Did Hojo manipulate Lucrecia? [split from Repository of Debunked Rumors]

Ite

(they/them)
AKA
Ite
#1
Oh yeah, V+L=S. Was my headcanon for many years. Especially since Vincent seems shocked when Hojo reveals he's the father. Why would that come as a surprise to him, eh?

Nowadays, I'm of the "Lucrecia was a sociopathic monster" persuasion, so the 'tragic love story' doesn't quite excite me the way that "everyone was a hot mess and no one actually loved anyone" does. :wacky:

Remake is obviously gonna pull some daddy Grimoire stuff, which I never cottoned to, and the post-OG treatment of Lucrecia pretty consistently paints her as a demure victim of circumstance, so looks like nobody is gonna get their wish lol
 
#2
I agree with you, Ite. I liked the Lucrecia character more as a bad person, and Vincent as such a poor judge of character that he'd fall in love with her. I prefer characters who are deeply flawed people.

Rumour which has not yet been definitively debunked, unfortunately, but has zero evidence to support it: Rufus and Cloud are half-brothers.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#3
and the post-OG treatment of Lucrecia pretty consistently paints her as a demure victim of circumstance, so looks like nobody is gonna get their wish lol
Whoa. What are you talking about?

Dirge turned Lucretia into a bipolar nightmare. Demure victim? Did we see the same game?

Just cause she says she's sorry doesn't mean she's a victim. She's "sorry" for a lot of reasons.

She was a victim alright.... Of shit choices and lacking self awareness.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#4
Remake is obviously gonna pull some daddy Grimoire stuff, which I never cottoned to, and the post-OG treatment of Lucrecia pretty consistently paints her as a demure victim of circumstance, so looks like nobody is gonna get their wish lol
"Demure" is never the word I would use to describe DoC Lucrecia. Traumatized from loss, yes. Feeling guilty that she's kinda responsible for the death of the father of someone she has a crush on dying? Definitely. And all that effects her judgment.

But her reaction to Vincent's concern for her isn't "demure". She flat out gets into an argument about how she's sure of what she's doing with Hojo and how Vincent isn't the boss of what she can do. Once she stops being pregnant (read, doesn't need to protect the baby she is pregnant with), she all but throws Hojo out of her lab so she can fix Vincent as much as possible and then manages to leave Hojo behind for good.

At the end of the day, she's in an abusive relationship that ended up horribly for her and she managed to get herself out of it. Without anyone else's help. How anyone can say that makes a character "demure" is beyond me.
She was a victim alright.... Of shit choices and lacking self awareness.
This take on Lucrecia has always rubbed me the wrong way... because it comes *really* close to blaming the victim of an abusive relationships for not realizing that the relationship would be an abusive relationship before they ever got into it. And like... victim blaming is a really... thorny issue to say the least. Particularly when one of the hallmarks of abusers is not being abusive when the relationship starts.

Going by the info we have about Lucrecia from DoC, she would have worked with *everyone* in the Shinra R&D Department for quite a while... including Hojo... long before she got married to him. She's not marrying some random guy she only knew for a month. She's marrying a scientist who she would have worked with on Jenova for... probably quite a few years based on when Jenova was found. She's a planetologist and a Cetra scholar. And Hojo is trying to bring the Cetra back... And her mentor would have died recently... like... that kind of situation could... easily be taken advantage of. But you don't blame the person who is being taken advantage of emotionally for being... emotionally open to being taken advantage of.

Also, given the Early Material Files... Lucrecias and Hojo's relationship was always supposed to be abusive (he basically raped her). The games have just gotten more... adept... and actually bringing that out and including that bit as the Compilation has gone on.

From Vincet's Profile in Early Material Files
Hojo’s female colleague was on Vincent’s side. However, Hojo drugged her into unconsciousness and experimented on her. He was going to use her as a sample for the Jenova project. Vincent tried to save her, but fell into a trap and was put to sleep. He has no memories after that point. It appears that several people have been used as test samples in human experiments. And then they were put in coffins.
 
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Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#5
This take on Lucrecia has always rubbed me the wrong way... because it comes *really* close to blaming the victim of an abusive relationships for not realizing that the relationship would be an abusive relationship before they ever got into it. And like... victim blaming is a really... thorny issue to say the least. Particularly when one of the hallmarks of abusers is not being abusive when the relationship starts.
It's not victim blaming because Lucrecia made an informed choice to participate with her partner. She chose Hojo because she wasn't interested in Vincent due to the proximity and relationship she had with his father. She wanted to promote her career with the Jenova Project to create a Cetra and push Vincent away. Whatever abuse she suffered came after her decision to offer up her baby for weird Shinra alien science. So yeah, she was a victim of Hojo's cruelty and hostility when he wrenched Sephiroth from her and used her as a lab specimen. And again, how did that situation happen?

