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Jill Valentine

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Jill Valentine
Resident Evil character
A 3D rendering of a fictional character using realistic proportions. She is wearing a black cap, black fingerless gloves, blue and black shirt and beige pants with a gun belt. She is holding a pistol in her hands and also has a communication earpiece
First game Resident Evil (1996)[1]
Created by Shinji Mikami
Designed by Isao Oishi (RE character design)[2]
Jun Takeuchi (RE character models and motion)[2]
Kenichiro Yoshimura (REmake)[3]
Voiced by (English) Una Kavanagh (RE)[4]
Catherine Disher (RE3)[5]
Heidi Anderson (REmake)[3]
Kathleen Barr (Under the Skin)[6]
Patricia Ja Lee (RE5)[7]
Kari Wahlgren (MvC3)[8]
Michelle Ruff (Operation Racoon City)[9]
Voiced by (Japanese) Kikuko Inoue (Under the Skin)
Atsuko Yuya (MvC3, UMvC3, Revelations, Operation Racoon City, Project X Zone, REmake HD, Project X Zone 2)
Motion capture Hanai Takahashi (REmake)[3]
Patricia Ja Lee (RE5)[7]
Portrayed by Sienna Guillory
Fictional profile
Birthplace United States
Nationality American

Jill Valentine (Japanese: ジル・バレンタイン, Hepburn: Jiru Barentain) is a fictional character from the Resident Evil horror franchise by Capcom. A special-operations agent, she made her debut appearance in 1996 as one of the protagonists of the original Resident Evil game, in which she and fellow STARS member Chris Redfield are trapped in a mysterious mansion. Jill is featured in several Resident Evil games including Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil: Revelations, where she is in conflict with the Umbrella Corporation and its splinter groups. She is also a founding member and key field operative of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, a paramilitary organization.

Shinji Mikami, the director of the original Resident Evil game, said that he was opposed to the frequent sexual objectification of women in video games and preferred to make strong, independent female characters. Jill's facial and physical appearance for the 2002 remake of Resident Evil was based on model and actress Julia Voth, and has also been used for several other games in the series. The film series' version of Jill is portrayed by Sienna Guillory. She was introduced as a co-protagonist in Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), made a brief appearance in Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), and returned as the main antagonist of Resident Evil: Retribution (2012).

Described in The Escapist in 2005 as "a classic example" of a female horror-game character, Jill has received favorable critical reception and is featured on many top character lists. She is widely regarded as one of the most attractive female protagonists in video games, though her sexualization and role in relation to gender stereotypes has received both praise and criticism. Jill has sparked two video game Internet memes and has been used in various Resident Evil merchandise.

Appearances[edit]

In video games[edit]

Jill Valentine first appears as one of two playable main protagonists of the original Resident Evil game (1996), in which she is an explosives expert of the Raccoon Police Department's Special Tactics And Rescue Service (STARS), Chris Redfield's partner, and a former member of Delta Force.[10]. At the time of the game's release, Jill's ethnic background was given as half-French, half-Japanese.[11] Before the game begins, STARS, including Jill's Alpha team, are deployed to investigate a series of bizarre murders in the fictional Arklay Mountains where they discover and enter the Spencer estate, which houses Umbrella Corporation's Arklay Research Facility biological warfare site. With Chris missing, Jill works initially with Barry Burton, another Alpha team member, as they inspect the estate and battle its undead residents. Eventually, she and Chris discover that STARS commander, Captain Albert Wesker, has betrayed them. After defeating the monster Tyrant released by Wesker, Jill escapes the self-destructing mansion in Brad Vickers' helicopter along with Chris, Barry and Rebecca Chambers.[10]

Jill returns as the main protagonist of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999), where she is forced to side with a mercenary named Carlos Oliveira, a member of the Umbrella Corporation's paramilitary force who was betrayed by his employer. Throughout the game, Jill and Carlos cooperate to escape from the epidemic in Raccoon City before it is destroyed by a U.S. government nuclear strike. Along the way, they fight Nemesis, a modified Tyrant super soldier sent by Umbrella to dispose of the remaining STARS members. After several encounters with Nemesis, Jill is infected with the T-virus, though Carlos is able to procure a vaccine from a nearby hospital. Finally, she defeats Nemesis, and Barry Burton returns to Raccoon City to bring Jill and Carlos to safety moments before the city's destruction.[10]

