Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-02-18 17:38 (JST)
Translated by. Braden Noyes
On February 18, 2021, Nintendo officially announced the latest addition to the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate lineup: Pyra/Mythra. Fans have been eagerly awaiting a fighter from Nintendo’s popular Xenoblade Chronicles 2 title, and although the addition is a welcome one, some are wondering about the reasoning behind the changes to the characters’ outfits.
Pyra, one of the main characters from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, is a legendary blade known as an Aegis. After a fateful encounter with the game’s protagonist, Rex, the two set out together in search of Elysium. However, Pyra has an alternate form known as Mythra. The two not only look different, but have distinct personalities as well. Whereas Pyra is timid and quiet, Mythra can be very obstinate and distant.
To Rex, however, both personalities are dear to him. With over 2 million copies sold, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is quite a popular Nintendo title, and fans have been hoping to see Rex join the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster for some time. His likeness does make a cameo appearance in the form of a Mii Fighter costume wig, but that is far from being a playable fighter. In a somewhat unexpected twist, however, it was announced that Pyra and Mythra would be joining the battle instead. By now, these kinds of surprises have become somewhat of a staple of the Super Smash Bros. series.
Many had predicted that one particular aspect of these characters would make it difficult for them to join the roster, that being their outfits. Put simply, their clothing is too revealing, and both Pyra and Mythra have the attractive figures to match. In Pyra’s case, her original clothing leaves much of her waist and thighs exposed, and although her outfit fully covers her chest area, her back is almost completely visible.
This makes any scene in which she bends over a bit provocative. Then there’s Mythra, who sports an outfit with uncovered shoulders and exposed cleavage. Her legs are also left bare, a fairly common choice of Masatsugu Saito, the illustrator behind sexy character designs such as those from the animated film Expelled from Paradise.
The main obstacle these girls had to overcome before joining the battle was the CERO rating system. In Japan, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was given the CERO C rating for its “sexual content,” meaning the game was deemed appropriate only for those ages 15 and up. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, on the other hand, has the CERO A rating, meaning it has been approved for all ages. In other words, all content in the game must be appropriate for even children to play.
In the past, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai has mentioned some of the difficulties of making sure all content adheres to the game’s CERO A rating, such as them having to remove the ability to cut off the tail of a dragon from the Monster Hunter series or changing how we represent guns in the game. The alterations to Pyra and Mythra, characters originally designed for a game with a CERO C rating, are simply the latest. Let’s take a closer look at the changes the two of them had to undergo in preparation for joining the battle in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
First up, we have Pyra. Looking at her character design, the eyes are immediately drawn to her thighs, which are now covered by a pair of black leggings. Granted, the fabric is quite thin, leaving the skin somewhat visible, but her thighs do feel somewhat less exposed than her original design. Interestingly, this seems to be the only change to her outfit. Pyra’s back is still completely exposed, as are both sides of her waist. She appears to have escaped the need for a major change of clothes by simply throwing on a pair of leggings.
Mythra, on the other hand, had to put in a little more work. For starters, her cleavage is nowhere to be seen, completely covered up by her outfit. Her bare legs have also been hidden from view by a pair of black tights much thicker than those worn by Pyra. It’s as if the intention were to completely hide any trace of skin.
With Pyra’s thin leggings and Mythra’s new top and black tights, the two were finally allowed to join the lineup. However, the girls from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 are not the first female characters to undergo this type of outfit change. The female version of Corrin, Avatar from Fire Emblem Fates, was also given a pair of black tights to cover the exposed skin on the inside of her thighs before joining the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster.
These changes are not new for Mythra, however. Her outfit was actually altered when she made her Super Smash Bros. Ultimate debut as a Spirit back when the game first went on sale. It was at that time her cleavage was covered up and she was given a pair of black tights. Regardless, Mythra’s chest and legs had already become part of her identity, and many players voiced their disappointment when they were covered up.
But in a surprising twist, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 developer Monolith Soft made the decision to implement the altered outfit in their own game by adding what they called a special “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate costume.” By making her new outfit canon, they managed to incorporate the look into her character instead of it alienating fans. (Related article)
Mythra’s costume is based on her appearance as a Spirit, and since this particular outfit previously received a sort of “seal of approval” in her original game, it is doubtful to come as a shock to fans who are already familiar with the games. However, Pyra’s change is a different story. When she was first introduced as a Spirit, her thighs were left exposed. Now that she’s been added as a fighter, however, she is wearing tights.
This begs the question: Where exactly is the line between what is allowed and what isn’t? Judging by the changes made to Pyra, Mythra, and Corrin, one could make the assumption that the problem was their exposed thighs. However, take a quick look at some of the other fighters and you will see this does not seem to be the case.
Take Zero Suit Samus’s alternate costumes, for example. Two of them have her wearing a pair of hot pants with her thighs on full display. Fire Emblem’s Lyn also makes an appearance as an Assist Trophy with her thighs in full view as well. And while Byleth, the main character from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, generally wears tights, her legs are left exposed in one of her alternate costumes. These examples suggest there isn’t any sort of blanket ban on showing off a little leg. So the question of why Pyra must now wear tights, especially considering her Spirit form does not, is still a mystery.
When it comes to cleavage, however, it’s probably safe to assume it is not allowed. None of the main characters in the game have any visible cleavage. In fact, the only example of any note is the brief moment Ann, aka Panther, turns around while she’s standing in the background of the Persona 5 stage. Unlike the seemingly vague guidelines on how much leg can be shown, the fact that no other example can be found makes it clear that cleavage is out. Another matter to point out is how much breasts are allowed to shake. The rumor is that any representation of bouncing breasts is prohibited in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but looking carefully, you can see both Pyra’s and Mythra’s doing so.
Upon closer examination, the same can also be said of Byleth’s female form, suggesting that bouncing breasts may not be part of the criteria when deciding what is acceptable. Director Sakurai also mentioned in the past that they were unable to add Mai Shiranui from the Fatal Fury series to the game, who’s character design includes exposed legs, cleavage, and bouncing breasts.
The more you try and figure out where the line is for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the more of a mystery it becomes. In the end, it may simply be that there is no clearly defined line. With the sheer amount of content in the game, adhering to strict criteria would severely limit the developers’ ability to best portray the characters they add. Perhaps Sakurai and the development team, who both place a high value on the content of the game, are reluctant to do so. In reality, it’s more likely they have a general set of guidelines in place, and make their final decisions on a case-by-case basis. This could possibly explain why it seems as if some rules apply only in certain situations.
It’s important to also note that female characters are not the only ones subject to guidelines when it comes to how they are represented. A number of male characters’ designs have been altered from how they appear in their original games. In fact, we wrote an article not too long ago about the noticeable color of Sephiroth’s nipples when he joined the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. (Related article) It would seem that Sakurai and the development team are not afraid to enforce a dress code on both male and female characters when it comes to making sure their dream game can be enjoyed by players of all ages, and we’re sure they will continue to do so in the future.