CODE: REALIZE – CHARACTER DESIGN ANALYSIS (PART 2)

Remembering the first part of this series of post, Code: Realize is an Otome inspired in the steampunk culture, where its characters come from history or from fiction books. The preceding post offered a little introduction about Code: Realize – Guardian of Rebirth (コードリアライズ Code: Realize ~創世の姫君~), the steampunk and, already entering the main topic, about one of the five principal male characters: Arsénse Lupin, who is inspired by the literary figure with the same name. In here will be some references from the previous article, so I recommend you read it before continuing.

So, as there are no more reasons to wait, let’s continue with the description of the rest of the handsome ones.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN: OUR GENTLE AND KIND ALCHEMIST

Just like Arsène Lupin, Victor Frankenstein belongs to the literary world as the main character in Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus”. He’s an Italian-Swiss scientist who developed a big passion for the chemistry and becomes obsessed with the idea of creating life, achieving it by giving life to his own creature often referred to as Frankenstein’s monster. It’s believed that Mary Shelley creates Victor inspired by Johann Conrad Dippel, a 17th-century alchemist. In fact, some details in the story of Code: Realize are similar to the ones told in this person biography.  

Although the classic scientific steampunk stereotype is mad and Victor Frankenstein’s representation in the majority of adaptations applies this, the Otome portrayed him as a tragic figure as the novel do, where is a person eaten by guilt but who shows kindness due to his outward disposition to speak. The Victor Frankenstein of Code: Realize, in addition to showing the characteristics already mentioned, retains the intellectual capacity of the original character. This feature leads to putting glasses on him since this accessory is known as mandatory to “look smart”. As a matter of fact, this idea dated back to the Middle Ages, when monks used glasses to study despite declining vision and causing since then, that people associate glasses with people who perform an intellectual or other highly skilled work. [1]

To what physically refers, Mary Shelley doesn’t give a specific description of her main character, nevertheless it’s possible to deduce certain particularities thanks to quotes inside the R. Walton’s  “Letter 4” that said: “He was not, as the other traveler seemed to be, a savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but a European”. Based in these words, one can assume that Victor has white skin and blond or brown hair. The designer of Code: Realize choose brown. Likewise, he is most certainly not physically unrefined, given Walton fails to define him as a savage [2]. Finally, on the same Letter, Walton uses the word attractive to describe Victor.  

Illustration where it’s possible to see how Victor Frankenstein wears glasses, has white skin and brown hair, is attractive and not physically unrefined.

NICE CLOTHES AND COLORS!

Talking about science clothes, the white coat is indispensable considering it serves to protect from accidental spills of chemicals. This suits Victor Frankenstein very well, seeing that in the Otome, the chemicals work as his principal weapon. Following the same safety purpose, he wears a pair of gloves and boots of leather with brass details which are as well basic materials in the accessories of the steampunk fashion. To complete the steampunk style, it’s necessary to include a classic Victorian outfit, and the formal vest under the coat meets this requirement.

The color is another aspect to take into consideration. On account of the colors of the coat, the gloves and the boot were already described in some way, let’s talk about the sweater and pants.

Green is dominant because it’s the tone that came to mind when thinking in Frankenstein and his monster. The truth is that Mary Shelley describes Frankenstein’s monster as yellow so, where is the green coming? The culprit is the makeup artist Jack Pierce, who in the movie “Frankenstein” of 1931, applied grayish-green greasepaint for the Monster’s skin due to it was the way to look with a deadly pale gray tone in black and white films. This resulted in a product universally acclaimed and accepted as the visual representation of Mary Shelley’s creation, accepting the green as his color since it was the one seen outside the movies. The khaki pants touch is probably because it’s a common tone in the photos of steampunk labs, a place that has a lot of relation with Victor Frankenstein.

Some examples of steampunk lab photos where the green, the brown and the khaki are part of the color palette can see below.

Steampunk Laboratory by Anastasiya Pikanova
An image obtained from https://www.aetherman.com/museum/

GEARS AND SOME OTHER STEAMPUNK DETAILS THAT CAN’T MISS

Two items where the steampunk is present it’s in the stethoscope and in the belt buckle. The stethoscope is an obvious steampunk piece due to it combines the 18th and 20th century. The earpieces are like the modern big headphones known in the 20th century, adding the particularity of a transparent case that permits see a series of gears.

Big headphones that worked as inspiration for Victor’s stethoscope. The gears are also seen through the transparent case.
Headphones photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

The tube is like the ones of the 20th century stethoscopes. Entering to the 18th-century, some parts seem to be made of brass and the bell is like the binaural model invented by the New York physician GP Cammann in 1855.

Victor’s stethoscope design also include elements of the modern ones (like the photo at the right) and 18th century stethoscope (at bottom)

Modern Stethoscope by ernstl [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
Allison’s differential binaural stethoscpoe by Wellcome Library, London [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The final touch is the belt buckle that has the shape of what it seems to be Victor’s emblem and, following the same rule as Lupin’s one, it has gears in its design. For Victor, the emblem is a utensil that has a close relationship with chemicals: a flask. The one chosen is the round bottom flask since its form permits adding details inside, in this case, various gears which are characteristically of the steampunk aesthetics.

Fragment taken from the Official Art Book where the belt buckle design is shown.

Well, the post ends here. I know that I am just describing one character per article, but my intention is to give the most complete description of the design of each personage to offer you interesting posts to read. I hope you enjoy them!! I say goodbye for now and see you in my next post!

REFERENCES

[1] Fleischmann, Alexandra & Lammers, Joris & Stoker, Janka & Garretsen, Harry. (2019). You Can Leave Your Glasses on: Glasses Can Increase Electoral Success. Social Psychology. 50. 38-52. 10.1027/1864-9335/a000359.

[2] “In Frankenstein, how is Victor Frankenstein’s appearance defined? I’ve looked for his appearance, but it only comes up with the monsters appearance.,” eNotes. [Online]. Available: /homework-help/what-victor-frankensteins-appearance-97701. [Accessed: 13-Dec-2019].

BILIOGRAPHY

I'm a Graphic Designer in love with Otomes and JRPG. I like the interface design area and that's why I really like to talk about this theme. You can conquer me with a good videogame Illustration book and a good capuccino.

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