Emerging alive from the Raccoon City outbreak, Jill becomes a founding member of the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance (BSAA) under the United Nations.[12] In Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles (2007), she works with Chris Redfield to expose and destroy the Umbrella Corporation by raiding their research facility in Russia, defeating Umbrella's newest bioweapon creature, T-ALOS.[10][12] Jill is also the sole protagonist in Resident Evil: Genesis (2008), an alternative-story version of the original Resident Evil game.[13] Before the events of Resident Evil 5 (2009), Jill apparently dies while saving Chris during a confrontation with Wesker. During the game, however, Chris finds information suggesting that she may still be alive. Eventually, he discovers that Jill is under Wesker's control. He used Jill's DNA, and the remnants of the T-virus within her body, to perfect his new Uroboros virus. Chris and his new partner, Sheva Alomar, manage to subdue Jill and free her from Wesker's influence.[10] Jill then works with a fellow BSAA agent, Josh Stone, Sheva's mentor, to help Chris and Sheva defeat Wesker. Jill is a playable character in two Resident Evil 5 downloadable content (DLC) scenarios: Lost in Nightmares shows the events leading up to Jill's disappearance,[14] and Desperate Escape shows her fight to escape the facility she was being held in.[15] She is one of the playable characters in the minigame compilation Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (2011),[16] and is also a playable character in the "Heroes Mode" multiplayer section of the non-canon spin-off game Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (2012).[17]

In Resident Evil: Revelations (2012),[18] set in 2005, Jill goes on a rescue mission to save Chris from the grip of the bioterrorist group Il Veltro, following a transmission from the luxury cruise ship Queen Zenobia, which turns out to be a trap set for her. Jill and her new partner, Parker Luciani, now out of contact and uninformed of the dire situation they face, find the ship infested with a new breed of leech-like zombies, infected with a new, stronger strain of the T-virus: the T-Abyss virus. Meanwhile, Chris and his new partner, Jessica, make their way to the ship to find Jill. Together, they slowly unravel a global conspiracy involving an earlier outbreak of the original strain of the T-virus at the city of Terragrigia, and a botched investigation by a rival agency, the Federal Bioterrorism Commission (FBC). During this mission Jill is exposed to the T-Abyss and receives an experimental vaccine.[19]

Apart from the Resident Evil series, Jill appears as a player character in the crossover fighting games Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes (2000),[20] and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (2011).[21] She also appears as a bonus character in the special edition of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (2011).[22] In addition, she makes a guest appearance in the action-adventure game Under the Skin (2004),[6] and appears as a playable character in the crossover tactical role-playing games Project X Zone (2012)[23] and Project X Zone 2 (2015).[24]

Design and portrayal[edit]

During development of the original Resident Evil, Jill was conceived as physically weaker than the game's male protagonist Chris Redfield, but she was given more skills and weapons to compensate.[25] When questioned on how he chose to portray women in Resident Evil, the game's director Shinji Mikami expressed his opposition to the sexual objectification of women in video games. In addition to avoiding eroticizing characters, he said he refuses to portray women who are submissive to male characters, concluding that he writes female characters "who discover their interdependence as the game progresses, or who already know they are independent but have that tested against a series of challenges".[26] The development team for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which was also overseen by Mikami, said Jill was deliberately designed to make her "beautiful for everybody" and appeal to both male and female gamers; males would find her physically attractive and females would see her as a tough role model.[27] Jill's costume consisted of a blue tube top, black miniskirt, knee-high boots and a white sweater wrapped around her waist.[28]

A woman wearing a costume at a convention from the waist up. She is wearing a dark blue beret, light blue shirt with shoulder armour and black fingerless gloves. She is pointing a pistol towards the viewer
Jill's face model Julia Voth cosplaying as the character at WonderCon 2016

For the 2002 remake of Resident Evil, Capcom producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi said they made Jill "a little cuter" so that "her action and atmosphere has charm". However, so that she remained a tough character, her body was designed to be muscular rather than slim. Jill's outfit in Resident Evil 3 was added as an optional costume in the remake at the request of staff members who were "crazy" about it.[29] Her facial and physical appearance for the remake was based on Canadian model and actress Julia Voth,[30] and her likeness has since been used for several other games in the series.[31] In January 2016, Voth released pictures of herself cosplaying as Jill, and stated her intention to appear at conventions as the character.[32]

On the subject of changes to Jill and Chris Redfield's appearance in Resident Evil 5, production director Yasuhiro Anpo said that he tried "to preserve their image and imagined how they would have changed over the passage of time". They "made a new design that retained their signature color—green for Chris, blue for Jill—to carry over the same look from the past". Facial structures were mainly based on visuals from the 2002 remake, with added details to make them more realistic.[33] Jill's character model was paler than usual in this entry to the series and her hair was blonde, both of which were explained in-universe as being due to a pigment abnormality sustained while her body was under experimentation.[citation needed]

