Search KoopaTV!


Thursday, June 29, 2023

Ike (from Fire Emblem) is Not Gay

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The accusations against him are playground bully logic. Instead...

For several years, KoopaTV's comments section has been assailed by weirdos who insist that Ike from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is gay. Or maybe it's the same guy.

Unfortunately, it's not just that one guy who has been spreading this claims about Ike. There is a whole part of the Fire Emblem fanbase that has mistaken beliefs about romantic and/or sexual relationships, including many people that are themselves gay. It's very strange to see to see, but a big part of it is that there is a movement (that doesn't care about the truth) that wants to redefine any and every character as gay, in their image. (Some game developers are also interested in doing this to their own characters, or as the basis for making new characters.) They even want to say I'm gay. And to that, I say, don't say gay!

...Seriously, don't. It's not a very precise term. (And it's only in my article headline because that's the terminology people keep using, not because it's good terminology.) Instead, take a look at this 2x2 matrix I've developed. It's... not a very original thought, but it's a concept a lot of people don't understand, including laypeople:

2x2 matrix table chart asexual aromantic homosexual homoromantic heterosexual heteroromantic bisexual biromantic same opposite sex
This 2x2 matrix represents classifications on romantic and sexual attractions, based on attraction/no attraction to the same or opposite sex. (For more information, research “split attraction model.”)
The sexual identity movement tries to overcomplicate this with ideas of >2 genders and words with complex prefixes to feel unique and quirky, but this chart is the basic and enduring truth.
(There... may be one possible addition or complication to this that may explain common attractions in Fire Emblem, however.)

This chart may raise even more questions, so before I go to talking about Ike's life specifically, I'll answer some of those questions.

Romantic and sexual attraction are different concepts. You can be sexually attracted to someone but not care for them romantically, and vice-versa. To be sexually attracted to someone means you want to have sex with that person. Sex is... a specific activity (or a group of closely related activities, I guess). This article is by no means a sexual education course. Anyway, romantic relationships can happen without sexual activity taking place. Romance represents deep love, caring, and attachment for another person.

When people say someone is gay, is that referring to homosexuality or homoromanticism... or both simultaneously? It's unclear. I don't believe Ike is either, however.

The fundamental thing people consider is Ike's relationship with Soren, his strategist and staff officer. Or, they look at Soren's relationship with Ike. Soren is characterised as a very lonely, logical, and blunt young man who is closed off to much of the world... except for Ike. Throughout Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, pretty much the only people he willingly talks to are Ike, Ike's father Greil, sub-humans (which he either antagonises or hides from), and Stefan (who he also feels uncomfortable around). As for Ike, three members of his army suggested they wanted to follow him anywhere or have him live with them: Oscar, someone who he's known since before the war; Lethe, a catgirl Laguz who wanted Ike to live in Gallia with her to train; and Soren.

Soren opens up his life story, but only to Ike, because Ike is Soren's only friend. Soren's backstory is that his mother was a Laguz and his father was a Beorc, and such a union between two different races produces a Branded person, which are basically society's untouchables (despite having interesting and unique powers). Soren grew up in a Laguz country, abandoned by his actual parents, and wasn't taught how to speak by a sage who was abusive to him, but taught him magic. After the sage died, the Laguz in Gallia refused to interact with Soren, because Laguz just ignore Branded people as a part of culture. Ike and his sister (Mist) happened to grow up in Gallia with his father Greil and his mother Elena, and happened to encounter a lonely and dying Soren and helped feed him and house him. That's why Ike is Soren's only friend, since Greil couldn't stick around in life to be with Soren too.

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn Micaiah versus Soren conversation someone you cherish very much ridiculous girl
Ike is the only person still alive that Soren cares about. So all of Soren's efforts in life go to supporting Ike's missions, especially since he's insecure about himself.
People who believe that Ike and Soren are a homosexual couple should not presume to understand them. They are ridiculous.

Ike reacts empathically but not romantically to these events. While Soren is the only person Ike ever trusted and will venture out with him to lands unknown, Ike doesn't have a similar dependent relationship towards Soren. Yes, he hugged Soren to calm him down when he was crying. That doesn't make Ike homosexual or homoromantic. Ike just hates to see people cry—he had a similar reaction as Emblem Ike to Anna crying in their A-support bond in Fire Emblem Engage. As for Soren, he definitely wants to make Ike happy, specifically. Part of that is because of fear of losing Ike, as shown in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance's A-support. Soren is attune to what to feed Ike to make him happy, for instance, which even carries over to Emblem Soren in Fire Emblem Engage where he is interested in Clanne's meat dish recipe—though clearly not for himself. (And he clearly knows Ike's food tastes, based on communicating them with Aimee the shop woman.)