Going by the info we have about Lucrecia from DoC, she would have worked with *everyone* in the Shinra R&D Department for quite a while... including Hojo... long before she got married to him. She's not marrying some random guy she only knew for a month. She's marrying a scientist who she would have worked with on Jenova for... probably quite a few years based on when Jenova was found. She's a planetologist and a Cetra scholar. And Hojo is trying to bring the Cetra back... And her mentor would have died recently... like... that kind of situation could... easily be taken advantage of. But you don't blame the person who is being taken advantage of emotionally for being... emotionally open to being taken advantage of.
There's no positive spinning of offering up your child to become a hybrid of an unknown alien creature and damning it to be a lifetime lab rat of the Shinra Company. That's not shown to have anything to do with her grief or guilt regarding pushing Vincent away. She sacrificed her baby, Sephiroth. And stating the fact that she knew Hojo and didn't just marry him out of nowhere only solidifies my point that this was an informed choice as a scientist. She wasn't confused. She wasn't a victim. She made her choice. And it was a bad one.

Professor Gast certainly realized the inhumanity of what they did and left the project.

Also, given the Early Material Files... Lucrecias and Hojo's relationship was always supposed to be abusive (he basically raped her). The games have just gotten more... adept... and actually bringing that out and including that bit as the Compilation has gone on.
First off, that didn't happen. Hojo didn't rape her. That was left on the cutting room floor and not included in the actual story hence why it's in the Early Material Files. It's clear from the OG and DC Hojo and Lucrecia chose to offer up their baby for science. She was an adult; there's no spinning her as a hapless victim here. She made shitty choices that fucked over herself and others.
 
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Ite

(they/them)
AKA
Ite
#6
Well I feel somewhat comforted that Lucrecia’s character remains broadly interpretable. I suppose we’ll see where the final chips fall.

The thing about the early material files and these fan theories is that the early material files came way later, whereas most of the most pervasive theories around the OG have their root in fanfic and geocities pages between 1998-2004.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#7
@Makoeyes987 ... that entire thing is classic victim blaming. It's essentially "Person A decided to get into a relationship with Person B because they thought it would turn out okay and then Person B started abusing them, so it's Person A's fault because they should have known better than to get into a relationship with Person B in the first place." There's not a lot of other ways to take what you just wrote.

Even in the OG, Lucrecia herself never gets to talk in the flashback. Hojo is talking *for* her: "She and I are both scientists". What she says in her cave... she's morning something she never got to do... when she clearly wanted to do it. Even in the OG... something's off. Like... Lucrecia has no trouble talking in the Cave. So why does she never talk in the Flashback that is all *about* her? DoC just takes that and runs with it.

It's never *wrong* to be emotionally effected by stuff that happens to you. You get that right? Especially when it's something like someone close to you dying. Blaming someone because they are feeling strong emotions that are effecting their judgment is a... really slippery slope to go down. Trying to say that everyone should be emotionless logical automatons and that would have solved the problem doesn't really help anything... and it's not even true to life. People are emotional beings.

Now, could Lucrecia have done better or realized what was going on sooner? Sure. It is also possible (likely even) that she was really emotionally messed up from her mentor's death (that was as result of *her* experiment), meeting his son and realizing she liked him and feeling guilty about how she'd hurt his dad... all while Hojo is there who we know from both DoC and the OG is really good at getting under people's skin emotionally. Remake practicly makes him get off on doing it.

If the stuff from Early Material Files *doesn't* get brought back up in the Compilation, that's one thing. It's another when an aspect of it *is* brought back though. Especially given how the OG was made. So knowing Lucrecia and Hojo were in an abusive relationship in the Early Material Files... kinda shows that the idea of that is an old one that has been around for a very long time. It wasn't that Hojo and Lucrecia never will thought to be in an abusive relationship until DoC or something. That was just... always how NKN seem to have seen their relationship.
 