Jill's actress is credited as "Inezh" in the original Resident Evil game.[2] In 2014 Nathan Birch from Uproxx said the actors in the original game likely used pseudonyms due to the "gobsmackingly abysmal" quality of their performances. His article attributed the original live-action cut-scenes to Irish actress Una Kavanagh, also believing that Kavanagh voiced the character.[4] Jill was voiced by Catherine Disher in Resident Evil 3,[5] Heidi Anderson in the 2002 remake of Resident Evil,[3] Kathleen Barr in Under the Skin,[6] Kari Wahlgren in Marvel vs. Capcom 3,[8] and Michelle Ruff in Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.[9] Patricia Ja Lee provided the voice and motion capture for Jill in Resident Evil 5.[7]

Gameplay[edit]

Jill is one of the first two player characters in the Resident Evil series. In the original game, Jill has both advantages and disadvantages over her male counterpart, Chris. Jill runs more slowly, can absorb less damage, and is less accurate with firearms. However she has two more inventory slots, access to stronger weapons, and is armed with a gun at the start, whereas Chris begins with only a knife. She also carries a lockpick capable of opening doors and caches, knows how to play piano (which is useful in-game), and is aided by the overprotective Barry.[25] Jill and Chris's attributes are cited as an example of how slight differences between female and male protagonists can be used to alter gameplay.[34] In the game's 2002 remake, she has a taser as her personal defensive weapon.[35] In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Jill became the first character to be able to do a quick 180-degree turn, which has since become a staple of the series.[36]

In Marvel vs. Capcom 2, Jill is a fast and agile character who can use grenade launcher and rocket launcher attacks. She is also able to summon a zombie to attack her opponent.[20] In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Jill and was given a complete overhaul, losing her weapons and the ability to summon zombies. Her appearance and move-set are based on her Resident Evil 5 incarnation, featuring advanced kicks and throws alongside teleportation powers.[37]

Other appearances[edit]

In films[edit]

A comparison of a computer graphics model with a live model, dressed in a similar costume. They both wear knee-high boots, a black miniskirt and a blue tube top
Jill's plain clothes in Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which were adapted for Sienna Guillory's role as Jill in the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse.[38]

Sienna Guillory portrays Jill in the live-action film series. At first, the films' director Paul W. S. Anderson chose Natasha Henstridge, but she was unavailable; he then considered Mira Sorvino.[39] Jill first appears in Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004), the second film in the series, wearing a costume based on her character's clothing in Resident Evil 3.[38] In the film Jill is a former STARS member (having been suspended for filing "false" reports about zombies), and a foil to the main character, Alice. Jill tries to escape Raccoon City along with a group of survivors and is one of the few to make it out.[40] In a negative review of Resident Evil: Apocalypse itself, Frederick Clarke from Cinefantastique described Guillory's performance as the film's only "saving grace".[41] Guillory was set to appear in the sequel, Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), but she had commitments to other work.[42] Instead, producers Anderson and Jeremy Bolt decided to have Claire Redfield appear alongside the film's lead, Alice.[43]

Jill makes a brief appearance at the end of the film Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) in a costume based on her battle-suit from Resident Evil 5. She is now under the control of the Umbrella Corporation and leads an attack against Alice, Claire, Chris Redfield and the remaining human survivors. Jill is the main antagonist of the fifth film, Resident Evil: Retribution (2012),[44] where she ultimately regains control over herself during a duel with Alice. Jill was not featured in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016). Her character disappears from the series' ongoing story-line, along with several other reoccurring figures, without explanation.[45]

In literature[edit]

Jill Valentine appears in several novels based on the Resident Evil series, particularly those penned by S. D. Perry. In the 1998 novel Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy, Jill is said to be the daughter of professional thief Dick Valentine, as well as his accomplice before her career in law enforcement (in apparent conflict with her supposed Delta Force background), explaining her infiltration and "master of unlocking" skills.[46] Jill also appears in several comic books based on the game series, including the WildStorm 1990s series Resident Evil,[47] the 1996 Marvel Comics one shot Resident Evil,[48] and the 2011 comic Marvel vs. Capcom: Fate of Two Worlds.[49]

In merchandise and attractions[edit]

