Like most of Earth’s population, I spent much of January 11 2016 in a semi-daze thanks to the news of David Bowie returning to his home planet.
When I felt the initial constriction around my heart when the news dropped, I quickly thought “Wait, why?”
It’s not that I dislike his music. I love it. If I’m on a road trip and Bowie comes over the radio, you ain’t touching that dial, baby. That said, I’ve never been a steady consumer of Bowie’s fare, so it took me some time to pin a reason on why I’m going to miss the F out of him.
I think I figured it out.
David Bowie made a huge impression on the Japanese game developers who grew up with his music, then went on to make some of my favourite games. He didn’t exactly invent the concept of pretty bishonen game heroes, but I’ll choke myself with a fistful of sakura petals if his slim androgynous frame didn’t influence many of the characters I crushed on as a girl.
Just look at the character he played in Labyrinth, Jareth the Goblin King. That spiky hair, that elaborate leather cloak and cape, that musical songbird voice. Is he Sephiroth? Is he Alucard?
Directly and indirectly, Bowie gave us young girls something to project our earliest tendrils of lust towards. That was a rare thing in the ’80s and ’90s.
I’m just one woman, and a cis woman at that. I can’t speak for everyone in my gender. However, I can say that nobody in my peer group ever crushed on body builders, He-Man, Conan the Barbarian, or any of the horrid ’90s comic book heroes who seemingly stuffed potatoes into their tights. We preferred softness, prettiness — and a hint of danger to prove to ourselves that our crushes weren’t just boy-band baby-stuff.
That’s Jareth. Lord knows he’s one pretty picture, but he’s also a baby-napping seducer with a crotch-bulge that reminds me of Jormungand coiled around the world. I’m 34, and I’d still sell my brother to get a piece of that. Hell, I’d sell both my brothers if I could get a guaranteed delivery of post-coital corn chips.
So for me, David Bowie was Vega from Street Fighter.
He was Ryu from Breath of Fire II.
He was Kain from Final Fantasy IV.
He was Jowy from Suikoden II, Zero from Mega Man X, and Locke from Final Fantasy VI.
Is that a shallow reason for missing one of the most influential entertainers in history?
You bet your ass. But it’s my reason, and I stand by it.
(Title banner art of David Bowie by Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano. See what I mean? SEE??)