Cae Lumis

Lv. 25 Adventurer
#8
If the stuff from Early Material Files *doesn't* get brought back up in the Compilation, that's one thing. It's another when an aspect of it *is* brought back though. Especially given how the OG was made. So knowing Lucrecia and Hojo were in an abusive relationship in the Early Material Files... kinda shows that the idea of that is an old one that has been around for a very long time. It wasn't that Hojo and Lucrecia never will thought to be in an abusive relationship until DoC or something. That was just... always how NKN seem to have seen their relationship.
Couldn't have said it better myself. As we see through the Interviews with NKN (Nojima, Kitase, & Nomura), Remake is meant to represent the way the trio have always seen the characters throughout the canon, not a new interpretation of them. What's the first thing we see for Hojo in Remake through his introduction during the Board Room Meeting? Outright recommending selecting members of SOLDIER to rape Aerith followed by wondering how best to psychologically break her.... just like what the Early Materials said was the case with Lucrecia.
 

Eerie

Fire and Blood
#9
From the OG alone, my guess was that Lucrecia had been coerced in some way by Hojo - the way it's presented, you feel that she doesn't want to, but has agreed to.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#10
@Makoeyes987 ... that entire thing is classic victim blaming. It's essentially "Person A decided to get into a relationship with Person B because they thought it was okay and then Person B started abusing them, so it's Person A's fault because they should have known better than to get into a relationship with Person B in the first place." There's not a lot of other ways to take what you just wrote.
You're conveniently leaving out the part where Person A and B decided to utilize their own child as a lab experiment with an unknown alien creature. Do Shinra scientists suddenly lose their moral and humanistic reasoning? How did Gast suddenly realize the inhumanity of what they did and regret it? Lucrecia is a victim of sacrificing her child, Sephiroth, to Shinra for her ambition to be taken seriously as a scientist. Yes, she's a victim of Hojo's experimentation but she too was part of the very same Jenova Project. She wasn't some hapless victim. She wasn't kidnapped like Ifalna and forced into this against her will.

Even in the OG, Lucrecia herself never gets to talk in the flashback. Hojo is talking *for* her: "She and I are both scientists". What she says in her cave... she's morning something she never got to do... when she clearly wanted to do it. Even in the OG... something's off. Like... Lucrecia has no trouble talking in the Cave. So why does she never talk in the Flashback that is all *about* her? DoC just takes that and runs with it.
FFVII said:
Lucrecia: You can't call me his mother... That... is my sin...
Those are Lucrecia's own words of guilt. And Dirge of Cerberus expands on this and shows that yes, she made that choice. She feels guilt for a reason. She says quite explicitly to Vincent in the past, "Am I sure? If this only concerns me, then yes I am sure."

She made her choice and worked with Hojo. That's not even a controversial statement, it's a fact.

It's never *wrong* to be emotionally effected by stuff that happens to you. You get that right? Especially when it's something like someone close to you dying. Blaming someone because they are feeling strong emotions that are effecting their judgment is a... really slippery slope to go down. Trying to say that everyone should be emotionless logical automatons and that would have solved the problem doesn't really help anything... and it's not even true to life. People are emotional beings.
This isn't about her feelings about Grimoire pushing her to reject Vincent, yes that's not "wrong." This is about what she chose to do while doing that. And yeah, she made a fucked up immoral choice. Nevermind the unethical decision of splicing your own child's DNA with an unknown alien lifeform with unforeseen consequences. The child was going to be a corporate tool for mako extraction. They were making a superhuman for the use of Shinra Inc. That's not a slippery slope?

Now, could Lucrecia have done better or realized what was going on sooner? Sure. It is also possible (likely even) that she was really emotionally messed up from her mentor's death (that was as result of *her* experiment), meeting his son and realizing she liked him and feeling guilty about how she'd hurt his dad... all while Hojo is there who we know from both DoC and the OG is really good at getting under people's skin emotionally. Remake practicly makes him get off on doing it.
We're not shown any evidence there was coercion. Lucrecia being emotionally messed up is possibly a factor but where does that end her agency as a functioning adult? How does that absolve her of what she chose to do as the mother of her child and as a responsible scientist? If you're going to somehow attribute this all on Hojo, then you'd sorta need to prove that. Hojo didn't put a gun to Lucrecia's head or blackmail her into getting with him. He literally says, "So you've come to your senses and chose me." Hojo apparently waited for Lucrecia's choice. She obviously had rebuffed him before, hence him claiming she "came to her senses."

Then Lucrecia eagerly nods and smiles as she says "Yes" as they embrace. So who chose whom?