The character has been featured in various Resident Evil merchandise, including action figures, such as one made by NECA in 2011.[50] Two detailed 1/6 scale figures by Hot Toys were commissioned by Capcom to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Resident Evil in 2010.[51][52] Jill was also featured as a character in Bandai's 2011 Resident Evil Deck Building Card Game.[53]

Capcom's themed restaurant Biohazard Cafe & Grill STARS opened in Japan in 2012, and featured a 'Jill Ver[sion]' of a noodle dish on the menu,[54] and that same year Universal Studios Japan featured an actress portraying Jill at a Resident Evil themed attraction.[55] Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 2013 featured Jill as one of the two main characters in a haunted house set in Raccoon City, based on Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.[56]

Cultural impact[edit]

Reception[edit]

Within the Resident Evil universe, she's invaluable to her Alpha Team; competent, clever and professional, she's the resident bomb expert and, of course, the master of unlocking. But she also offers certain advantages to the player. While she can't take as much damage as Chris can, she does have those two extra inventory slots, which, when you've discovered a cache of shotgun shells, can make all the difference. Jill is an asset, both inside the story and out; she's not 'good, for a woman' but simply 'good.' And while Rebecca, Claire and Ada each have their individual strengths and weaknesses, like Jill they are all powerful and competent human beings.[57]
—Lara Crigger, The Escapist, 2007

In 2005 Bonnie Ruberg of The Escapist magazine called Jill "a classic example" of horror game female characters who fill the role of the heroine,[58] and in 2008 GameDaily ranked her as their tenth favorite Capcom character of all time, saying she "holds her own in the original Resident Evil, and she's also a very capable fighter in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.[59] She was voted the 43rd most popular video-game character of all time in the Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition of 2011,[60] and the Guinness World Records 2013: Gamer's Edition recognized her as "the first female player character in a survival-horror game".[61] That same year Complex included her among the greatest video-game mascots, describing her as "the face" of Resident Evil and praising Capcom for putting her at the "front and center" of the series,[62] and GamesRadar staff included this "highly capable officer" among the 30 best characters in the three decades of Capcom's history.[63]

In 2013, Michael Rougeau of Complex ranked Jill 30th on the list of greatest heroines in video-game history, describing her as the most likeable woman in the Resident Evil series.[64] That same year, the "smart and resourceful" Jill was also similarly ranked as the tenth-best female protagonist in gaming by the staff of GamesTM, who praised her for being the most consistent character in the series".[65] She has often been viewed as one of the most attractive women in video games. In 2010, James Hawkins of Joystick Division ranked her as one of the "Top Ten Sexiest Video Game Characters", describing her as "smart, resilient, feisty, and remarkably beautiful",[66] and in 2011, Lisa Foiles of The Escapist described her as "one of the hottest female character designs ever".[67]

One of the celebrated aspects of Jill's role in the series has been her ongoing partnership with Chris Redfield. Writing in Games and Culture, André Brock has said that the relationship is presented as based on loyalty, as opposed to romance.[68] In 2010, James Hawkins graded Chris and Jill as the fifth-top duo in video-game history, as "the two of them together make a force that cannot be slowed by even the most sophisticated undead forces", stating that the partnership worked so well because Jill's intelligence and sagacity "contrasts perfectly" with Redfield's machismo.[69] In 2012 Brittany Vincent of Complex ranked them as the "15th-most ass-kicking" game duo saying, "Forget Chris and Sheva. Jill is where it's at".[70]

At the Digital Games Research Association conference in 2003, Sara Grimes argued that Jill's portrayal in the original Resident Evil game adhered to the gender stereotypes of damsel in distress and battered woman. Despite being the protagonist, Jill's role was considered to be undermined by her reliance on being rescued by her stronger male counterparts. Her size was unrealistic considering her position in the special forces; slender but "overtly voluptuous", Grimes wrote, Jill was "aesthetically 'shaped' rather than genuinely reflective of athletic training". Her clothing accentuated this, and she was the only member of her team not to wear a bulletproof vest, which created an inconsistency in the plot.[71] Similarly, Kinephanos: Journal of Media studies and Popular Culture said that Jill's costume "enhances her curves without providing any protection against bloodthirsty zombies". It also noted that due to the nature of the survival horror genre, in which pleasure is attained through feelings of vulnerability, Jill was frequently running away from enemies, and proposed that Jill was chosen for this role as it was more "natural" to cast a woman as being in distress.[72] Writing in Participations: International Journal of Audience Research, Samantha Lay argued that Jill lacks depth as a character in both the original game and the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, however, players form a connection with Jill in the game simply through controlling her avatar.[73] Commenting after the release of Resident Evil: Retribution, Milla Jovovich said that as Jill was such a strong character, men would rather play as her in the games than her male counterparts.[74]

