Visual Analysis

Who Was that Labcoated Man?
Analysis by Renee

"He never takes off his lab coat even in the heat. I guess that's the mark of an intellectual." -Random Bikini Girl, on Hojo

(it may seem silly, but lots of FF shrines seem to have these sections now, so I figured, why not?)

Hojo Fashion: Throughout the game, Hojo wears a distinctive outfit which immediately associates him with his job and his nature. Hojo is always seen in his lab coat. From his first appearance in the conference room, it's apparent that he is a scientist. Later, when we see Gast's videos and during Lucrecia's flashback, this same iconography of labcoat = scientist is apparent. Under his coat, we can see that Hojo wears a white shirt, grey pants, and black shoes.

Hojo Hair: Hojo's hair is long and black, and he keeps it pulled back into a neat ponytail. A few strands in the front, however, have pulled loose and hang in his face. This is a nifty little parallel to Hojo himself: he acts in control, especially throughout disc one, and seems to have all the answers, but there are little cracks of chaos in his personality that get in the way. They keep him from seeing clearly, and in the end his insanity is apparent.

Eyes: Between his glasses and his bangs, it's hard to get a good look at Hojo's eyes. If it's true that the eyes are the windows to the soul, perhaps we should be grateful. As best as I can tell, his eyes are dark.

Glasses: Glasses are a sign of intellectualism, power, and age. Hojo's glasses indicate all these things about him. The style of his glasses is interesting to note. They are small and round, and most people would first associate them with "John Lennon glasses", referring to the style of the late musician. However, in many pictures of Japanese elite at the turn of the century, this style of small, round glasses is apparent. Thus it seems likely that Hojo's glasses were intended to evoke the iconography of the high-level members of traditional Japanese business and government.

Hojo Hands: Final Fantasy VII was one of the first games to allow subtlety of movement in hand gestures and movement, due to it's use of polygonal characters. Hojo's movements reveal many things about him. First, he always walks with his hands behind his back, causing him to stoop over. This makes him look more evil and threatening. Most of the time, Hojo's gestures are careful and precise, as befits his scientific nature. When he becomes agitated and loses control, however, his movements become erratic and he sometimes tears at his hair.

Posture: Hojo's posture is very distinctive, and another feature that only became possible to convey with the polygons of the playstation. His hunched, shuffling walk is distinctive and very telling. Because of his walk, it is immediately apparent when you first see him enter the conference room that he is an old man, even though he does not have any other signs of age. Hojo's posture tells us about him as a person as well. He is a broken man, and this is apparent long before we know he's mad, or that he lost his wife and son.