Fire Emblem Engage Emblen Soren bond conversation Hortensia name of cute person wildly misinterpret
A portion of the Fire Emblem fanbase has wildly misinterpreted Ike and Soren's relationship.

Ike's relationship with Soren isn't the same as Soren's relationship with Ike. To Soren, Ike is his whole world. (Which could mean that Soren is demiromantic... which is a variant of aromantic that basically says there's one person you feel very strongly about, but you'll only feel that way after achieving a deep bond with them. Demisexuality is something you see a lot of in Fire Emblem as it relates to the main character. Look at Byleth from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, for example. Everyone wants them.) But Ike has a whole cast of friends and people he relies on. When you ask Soren to talk about other people, he'll only talk about Ike. If you ask Ike, there are many more people he'll bring up besides just Soren. Soren's affection for Ike shouldn't be taken as how Ike feels about Soren. Now, don't get me wrong—Ike DOES care about Soren and values his company a lot. Probably more than the other members of his mercenary crew (except maybe Mist, his sister, and Titania, his mentor after his father died). But it's inserting your own hopes and dreams and agenda into Ike's interactions to wildly misinterpret a hug and a shoulder to learn on as homosexuality.

It's also wrong to try to take analogous examples from other Fire Emblem games and rewrite the plot of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn or Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance by saying “because other characters in other games did this, this is what REALLY happened with Ike!” I've seen people describe people who actually observe events as they happened as “homophobic!” And that is the most pathetic smear you could provide. When your strategy relies on “reading between the lines” (or, inserting your own fanon into the canon) and attacking other people who disagree with you, you ought to reconsider your strategy. Soren certainly wouldn't approve of that.

But if you do want to bring up other Fire Emblem games, a descendant of Ike, named Priam, appeared in Fire Emblem Awakening. Personally, I'm content to deem that non-canon just on the basis that it portrays Ike as having a sword-arm, but that also feels like selectively ignoring or fabricating information. Priam appears in a Fire Emblem Awakening paralogue, among several other paralogue chapters that portray blatantly deceased characters as alive and recruitable. It's unclear if they are supposed to be canon or not. I'm willing to think they are canon to Fire Emblem Awakening, because it is believable to me that Fire Emblem Awakening WOULD be such a badly written game to do that. Anyway, Priam is portrayed as heteroromantic and heterosexual, though that doesn't mean anything about his ancestor, Ike. But the fact that Priam was born means that Ike had to have sex with a woman in order to have a baby. It's quite a bit out of character for Ike, who regularly does not understand romantic or sexual feelings of the many women who have set eyes on him, and he himself doesn't seem to think much of women (in that way) when he views them. For some examples:

Based on the available evidence, that'd make Ike aromantic / heterosexual...? Though whatever happened after Ike left Tellius leaves a very limited view of what happened. It's possible that Ike was, say, forced to impregnate a woman against his will. Maybe something happened while he was affected with a Sleep Staff. His Resistance stat sucks, after all. But that's just speculation...

This article is disorganised and has a lot of rambling, but I did want to address a point about support conversations and character endings. Ike's character endings never suggest marriage or relationships. It's also totally wrong to say, “Well, if Ike were with a woman with that text, you wouldn't doubt that!” That's another instance of trying to insert your fanon into canon where it doesn't exist. But what is true is that Ike's games overall contain significantly less match-making and romance than games that came before or certainly that came after. Why is that?

Roy gets to choose to marry six different women in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. The whole second half of this page about Fire Emblem 7 has paired endings, many of which explicitly mention marriage, love, and/or procreation. (Though, certainly, not every pairing results in that outcome, like Merlinus and Marcus have a business relationship, and Lyn and Florina had a life-long friendship.) Same story with Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones and its many paired endings, both involving romance and/or sex and those that do not. (Kyle and Forde, for example, are two men who were dear friends and tough rivals. Not gay. That's how Ike and Soren or Ike and Ranulf are also written.)