Discussing body language and the concept of the male gaze in video games, Anita Sarkeesian cites Jill's physical movements in Resident Evil: Revelations as an example of female characters who walk in an overly sexualized manner.[75] Stephen Harper, senior lecturer in media studies at the University of Portsmouth, notes that in the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the camera frequently follows Jill and Alice from behind. Jill's first appearance in the film shows her legs—in a miniskirt—rather than her face. The next scene, shot from below, focuses on her legs and buttocks as she walks toward the police station.[38] Sarkeesian argues that the Resident Evil franchise has been "particularly guilty" over the years of the "women as reward" trope; the "sexy police woman and sexy pirate" alternative costumes that players can choose for Jill undermine her value as a professional soldier.[76] While Jill's outfit in Resident Evil 3 did receive praise for its sex appeal,[77][78] others criticized it as fan service.[79][80] Bob Mackey from 1UP.com ranked her as the fifth worst-dressed video-game character because of the costume, describing it as an "embarrassing relic" from a period in which game producers concentrated on the teenage-boy demographic.[28]

Jill has also been viewed as less sexualized than other female characters in gaming. Considering Jill to be a strong female character, Keith Stuart from The Guardian stated that she fights alongside her male counterparts, generally wears similar combat clothing and rarely features "the usual overtly sexualised stereotypes" of female gaming characters.[26] Brett Elston from GamesRadar said that Jill was "perhaps the most sensible" female character designed in the mid-to-late 90s, describing her as "being both tough and sexy without shedding her clothes at the first sign of trouble".[81] Writing in the book Unraveling Resident Evil, Jenny Platz considers Jill to be an example of women in Resident Evil who are desexualised. Jill is considered masculinized by her military clothing and fighting skills; she follows the rules of the patriarchy, and as a symbol of purity she differs from femme fatales in the series like Ada Wong, who is said to use her sexual empowerment to subvert patriarchy.[82]

Memes[edit]

The line "You were almost a Jill sandwich", spoken by Barry Burton in the first Resident Evil game after Jill was almost crushed by a falling ceiling trap, sparked an Internet meme of "Jill Sandwich".[83][84] In a separate scene, Barry gives Jill a lockpick and calls her the "master of unlocking", leading to a "Master of Unlocking" meme.[84][85] UGO featured both of these "hilariously dumb" scenes on their list of the 25 worst cutscenes in gaming history in 2011.[86] In 2013 Chris Hoffman from GamesRadar included "Jill Sandwich" among Capcom's greatest contributions to gaming history.[87]

The sandwich meme was referenced by Capcom in the game Dead Rising (2006), which featured a sandwich shop named "Jill's Sandwiches",[84] and the unlocking meme is referenced by Barry in the game Resident Evil: Revelations 2 (2015), when he asks "Who’s the master of unlocking now?" after physically destroying a door.[88] In 2012, Complex included the "Jill's Sandwiches" shop on a list of the best Easter eggs in video games,[89] and that same year Bandai included a "Master of Unlocking" card (AC-011) in their Resident Evil collectible card game adaptation.[90]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jill Valentine". IGN. 18 September 2007. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
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  3. ^ a b c d Capcom (22 March 2002). Resident Evil. GameCube. Scene: Closing credits. 
  4. ^ a b Birch, Nathan (October 22, 2014). "Who To Blame For That Awful Voice Acting, And Other Things You Might Not Know About ‘Resident Evil’". Uproxx. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Capcom (22 September 1999). Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. PlayStation. Scene: Closing credits. 
  6. ^ a b c Capcom (12 October 2004). Under the Skin. PlayStation 2. Scene: Closing credits. 
  7. ^ a b c Capcom (5 March 2009). Resident Evil 5. PlayStation 3. Scene: Closing credits. 
  8. ^ a b Capcom (15 February 2011). Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. PlayStation 3. Scene: Closing credits. 
  9. ^ a b Slant Six Games/Capcom (20 March 2012). Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. PlayStation 3. Scene: Closing credits. 
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  27. ^ "Comments from the Development Team". Biohazard 3 Last Escape Official Guide Book (in Japanese). Capcom. 1999. ISBN 978-4757206137. 
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  47. ^ "Ted Adams, Kris Oprisko" Resident Evil 1 (March 1998), USA: WildStorm
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