If the stuff from Early Material Files *doesn't* get brought back up in the Compilation, that's one thing. It's another when an aspect of it *is* brought back though. Especially given how the OG was made. So knowing Lucrecia and Hojo were in an abusive relationship in the Early Material Files... kinda shows that the idea of that is an old one that has been around for a very long time. It wasn't that Hojo and Lucrecia never will thought to be in an abusive relationship until DoC or something. That was just... always how NKN seem to have seen their relationship.
Where do we hear Hojo raped Lucrecia, then? Vincent didn't fall into "a trap." He was shot dead in a heated confrontation over Hojo's treatment of his partner and unborn child. And Vincent didn't lose his memories of it either. This is not canon towards the story. You're extrapolating intention based on unused material that did not get included in the game. Essentially going around the actually used material of the story in search of implication not in said story. These are unused materials that were in development but scrapped. You can't just apply this in a discussion of what actually was used in the text. One can easily argue that the very fact this wasn't used discounts its interpretation right there.

They chose to give greater agency and responsibility to Lucrecia because they wished to portray a more morally ambiguous and regrettable situation. Not one that simply paints Lucrecia as a hapless damsel in distress at the mercy of a mad scientist. She was also a mad scientist.

What's the first thing we see for Hojo in Remake through his introduction during the Board Room Meeting? Outright recommending selecting members of SOLDIER to rape Aerith followed by wondering how best to psychologically break her.... just like what the Early Materials said was the case with Lucrecia.
As distinctly morbid these two situations are, they're entirely different circumstances in two different games and scenarios. Hojo's recommendation in the Remake on how to break and breed Aerith is not the same circumstance or even time frame of how Hojo chose to be with Lucrecia in an unused scenario that didn't make it into the OG. They both exhibit a morbid and sadistic side to Hojo, but one's unused, and the other was used to demonstrate cruelty and sadism towards Aerith. Not Lucrecia, his partner.

Hojo's a monster but attribute what he did to the proper order and scenario. He simply didn't do that in the text.
 
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#12
I personally feel that material which was deliberately cut from the OG should not be cited as canon. YMMV.
I also think way too many excuses get made for Lucrecia because she's a woman, Sephiroth's mother (this game is very sentimenal about mothers) and Vincent's love interest. Mako hit the nail on the head: she chose of her own free will to marry Hojo, and to use her unborn child for genetic experiments, both in order to advance her science career. And I think this makes her a more interesting character - and a more interesting woman - than turning her into a mentally ill victim. Again, YMMV.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#13
@Makoeyes987All I can say is that I hope I never have ask you what you think emotional abuse and gasslighting looks like from the victim's perspective.
???

Really?

And again. I ask.

Where was Lucrecia raped? Or emotionally abused? Or any of this that somehow destroys her agency as a functioning adult?

Because I'm treating Lucrecia as the mature, adult scientist she is in the story yet I'm clearly unaware of someone being a victim? Ok >_>
 

Ite

(they/them)
AKA
Ite
#15
Three breaths y’all. <3

I’m really glad that those “early material” ideas were scrapped, precisely because it’s insensitive to throw around heavy topics like that for a secret waterfall NPC. In my own teenage writing, I admittedly treated such topics callously, because they are easy signifiers of “mature” or “edgy” storytelling, especially to someone who wants to be seen as those things without carrying those burdens themselves. I think the writers of FF7 ultimately decided that it wasn’t a good fit and I think that was the right decision.

I really like this thread idea and I’m sorry to have derailed it so much.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#16
???

Really?

And again. I ask.

Where was Lucrecia raped? Or emotionally abused? Or any of this that somehow destroys her agency as a functioning adult?

Because I'm treating Lucrecia as the mature, adult scientist she is in the story yet I'm clearly unaware of someone being a victim? Ok >_>
I think the point to take from what @Obsidian Fire said is that, even while the specific details became less coercive, we were always meant to see Lucrecia's relationship with Hojo as one in which she was manipulated. Of course, this doesn't really make her a particularly sympathetic example of an abuse victim since the specifics of her (fictional) situation are such that she had a million chances to not do the awful, harmful things she was party to -- and I think in particular it's that a) she would choose to do what she did to her child; and b) that her choices facilitated the misery and deaths of untold numbers of people further down the road ... that make her difficult to feel sympathy for.

Nonetheless, the intent regarding abuse seems to have always been in there.

Is that Lucrecia in the background? I'm getting big time uncanny valley Banshee from Darby O'Gill vibes off it. Do not like :closedmonster:
Those thighs tell me everything I need to know about why Vincent would be so hung up.
 
