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Old 06-21-2012, 04:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

As is normal for most long-lived video game series, the timeline for the Castlevania legacy is beginning to resemble a ten chariot pile-up, mangled horses and all. While Castlevania's lineage isn't as mixed up as a tangled fishing reel just yet (unlike, say, the Zelda series—cue mass groan from the gaming world), the series has still endured significant reboots, canon alterations, and prequel after prequel after prequel.

Some of Castlevania's canon changes, like the series' recent plunge into the alternate Lords of Shadow universe, is as clear and noticeable as a werewolf's howl. Other changes were made without celebration or ceremony, including the erasure of the original Belmont Prime: Sonia Belmont.

Sonia Belmont was the star of Castlevania Legends, a traditional-style Castlevania game that hit the Game Boy in 1997 (1998 in North America). Born roughly around 1450, Sonia was in the prime of her life when Count Dracula rose into power for the first time and discovered the joy of terrorizing Europe. Sonia, who possessed bizarre powers that no other human being could lay claim to at the time, was the first vampire hunter in the Belmont bloodline to stand up to Dracula, though it was her grandfather who bequeathed her the famed Vampire Killer whip and taught her how to fight.

Aside from her special powers and her talent in fighting evil, Sonia also had an interesting friend: Alucard, the son of Dracula, who was something of a celebrity to Castlevania fans at the time thanks to 1997's beloved adventure, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Castlevania Legends implied that Sonia and Alucard were more than friends, however, and maybe even 'friends with benefits,' as the kids say.

Sonia and Alucard had a final showdown/meeting before Sonia went up against Dracula, and after Sonia won, Alucard submerged himself in a long, long sulk. He woke up some years later when Trevor Belmont shook his shoulder and said, 'Dad. Hey dad. Dad. Wake up. Dad. Grandpa's gone senile and we gotta put him in a home. It's not gonna be easy, but I got this magic whip and about thirty axes.'

Let's back up for a minute.

Castlevania Legends had multiple endings, and if you got the best one, the epilogue showed an image of Sonia holding a baby. The snapshot was accompanied by a lot of dialogue about fate and destiny and children who would grow up to become vampire hunters. While it was never explicitly stated that the baby was Trevor and was sired by Alucard, you don't have to stretch your imagination too far to come to that conclusion. Anyway, it's kind of fun to imagine that the blood of Count Dracula is destined to forever return to him, generation after generation, with whip at the ready.

Or maybe Sonia Belmont got married to a nice farmer.

It's moot, anyway. In the early aughts, Sonia was made an unwoman by series producer Koji Igarashi. The first member of the traditional Belmont bloodline is now Leon Belmont, an 11th century knight who debuted in 2003's Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for the PlayStation 2.

Why the switch? Igarashi explained his position in a 2003 interview with EGM:

IGA: 'I purposefully left the Sonia Belmont character (from Castlevania: Legends for GBC) out of the official Castlevania chronology. (laughs) Usually, the vampire storyline motifs, females tend to be sacrificed. It's easier to come up with weak, feminine characters. I'll think about it more in the future, though. It's tough to fit a female hero into the early history of Castlevania, but as you move into the modern day, females can then more easily become a hero.'

As Dracula himself is so fond of saying, 'Blaaaah!'

To be fair, Igarashi's stance appeared to be less, 'Women can't be vampire hunters' and more, 'a woman living in that particular time period would have a hard time being accepted as a vampire hunter. I guess I could find a way to work around that, but c'mon guys, writing is hard.'

Moreover, in the August 2008 issue of Nintendo Power, Igarashi called Castlevania Legends an 'embarrassment,' gameplay-wise. He's absolutely right. Though the game's story and main character were both intriguing, the game itself was slow, clunky, and boring—definitely an embarrassment when you remember that games like Pokemon were pushing the Game Boy hardware to exciting new places at the time.

Igarashi did promise to 'think about' giving a female a starring role in a Castlevania game, though, and in 2008, he lived up to his word, sort of. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the Nintendo DS is staffed primarily by a female character named Shanoa, and she does kick an awful lot of butt.

Still, it's kind of deflating to think about how quickly and silently the original mother of the Belmont clan was cast into limbo.

[Images: Castlevania Wiki and Giant Bomb]



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Old 06-22-2012, 05:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

Interesting article. Igarashi seemed a little bit sexist in that interview. I don't know why they couldn't have included her in official canon. Kind of lame!
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

Interesting read. Good job robot

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Old 07-14-2012, 01:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

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"Women can't be vampire hunters"
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

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I was not a fan of that character. The zodiac animals brought a really cutesy feel that just felt awkward when stacked up with the rest of the game.

Still, good point. Also this:
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

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I was not a fan of that character. The zodiac animals brought a really cutesy feel that just felt awkward when stacked up with the rest of the game.
I liked Maria Renard. Problem is: beat Dracula X with her is too easy.
Anyway, my point was more by gesture than character.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

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I liked Maria Renard. Problem is: beat Dracula X with her is too easy.
I agree with the latter. I actually think that the cheesy ending is punishment for using the easier of two characters.

Quote:
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Anyway, my point was more by gesture than character.
Yes, I see it. I guess I have a natural negative reaction to the idea of her. I didn't mean to shoot down the contents of your post in any way, and I apologize if it may have come off as so.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

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I didn't mean to shoot down the contents of your post in any way, and I apologize if it may have come off as so.
No, please, at no time I understood that way!

I'm a bit outdated ... who is this girl you posted a picture?

Quote:
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(...) "a woman living in that particular time period would have a hard time being accepted as a vampire hunter. I guess I could find a way to work around that, but c'mon guys, writing is hard."

Yes, maybe.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: In Memoriam: Sonia Belmont, Female Vampire Hunter

Quote:
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I'm a bit outdated ... who is this girl you posted a picture?
Carrie Belnades, from Castlevania 64.
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