I'd say it comes from Ike's leadership, especially in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance where everyone was actually under Ike's leadership the whole time instead of several other factions like in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Ike, based on the results of zero paired endings besides slightly tweaked dialogue in the finale (but only with Ike), instilled a strict sense of getting the job done and to treat one another as family (not as potential sex partners). Culture comes from the top, after all. Fire Emblem games where the leader is screwing around with everyone (like Fire Emblem Fates) means that basically everyone under them has a plethora of romantic and sexual options. Ike wasn't like that, so neither were most of his subordinates. (Even if Gatrie might try.)

Ludwig recently became aware that the last full week of October is deemed Asexual Awareness Week. That was when he was originally going to write this article and publish it, but he never got around to it, so you get the end of Pride Month instead. The playground reference refers to how kids used to try to make fun of other kids by calling them gay, even if there isn't anything to support that. The same is basically happening with Ike, except now the kids hurling those accusations are themselves gay.


  1. Isn’t there a female version of Ike, what’s her name? Maybe she is the gay one. They say there’s a good twin and a bad twin. These days it’s straight twin and gay twin. It will be interesting to see all the companies immediently changing their logos tomorrow.

    1. You're thinking of... Lucina and Marth?

    2. Are you saying Ike doesn't have a female version, or that those are the two gay ones?

    3. Ike does not have a female version.

  2. While I applaud the use of logic, fandoms are so odd these days with certain headcanons and perpetuating trolly behaviors. Just bizarrely toxic overall, why I'm not full in the way I used to be (or maybe that was just me growing up). -And funnily it always correlates to how inclusive they swear they are, so this might all fall on deaf ears.

    1. They're not so inclusive when you don't wish to be included.

  3. Things like this is why I have no interest in shipping.

    1. It's not something I'm personally interested in.

  4. Agreed. There Is simply no evidence to suggest Ike interested in romance.. Is number 12 waifu is Meat... If he was interested in the romance it would be with Someone That shares the Similar interests. On average Opposites do not attract. I remember so many people were confused about Elincia and Ike relationship because of Bad English Localization. Ike Never Showed Romance And there was never indication that he is Gay. Fanatics should stop forcing their views on characters..I Mean They Had Already Had Heather un Radiant Dawn.. It may not be the best reputation but they are making an effort. They didn't have to put her in the game.

    1. Heather would probably be more appreciated and prominent if Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn had real support conversations.
      Ike & Soren probably wouldn't be a thing if Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance also didn't have support conversations.
      I mean, for all we know, Aran is gay, or something, but he doesn't get much characterisation to show it. (And in an army or brigade, that's for the best.)

    2. Three things that I feel like mentioning:

      - "Accusations"? Why that harsh word? People interpreting Ike as gay is an "accusation"? Would you use that language to describe other interpretations of a text?

      - On the subject of Priam: you rightfully mention his dubious canonicity, but you can just as easily question the very word "descendant" as used in the series. Marth, for example, is explicitly described as the descendant of Anri, even in games where we know for a fact that this is not actually the case.

      - All in all it's just odd to see how invested you are in this, to the point where you are wielding the Split Attraction Model (not a universal model and the subject of much debate) to create your own headcanon. Do you not see how hypocritical it is for you to decry people's interpretations while doing exactly the same thing yourself?

    3. Thanks for your comment, though coming to this website to tone-police the author instead of engaging on the points is not interesting discussion.

      You consider things an "interpretation of a text". KoopaTV considers Ike as a person, like yourself or myself. If your friend was being mired by false accusations, you would characterise those accusations as accusations because they are about your friend and he may be distressed by them.

      Everything in Fire Emblem Awakening's paralogues already warps reality around it, so I don't feel strongly one way or another about Priam's existence or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it. If Ike did not have consensual sex to create Priam, that's fine, too. My point is that he's not homosexual. It doesn't bother me if he's asexual or heterosexual as the alternative.

      Split Attraction Model is a great model and will one day be viewed as widely uncontroversial and accepted. And when that happens, this article will age very well. I'm proud to make KoopaTV a leading visionary on this issue. I don't see this article as hypocritical since it does not rely on making things up to make its point. There is no fanon involved.

      As an example of how dangerous the people are who try to rewrite everyone and anyone as gay, see what's going on right now with Bayonetta. Many people have declared her to be a homosexual woman... but it's clear that she is not. And yet those many people are not taking that fact very happily. (That's an understatement.) That split is doing very harmful things right now to people. You might characterise it as toxic.