#17
The idea was initially there, and then they got rid of it.

Or are we meant to think of Barret as non-overtly dead because at one point they were thinking of killing him, or Vincent as non-overtly a journalist because that was initially his job, or Aerith and Sephiroth as non-overt siblings because...

Actually, some corners of fandom are quite keen on that last one.

Nothing in the OG suggests Lucrecia was in an abusive or manipulative relationship with Hojo. People just don't want Sephiroth's mom and Vincent's love interest to be a despicable character. Of course the Compilation has revised her characterisation to a considerable extent.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#18
Or are we meant to think of Barret as non-overtly dead because at one point they were thinking of killing him, or Vincent as non-overtly a journalist because that was initially his job, or Aerith and Sephiroth as non-overt siblings because...
Ehhh, that's not really a good comparison because Aerith-and-Sephiroth-as-siblings is more akin to the specific details of the ways how Hojo and Lucrecia's relationship was abusive while the general idea that "There is an interesting connection between Aerith and Sephiroth" is more comparable to the general idea that "There's abuse in Hojo and Lucrecia's relationship."

The specifics changed, but the geneal idea remained. There's no other way to characterize a relationship where a mother (even a piss-poor excuse for one like Lucrecia) wasn't allowed by her child's father to ever hold the child. I'm definitely sticking to my guns that we were always meant to see this relationship as manipulative and/or abusive, that the developers have always seen it as such, and that this has been consistent across every iteration of development.

People just don't want Sephiroth's mom and Vincent's love interest to be a despicable character.
Nothing I'm saying makes her less despicable, nor comes close to bumping her from her well-earned spot as FF's second-worst character (Machina from Type-0 remains safely at the bottom).
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#19
I think the point to take from what @Obsidian Fire said is that, even while the specific details became less coercive, we were always meant to see Lucrecia's relationship with Hojo as one in which she was manipulated. Of course, this doesn't really make her a particularly sympathetic example of an abuse victim since the specifics of her (fictional) situation are such that she had a million chances to not do the awful, harmful things she was party to -- and I think in particular it's that a) she would choose to do what she did to her child; and b) that her choices facilitated the misery and deaths of untold numbers of people further down the road ... that make her difficult to feel sympathy for.
Oh, I'm not disputing that she ultimately became a victim of Hojo's too. Yeah, he did treat her horribly and fuck with her over trying to save Vincent. She's one of Hojo's many victims. The cruelty we see from Hojo begins when she's pregnant and gives birth to Sephiroth, so we can infer he didn't see her as much past that point. So, he more than likely "masked off" once she was pregnant.

My original point was she wasn't coerced into making the choice to be with Hojo romantically or part of the Jenova Project. And she certainly wasn't raped.

In fact, my original point was to refute the claim Dirge of Cerberus sanitized her and just made her a poor, demure victim.
 
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#20
I don't know enough about DoC to comment. Personally, I find it more interesting to conceptualise Hojo and Lucrecia's relationship as a meeting of true minds. No woman knows what it's like to be pregnant until they are pregnant. Lucrecia could easily have believed that she could conceive and bear a child without ever regarding it as anything other than an experiment. As the pregancy progressed, however, and perhaps especially once she felt the baby moving, her feelings changed (to her intense surprise and initial annoyance), becoming less "science-y" and more that despised thing, motherly. Seeing the change in her, Hojo might then have said, or thought, "Hey, that wasn't the deal," and confiscated the experiment before she could compromise it with her sloppy uncontrolled female emotions. And the part of her brain that was still running on science agreed with him.

That's just my fanfictioneer self spinning a hypothesis I find interesting, though.

Of course refusing to let a mother hold her child is objectively abusive. Or cruel, at least. What I'm saying is that it would have looked very different to the two people inside this relationship. They had an agreed goal, and Hojo wasn't the one who changed his mind. He is never, at any point in the Compilation, characterised as manipulative. Yes, he keeps information to himself, but this may be because a) he assumes no one will understand it, or b) nobody asked him. Whenever he's asked a question, he's always frank and upfront. One has to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was equally so with Lucrecia. I mean, the whole point about Hojo is that he doesn't get why people would find his work morally repulsive. The only explanation that makes sense to him is that they're too stupid to understand science.
 

