Joachim Valentine is a minor character in Shadow Hearts (where he taunts his brother Keith, mentioned in the post on Meiyuan) and a playable character in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. He is a trained wrestler, who goes by the name of Grand Papillon (Big Butterfly). Like his siblings, he is a vampire. Towards the end of the game, Joachim can participate in the Man Festival where he fights his way through 100 men. If he fails he will “face a baptism that will strip away [his] manly dignity.” However, even if Joachim makes it through the trials to the final battle with the Great Gama he asks what the “baptism” entails. The Great Gama responds: “Those who fail in the main Festival must receive the winner’s full manhood!” The other main characters receive this news with disgust, which is intensified when it dawns on Joachim that regardless of the outcome he will have to have sex with another man. If he wins, he takes on the role of “The Great Question” (Great Gama’s title). The Great Gama announces that “the Man Festival must end with the final expression of love between two men!” as he pushed a seemingly unwilling Joachim onto the mat. The camera pans away, but the vocalizations from the characters and dialog from the other main characters indicate the two men are having sex. This video shows the related cut scenes from this part of the game.
On the one hand, aspects of this character are coded as gay or at least campy and flamboyant (see here), and he has been listed as an example of a gay character (see here, here, and here). However, in the one event that is most often cited as evidence for his homosexuality—sex at the end of the Man Festival—he seems to be an unwilling participant (being raped is not evidence of one’s sexuality). It is worth noting that elsewhere in the game, however, while being tortured by Veronica who wants him to be one of her “pets,” the player has the option of selecting this as dialog: “Stop! I’m not interested in women!” (image below). To this, Veronica replies, “Don’t say things you don’t mean!” After more torture, the following dialog option can be chosen for Joachim: “Let’s be clear! I’m gay, okay!” Given that these lines are much clearer evidence of Joachim’s sexuality, it is odd that the Man Festival is more often cited as evidence for listing Joachim on lists of gay characters.
LGBTQ references in this game:
- Fruit Brute. (2006, July 24). Top 20 Gayest Video Game Characters – Joachim Valentine. GayGamer.net. http://gaygamer.net/2006/07/top_20_gayest_video_game_chara_18.html
- Joachim Valentine. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://shadowhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Joachim_Valentine
- Joachim Valentine. (nd.). Retrieved from http://hero.wikia.com/wiki/Joachim_Valentine
- LGBT characters in video games. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_characters_in_video_games
- Man Festival. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://shadowhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Man_Festival
- rbble. (2006, June 20). Shadow Hearts 2: The Man Festival. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyOQDvkkZo4
- Young, K. (2013, October 31). 8 Great LGBTQ Characters in Gaming. Pixelkin. http://pixelkin.org/2013/10/31/inclusive-gaming-awesome-lgbtq-characters-in-games/