    4. Bayonetta controversy is not remotely similar to Ike, Bayonetta since the first game flirted with men (Luka) and never stated any interest in females. Ike on the other hand has 0 romantic interest in anyone but his close relationships are with men and at least in one case there are some suspicious undertones to it.

      I agree with what the other comment said, there is some hypocrisy here but it’s not an issue of just this article but the fandom in general.

      Why I didn’t see people raging when Ike escorted Elincia at the end of PoR? Was that romantic? No. But since it’s a male and a female looking happy at each other we don’t question it and just assumed they where a thing.
      That last conversation of Ike and Soren had as much if not even more ship tease than the one I mentioned of Ike and Elincia.
      Also I’m 100% sure that if they changed Soren for Elincia we wouldn’t have nearly as much posts as this claiming Ike to be asexual or straight.

      The Bayonetta situation is as dumb as the people that say Chrom and M!Robin are canonically a thing.

    5. Or if you don't want to use Bayonetta as an example, there are several weird things people in the Ace Attorney fandom believe. That's not just Phoenix Wright being homosexual (apparently ignoring his canonical female love interests), but also nonsensical things like the apparent widespread belief (I counted 9 different people say this in the replies/quote retweets of an Apollo Justice Ace Attorney Trilogy trailer from CAPCOM) that Apollo Justice is transgender. But you're a bigot if you question that.

      I can't speak for other people, but I wasn't upset that Ike and Elincia wasn't actually a thing three years after Path of Radiance. It certainly would've drastically changed the storyline of Radiant Dawn in that case. Did I think it was a particularly romantic gesture? Nah, Ike just wants to do his job and doesn't know royal courtesies.
      But I probably wouldn't make a post about how Ike is asexual if they changed Soren for Elincia because it wouldn't be a reoccurring discussion point.

  5. I just want to say it’s a little odd that you are really passionate about this while at the same time saying you don’t care about shipping.

    Ike is not officially gay or bi but that doesn’t mean he is officially straight since nothing in the game game remotely hints at him interested in women, people think he is gay because his close relationships in the games are with men, also we are in a series where he is the only main character that doesn’t explicitly marries and is also the first lord character which can have endings with guys.

    There is more evidence that supports Ike being gay than he being straight, I also agree with what some people say that Soren was female we wouldn’t be having this conversation specially after that last support covo which came out of nowhere.

    I don’t get sus vibes from Eliwood and Hector or even Chrom and Robin but Ike and Soren bond feels different not in a brotherly/friendship way but I don’t know how to explain it since it feels very subtle. About Priam he is either adopted or comes from Mist (Marth being descendent from Anri brother support this) but Nintendo has kept Priam ancestry very ambiguous likely because of the Awakening writers are not the Tellius ones or they just want to avoid backlash.

    To me Ike is asexual but if it comes the day where Nintendo goes and say that Ike and Soren became a thing I wouldn’t be mad or think it’s forced (I would if he gets with Ranulf because that doesn’t make sense).

    1. I don't care about shipping with respect to I don't have a ship for Ike or pretty much any other character. I see this as a distinct topic from shipping.
      The whole KoopaTV site is full of passionately written articles if you're into that, though! It's way more fun to read that way, right? I'm also a very intellectually curious author. There just won't be any more articles, unfortunately.

      First lord character which can have endings with guys is a technicality in the sense that Lyn has an ending with Florina, for what that's worth.

      If Nintendo goes and says Ike and Soren are a thing, then yeah, that'd negate this whole article. But they've had several chances to do that (most notably and as recently as in Fire Emblem Engage where Ike and Soren had a scene together) and all people get out of it is an inkblot test that maintains the status quo of whatever you currently think.

      There is a possible underlying message from this article that you could or should assume everyone or every character is asexual until proven otherwise. I'm not ready to live by that assumption myself, but it's quite a reasonable thing to live by.


We embrace your comments.
Expect a reply between 1 minute to 24 hours from your comment. We advise you to receive an e-mail notification for when we do reply.
Also, see our Disclaimers.

Spamming is bad, so don't spam. Spam includes random advertisements and obviously being a robot. Our vendor may subject you to CAPTCHAs.

If you comment on an article that is older than 60 days, you will have to wait for a staffer to approve your comment. It will get approved and replied to, don't worry. Unless you're a spambot.