GuardBreak

Rookie Adventurer
#21
Ehhh, that's not really a good comparison because Aerith-and-Sephiroth-as-siblings is more akin to the specific details of the ways how Hojo and Lucrecia's relationship was abusive while the general idea that "There is an interesting connection between Aerith and Sephiroth" is more comparable to the general idea that "There's abuse in Hojo and Lucrecia's relationship."

The specifics changed, but the geneal idea remained. There's no other way to characterize a relationship where a mother (even a piss-poor excuse for one like Lucrecia) wasn't allowed by her child's father to ever hold the child. I'm definitely sticking to my guns that we were always meant to see this relationship as manipulative and/or abusive, that the developers have always seen it as such, and that this has been consistent across every iteration of development.



Nothing I'm saying makes her less despicable, nor comes close to bumping her from her well-earned spot as FF's second-worst character (Machina from Type-0 remains safely at the bottom).
The analogy doesn't work here in my opinion. Suggesting something very broad as " The main heroine and antagonist share a connection" comes off more as stating the obvious. The nature of their relationship is fundamentally different in the final game, more like polar opposites when it comes to their upbringing.


The main point of contention is whether he coerced her into a relationship. Now that I think about it, does the original game states that Hojo specifically took away Sephiroth from her ? He was always going to be an important child for Shinra regardless.
 
AKA
The Engineer
#22
He [Hojo] is never, at any point in the Compilation, characterised as manipulative.
Clearly we didn't see the same scene in the Remake then... There's also an argument to make about Hojo not *trying* to be manipulative on purpose while it's very obvious to the player that he is. Then again, a lot of people who are manipulative don't see themselves as manipulative either...

A lot of what Hojo is like in Remake does make me think he's done this kind of manipulation before and knows where it will get him with people. Heck, he does this to *Aerith* in Picturing the Past. He won't let her see her mom unless Aerith gives him what he wants. Even if you want to leave out the Early Material files and the OG, it's clear that Hojo being manipulative has because a very key part of his character in Remake.

And Nomura, Kitase and Nojima have said the way the characters are portrayed in Remake is how they've been seeing them in their heads the entire time. It's just the first time they've managed to show the *players* what how they have seen the characters which such detail. So... going by that logic... Hojo has been manipulative in NKN's heads for a *very* long time.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#23
I think it's clear Hojo is a manipulative monster, however we are given no indication whatsoever that Hojo manipulated Lucrecia to be his girlfriend/wife. We're shown the exact opposite, she chose him. They were united and sympatico in their pursuit of science. The cruelty towards Lucrecia is shown to have begun when she was pregnant and Hojo subsequently treated her as a specimen. That's what we can see in the story.

Just because Hojo's a demon in one facet of life doesn't automatically confirm he's manifesting those behaviors everywhere else. Especially in something as sensitive and significant as a relationship with a woman character who ends up pregnant with his child. Like, such a significant detail and dynamic between these characters would need to be clarified. You wouldn't find that sort of clarification in how Hojo treats anyone else because those aren't relationship partners he's having children with. Aerith is a specimen to him, not a woman he's in a relationship with.

And having Lucrecia's relationship with Hojo be framed as her choice with Vincent accepting it because of this fact, sets the framing we see of their respective "sins." Vincent feels guilt because he couldn't convince or warn her to stop the Jenova Project and stay away from Hojo. Lucrecia feels guilt for her role in the Jenova Project and being deceived by Hojo. They both blame themselves and carry a role in their self imposed exiles. The tragedy sorta falls apart if Lucrecia was actually just an unwilling victim and all fault rests with Hojo and some mind games.
 
#24
I suspect we simpy define manipulative differently. To me, the essence of manipulativeness is dishonesty, e.g. someone who pretends to be your friend to get an invitation to your island wedding, or a student who gives you expensive gifts because they 'just love your class', without saying upfront that what they really want are better grades. You're being maneuvered by someone who is concealing their true goal from you. Teenagers are often very manipulative because they don't have much real power.

A parent who says you you can't have any pudding until you've eaten your veggies, a prison guard who tells you he'll let you see your family if you spy on your cell-mate, a prosecutor who offers a plea deal in return for information... These people are not being manipulative. They're telling you what the deal is. Hojo is always completely honest about what he wants and what you have to do to gain concessions from him, and to me, that's not manipulative. Manipulation is a psychological game, and Hojo doesn't play those kinds of games, because he doesn't understand human psychology. Plus, he has all the power. He doesn't need to be manipulative.

PS Indeed, so bad is he at manipulation, he thinks that showing Aerith the bloody corpses of her friends and saying "Now talk!" is the way to go.
 
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