As seen in: Shantae (Game Boy Color)
Also in: Shantae: Risky's Revenge (DSiWare)
Distinguishing feature: Flowing blue hair, two-inch waist.
Strengths: Pluck, vigor, monkey form.
Weaknesses: Inexperienced, naive, and a small but significant streak of self-loathing.

Profile by Philip Armstrong? | February 1, 2010

For more on Shantae, see her standard profile.

Many years ago the world was protected by powerful genies who put an end to evildoers and ushered in an era of peace. During this time they lay with mortal men, and thus was a race of Half-Genies born. These offspring were always female and, while not as powerful as full genies, they exhibited potent magics of their own. As the years passed, the genies disappeared from the world, leaving their daughters to protect the innocent from evil. These creatures became known as Guardian Genies, and any settlement or town of significant size employs one to protect its citizenry.

Shantae is one of these Half-Genies. She’s young and inexperienced, but eager to prove her worth. Somehow, she convinced the rubes of the fishing village, Scuttle Town, that she is a real true genie -- a secret she guards fervently. So much so, in fact, that her true nature becomes a point of internal conflict. “Oh, if I were a real genie I could have saved the town from the pirate attack. If only the town’s people knew they would understand. But I can’t let that happen!” This is a little odd as no other village has a real genie defending it, but Shantae is young and low self-confidence is par the course. Regardless, pirates do attack Scuttle Town, and Shantae does fail to stop them stealing a powerful and dangerous artifact. It is through her quest to recover the artifact from Risky Boots the sexy Pirate Queen that Shantae grows into adulthood.

Along the way she also discovers her magical talent. Each Half-Genie possesses a specific magical aptitude. One famous legend tells of a Half-Genie who could squirt milk from her eye. How this helped protect her township is unclear. Shantae learned at a young age to infuse her hair with magical energy in order to turn her ponytail into a potent whip, but it wasn’t until her Scuttle Town adventure that she discovers the true nature of her magic: Transcendental belly dancing. By erotically gyrating her stomach she can transform herself into any number of animal forms. As a monkey she can climb to otherwise unreachable heights. As an elephant she can trample brigands and smash down walls. Any number of animalistic possibilities are open to her. Her transformative, transfixing dances give her the edge to vanquish the pirate threat.

But the true outcome of her quest is her acceptance of who and what she is -- so much so that when offered full geniehood by the ancient guardians she declines in favor of staying with her friends and protecting the ones she loves. Through her adventure she learns self-reliance and self-acceptance and that being okay with who you are is the real magical talent. That, or shaking your hips to turn into a spider. It’s definitely one of the two.

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