Arc System Works to “Minimize Usage” of Trap when Discussing Granblue Fantasy: Versus’ Cagliostro

Granblue Fantasy: Versus Cagliostro Trap

Arc System Works have announced they will avoid using the word “trap” in relation to Granblue Fantasy: Versus’ upcoming DLC character Cagliostro.

We previously reported on the gameplay reveal of Cagliostro; confirming the DLC character’s release date along with Yuel being the next DLC character. Granblue Fantasy: Versus is available on Windows PC (via Steam), and PlayStation 4.

Shortly after this, the game’s English Twitter account tweeted the following announcement.

“Due to the nature of Cagliostro’s design, it’s common to use the word ‘trap’ to describe how such characters leave snares, explosives, and other ‘traps’ on the screen. Similar characters to her include Byakuya (Under Night In-Birth) and Testament (Guilty Gear). Due to her circumstances, this can be misconstrued and misused as a transphobic term. We will do our best to minimize usage of it in our coverage and provide proper context each time. We also do not tolerate the use of transphobic slurs in our social media spaces, and will act as necessary when we see it.”

For those unfamiliar, the word “trap” is commonly used in circles of anime fans to describe crossdressing men who do not identify as women. The word coming from how others can be tricked or “trapped” into believing they are an attractive woman or girl; even if it is not the intent of that character or their creator.

Examples include Astolfo from Fate/Grand Order, or Hime Arikawa from Himegoto. Characters like Lily Hoshikawa from Zombieland Saga or Shuichi Nitori from Wandering Son would not be considered traps, as they are transgender.

Critics of the term consider it a slur, citing relation to the “gay and trans panic defense” as a reason the term is harmful. The implication of the word being that trans women “trap” men into a sexual relationship with them.

In anime and anime-based games however, the “trap” is generally just a running gag revolving around the character in question making passes at a protagonist or male character who reject their advances, or getting upset when people think they’re a woman despite identifying as male.

According to the Granblue Fantasy Wiki, Cagliostro was originally a “sickly boy” who used alchemy to create a new female body, and transferred “her” soul into it. From that point on, the character is referred to as she/her in her biography and dialogue. For gameplay, the character is categorized as Female in the Granblue Fantasy mobile game.

The alchemist is millennia old, having used multiple bodies over time, with extreme arrogance and pride. Her hobbies include “admiring herself, [and] conducting research.” In-game dialogue mentions how Caglistro is proud of having “the cutest body in the word.”

There can be speculation as to why Cagliostro chose a female form for her new body. Tribute to her sister who helped her with her experiments and study, curiosity, proof that alchemy can turn anyone into anything, to deceive and frustrate, wanting an attractive form, or even perversion.

Other dialogue indicates she is certainly used to using her appearance to get what she wants, or that alchemy is driven by the desire to “go where their curiosity takes them. Every secret the world holds is ripe for the plucking!” Beyond that, in-game dialogue only confirms that Cagliostro wanted this body.

However, one particular piece of in-game dialogue would suggest Cagliostro fully considers herself a girl.

Katalina: H-homunculus? I thought that was a legend…

Cagliostro: Well… You’re half right… And half wrong!

Cagliostro: It’s true that I make my bodies with alchemy, but the soul inside is, without a doubt, my very own.

Cagliostro: That’s why I’m a bit different from a homunculus! Hehe! Surprised?

Vyrn: Um, I think you just completely lost us there…

Lyria: We’re just glad you’re okay, Cagliostro! Your wounds healed right away!

Katalina: I didn’t know you kept switching bodies. So it wasn’t a misunderstanding that the alchemist Cagliostro used to be a man…

Katalina: Ouch!

Cagliostro: Geez, get it into your head that Cagliostro’s a cute girl now! Me, that is!

Cagliostro: If you want to talk about my old bodies, Ouroboros might have to chomp down on you! Teehee!

As such, it would be inaccurate to call Cagliostro a trap- as she has a female body and considers herself female.

Nonetheless, some users on Twitter argued against Arc System Works’ statement. Some felt it was overly-sensitive, and further reinforcing the claim that trap applies to transwomen rather than crossdressing men in anime. Others felt Cagliostro’s situation was so fantastical it had no bearing on real life gender reassignment surgery, and therefore Cagliostro was not transgender.

Cagliostro is akin to another Granblue Fantasy: Versus character Ladiva [1, 2], a hulking man who identifies as a woman; born of her deep respect for the power of love, especially paternal love. The character’s gender is listed as “Other” in the mobile game, meaning effects that would apply to Male or Female characters have no effect on her.

Cagliostro and Ladiva share a conversation in the mobile game, and despite being given the opportunity of a “feminine” body through alchemy, Ladiva rejects it “Because my parents gave me this body. It’s my treasure.” It should be noted all above dialogue is from the English version of the game.

In earlier news, moderators of r/Animemes banned the word “trap” from the subreddit in August, drawing backlash and losing almost 100,000 subscribers that month. Until then, the word trap had been ignored as an eccentricity of anime fan lingo, since use of the term has largely been used in good faith.

Image: Twitter

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