The 15 Greatest Women in Video Games

14.  Aika (Skies of Arcadia)

art-02aika_7040The Little Jack‘s boomerang-wielding southpaw, Aika is a member of the Blue Rogues, a group of sky pirates. This means she’s resourceful, a quick thinker, and possesses the various talents needed to be a core member of a sailing ship, and she has to do it on a planet that has no surface.

Aika is the deuteragonist of Skies of Arcadia and the spunky childhood friend of the central guy, Vyse, and while that role is a trope that was particularly pesky in the ’90s and aughts (specifically in Japanese games), Aika transcends her position by asserting her natural leadership at every corner of the adventure. Taking over as boss when the main dude gets stranded on an island? No problem. Fitting out her own ship? Nothing to it. Beating up ranking military officers/roasting enemy pirates with magic flames? A day’s work, really.

The other thing about being a female pirate is that Aika must constantly stave off the advances of creepy antagonists, and while she’s more than capable of handling this herself, what sets Aika apart from her cheerful sistren is that her rejection of Gaston-esque pervs is not accompanied by a submissive desire to throw herself at the main character (the most she does is comfort him with a kiss on the cheek during a meaningful conversation). Skies of Arcadia, while operating on another planet in a fantasy universe, “gets it” in many ways: the most affluent pirates in history (Ching Shih, Grace O’Malley, Rusila, Sayyida al Hurra, Teuta, etc.) were women, and they weren’t all stowaways dressed as boys, or “wenches” passed around belowdecks. There’s a reason the phrase “Pirate Queen” comes from real life and “Pirate King” comes from Gilbert and Sullivan – if Sega had the guts to release a sequel, I’m sure we’d be seeing Aika on a throne, and she’d look quite at home there.

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