or a lack of appreciation for the horrible implications and ramifications we would associate with certain scenarios and behaviours.  It's about taking something that is EXTREMELY heavy, and writing it in a way that allows children to read it, see the basic nature of it, understand it's bad, but not dish out the heavier bits directly, but rather indirectly, so children cannot fully comprehend the true nature.  The underwriting and implied elements are still present and are indeed suggested AND implied as being 100% true but treated almost as speculation/rumour, in order to allow adults to read into the finer details and use our own experiences and knowledge to more fully comprehend and appreciate the gravity of the situation.

 

It's a particular writing technique, and I forget the name of it.

 

To actually answer your own question in your first post: Yes, it is 100% implied Milly was a sex trafficking victim and was likely rapped by the old King of Felonia.  Not only that, but it is heavily implied that Milly WAS trafficked not as a woman, but as a very young girl, VERY young.  It is also implied that the Queen Mother, when her husband was in control, had any girl tortured and killed that she caught with her husband, or noticed her husband taking an especial liking to.  It is further implied that Milly was one such girl and she was smuggled out before anything could happen.

 

This does not degrade the gravity of the scenario at all, and both you and Pantheon fail to appreciate the type of writing and the reasons these elements are used.  We forget so easily in this day and age that not 60 years ago children were told they would die in their sleep if they failed to pray to God, brush their teeth, do their homework, respect their parents, as the boogieman would get them.  If we go back another 100 years, the stories are even more brutal, and the fairy tales of Grimm and Anderson, written for children, imply all sorts of horrific elements to those who stray from a more righteous path, including sexual assault and touching of naughty parts.  Prior to this, stories told to children were even more gruesome and horrifying.  Not to mention the discussions and discourses in school about morals and teachings of possible outcomes for those who go down a wrong path, whether the child is Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, Hindi, part of some tribal structure with tribal rules.  Of course some peoples have lighter and more lax rules due to having a harsher environment, and the very nature of the world as a whole, and the threats presented play a larger part in structuring a child and adults into learning and understanding the dangers inherent in their environment, and even those dangers present between tribes (this includes elements such as rape/forcibly taking of women/children into either manual labor/slavery or as wives for pretty young women who are likely virgins, and of course death).

 

In Japan, yes, there is a different culture, but this was a factor and a major part of child rearing from Feudal Japan through to today as it was part of European and Mideastern societies from 1,000 years ago and beyond to recent times.  Today, in the US and much of Western Europe, we have simply softened and cushioned child rearing to such an extent we have not used and have forgotten this manner of story telling is as ancient as humanity is, as old as any oral tradition and any written tradition.  Though oddly enough we still use elements of it in children's books, like hidden moral meanings that become clearer down the road, as the rhyme's of early childhood are recalled in later development stages...

 

 

I got a bit off track, and to get back to the point, this is a series that explored suicide in the third game.  Heck, one of the three major story elements that is required to even progress through the game revolves around a lost soul that killed herself because her loved one never came back...to a child (myself when I first played it), it was a story of loss but I never fully appreciated the level of loss and the type of pain and suffering one goes through to bring oneself to suicide, and then for the desire to be reunited be so strong that the very soul cannot and will not leave the plane of the living.  That is just as powerful, has as much meaning, depth, and is as dark as Milly's story.  Dragon Quest V's entire story is one travesty after another befalling one child, and his ability to not only grow up whole, but rather than seek revenge for revenge's sake, he chooses to fulfill his father's own wish.  Overall I think the focus on destroying his family, and the amount of things his entire life is caught up in, without his knowledge, is mind boggling, and just blows Milly's story out of the water in terms of the number of layers and context, and number of possible psychological problems.

 

Not like V's hero becomes a sociopathic killer who picks on women due to mummy issues because no mum was there to take care of him.  Or heck, there are plenty of references to slaves that are used for other things than building the church.

 

DQ7's scenarios...

 

 

For myself I think it's brilliant.  It captures the essence without revealing everything, and allows just enough to sift through, with brilliant localization work that maintains those tenuous threads that walk the fine line between implied and out in the open.  If anything it's exactly the opposite, it allows such elements to be brought to bear while still maintaining Dragon Quest's more light hearted nature, without destroying the full magnitude by allowing the reader to come to the appreciation and understanding on his or her own.

Edited by ignasia7
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I can't really say that's something I had considered without sounding like more of a fool, now can I? :P

 

The whole 'softening for younger audiences' did occur to me, but I couldn't quite organize my thoughts much beyond that, so good job on having a more solid stance on things.

 

I should probably keep my nose out of these heavier topics.

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I can't really say that's something I had considered without sounding like more of a fool, now can I? :P

 

The whole 'softening for younger audiences' did occur to me, but I couldn't quite organize my thoughts much beyond that, so good job on having a more solid stance on things.

 

I should probably keep my nose out of these heavier topics.

 

Excuse my harsh tone above, I was not intending to imply you or the TC is a fool.  I just get impassioned and words flow, so please don't let the fact that it came out as a schooling be more like a scolding implying not to participate in discussions.

 

Heck, I often cannot arrange my thoughts properly and come out sounding like an idiot (far more grievous offense given it implies my wilfull ignorance), and yet here I am, still participating now and again in heavy debates.  The way I look at it, live and learn, you can't be expected to know or understand everything, and often the ability to fully comprehend a thing is not always granted at one point, and then at another...BAM, it's all there, genius personified!  Even the most brilliant men in the world get things so wrong in their own fields, their own body of work, and often due to small foulups, but they fix it, then continue forward.

 

There are certainly times that I've seen you post, read your reasoning, concept, and understanding of the subject and felt I need not participate because you've already stated what I was probably going to.

 

 

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is this:  Sure, I just corrected you, but that's life, man up, realize that there will probably be times YOU could take ME to task because I missed certain elements and wasn't able to realize it's not 1+1, it's (1+1+1)^((1+x)/(x-1)), and you were able to and were able to present it.  Not participating in the future is ridiculous because you do contribute a lot, and even if you were the biggest fool in the world, I'd still say participate because a broken clock is right twice a day, the only difference is you're human and able to fix yourself ;).

 

So you got knocked down, now stand up, brush your shoulders off, and go back to playing (participating in heavy discussions).

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What ignasia7 is trying to say:

 

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