Resident Evil’s Ethan Winters vs Silent Hill’s James Sunderland

James Sunderland broods in front of the camera.

Screenshots: Konami / Kotaku

Watch the trailer for By Konami Silent Hill 2 rework, do it againI was reminded that not only do I hate main character James Sunderland and want him dead, but I also encourage Resident Evil Ethan Winters of the franchise to get his blonde head in the oven ASAP, like Sylvia Plath if she were a man with no talent for video games.

This hatred can catch you off guard. I admit, I may have an evolution fear of ineffective blonde men, in the same way that some people fear snakes or closeness. I’m definitely bothered by Christopher Columbus, who American Science described in 1893 as “with beard and blond hair, clear skin and blue eyes.”

Like Columbus, who was famously too stupid for spatial awareness, I believe Ethan and James both have the ability to unknowingly cause death and disease to an entire continent.

It’s hard for me to pinpoint where this belief comes from, but when I look at James, shaggy and shaggy with a little green coat, and Ethan, shaggy and shaggy with one gray jacket, i want to start the flyer about why chemtrails is turn frogs into blonde. It feels right. I feel it in my core.

Why don’t we do a side-by-side comparison and learn more?


  • Skin – army jacket, gray polo, straight leg jeans
  • Blonde? – Yes
  • Wife status – got sick, then died because he strangled her with a pillow, but sort of “disappeared” because James was so traumatized by his arrogance, he forgot
  • Character – shattered by anger, bewilderment, ultimate terror
  • Reveal the moment – as said by the Silent Hill wiki, “He left the car door open and didn’t turn off the flashlight when he escaped from Pyramid Head; reached into a hole in the wall a second time after being stabbed by something, shoved his unprotected hand into a filthy toilet to get a wallet (then didn’t wash his hands)”
  • Slogan – (when seeing a refrigerator) “There is something that looks like a refrigerator.”


  • Outfit – sherpa jacket, probably from L.L. Bean, gray hoodie, more jeans
  • Blond? – yes
  • Wife status – perpetually missing, riddled with mold
  • Temperament – dazed, confused, dead
  • Revealing moments – getting his hand chainsawed off in Biohazard and saying nothing, getting his fingers bitten off in Village and just saying “Shit,” getting his hand sliced off in Village and just saying, “Oh, shit!”
  • Catchphrase – (upon seeing a dead body) “A dead body?”

It seems clear to me that James and Ethan are two sides of the same useless coin. Everything that happens to them is kindled by their more interesting sick, missing wives, and yet they get to be the protagonists. They get to navigate the marsh and the mist, waving their guns like lollipops, shouting “What was that!?” at every bump in the night.

It’s not fair. They’re bumbling and they never earn an answer.

I can understand being unequipped for the gross, mentally and physically traumatizing ordeals both James and Ethan go through—I wouldn’t exactly know how to react to my wife coming at me with a chainsaw, either—but I wish their games would give me anything to admire or empathize within these men we spend hours playing as. You can’t coast on luck and boyish perplexity all the time, as much as Silent Hill and Resident Evil insist otherwise.

Though, I suppose men like Leonardo DiCaprio have been doing it for decades and we still reward them with more movies and 24-year-old girlfriend, despite the soullessness of the whole mindless practice. In her 1993 book New Maladies of the SoulIn discovering “who still has a soul”, psychoanalyst and critic Julia Kristeva writes that “holden down by his aloofness, the modern man is a narcissist – a narcissist with You can suffer, but feel no remorse.”

“When he’s not depressed,” Kristeva continues, he’s “an active body, often without even the joy of such performance drunks.” Bland James and Ethan, blond, handsome and unfortunately uninteresting, are prime examples of what happens when men are discouraged from nurturing their souls. They groped in the dark with empty heads and, yes, they survived their horrors, but with blind people. Women never shy away from gore.

I know I’m stingy, but I think James and Ethan deserved what they got.


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