Memorable Metal Gear Moments – Naked Raiden

Sure, you may have played as Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3, but contrary to what his codename suggests, he was never actually naked in the literal sense. Not completely, at least. Raiden on the other hand does make an appearance in the nude.

In Metal Gear Solid 2, after being captured by Olga and taken into Arsenal Gear, Raiden wakes up strapped to a device – in his birthday suit. After he has been freed from the machine, he has to infiltrate part of the facility undressed.

Naked-Raiden-and-Snake-MGS2

It’s a pretty funny part of the game that had people talking, or giggling, or even grumbling. But is there any meaning to it? Or, maybe a better question, how can it be interpreted?

First, it’s important to realize this part represents a turning point in the game’s story, a moment of catharsis. Up until this point, Raiden’s past has been unclear. But now it is revealed that years ago he was a child soldier who fought for the same man standing before him now – Solidus Snake.

Raiden comes face to face with his traumatic past, and he can no longer deny it. The memory is there again, whether he wants it or not. And now everyone knows, Raiden himself, the other characters, and the player.

Raiden-Child-Soldier

But what does this have to do with being naked? Well, the nakedness has several symbolic meanings:

First of all, it represents the loss of his (fake) identity, the FOXHOUND soldier Raiden. His suit is gone, and the tattoos – reminders of his manufactured identity, and proof of his manipulated self – are shown all over his body. He was never allowed a real identity, whether it was during his time in Liberia, or as a pawn of the Patriots – he always was someone else’s creation, serving someone else’s interests. Someone else’s weapon, as his code name already implies. Raiden is just another persona. The disguise which he used to deny his true self, has been taken away. In a way, this is his real suit. The real Raiden – but, it’s still a suit. Though somewhere behind all these fragments of identity, behind the codename Snake or Raiden, behind the White Devil, Jack the Ripper, behind the rookie soldier with VR training, and behind the Skull Suit, hides the real identity of this man. A child soldier.

Naked-Raiden-Captured-MGS2

Secondly, Raiden’s nakedness emphasizes the fact that he has been reborn. He wakes up as his true self. The person he actually is, who he was before, is finally back.

It also represents vulnerability – both at a physical and at a mental level. Raiden is no longer protected, literally of course, since his body is stripped of the highly advanced ‘smart skin’ skull suit he was wearing, and so even the cold becomes his enemy. But also mentally, he can no longer hide behind the mask, he has to show everyone, including Rose, and more importantly, himself, who he really is. Metal Gear Solid 2 is a game that has (artificial) identity as a major theme in the story. His suit was an extension of his body, a physical protection, and his handle was a persona covering his real identity, a mental protection.

Naked-Raiden-Past-MGS2

What’s also interesting is how this situation is reminiscent of a dream. Dreams play a big role in Metal Gear Solid 2, and this whole part feels like Raiden is in one himself. Nudity in dreams is quite common, it refers to the helplessness of the dreamer. When you are naked, your real identity becomes apparent, with all its flaws and imperfections. Dreaming about being naked in public means you don’t want give yourself away to others because of lack of trust. Raiden has refused to share his past with Rose, the person he lives with. He literally locks her out when he is in his room. This is also the point at which the game starts acting really weird due to the virus uploaded onto GW, making the dream like state even more apparent, since dreams are often strange and surreal.

To conclude, the ‘Naked Raiden’ part is truly meaningful and clever. It only adds to Metal Gear Solid 2’s brilliance as a postmodern story that – as random and weird as it may have seemed the first time – is the result of a carefully and meticulously constructed work of art.

Also, naked cartwheels!

Naked-Raiden-Cartwheel-MGS2

  • Golgari

    When I played MGS2 for the first time I never laughed at him being naked but I was horrified to see tattoos all over his body. Basically he was a secret weapon from the start.
    That was a fantastic way to represent a character. My personal favourite MGS2 part. I always liked that Kojima could express characters with small little details such as this.

    Anyway, Thank you Nyx. I hope that we can see more of this stuff in the future.

    • Nyxus

      Thanks a lot. I always find it interesting to try to analyze (parts of) the games, but also quite diffuclt. But yeah, I plan to create more articles of course. Anyway, glad you liked it!

    • William of Orange

      How do you mean? Solid, liquid and solidus were designed to be a weapon. Raiden got molded into a weapon. Unlike Solid,Liquid,Solidus,Sunny,Ocelot,Paz,The Boss and Eva, he wasn’t born inside the partiots organisation. He was literally born in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Jack’s parents had no affiliations with the patriots (unless that’s the twist in mgs V). Like I said, due to the circumstances and tragic events in his life, raiden got involved in this war between the patriots and the snakes ( solid snake not included).

      • Golgari

        Yeah. I know. I’m talking about basic character design. He basically was manufactured and tattoos shows that a lot. I really liked the fact that the game started with simple premise and simple wannabe “Secret Agent” and in the end it got to the whole other level.

        • William of Orange

          Did they mention how raiden got these tattoos? I can’t recall that at all.

          • Nyxus

            I don’t think so, but even so I do believe the tattoos are meant to symbolize his artificial self (especially the barcode).

          • William of Orange

            But he didn’t had those tattoos in mgs 4 (his arms were replaced with synthetic arms, I know). Is there an explanation for that?

          • Nyxus

            Yeah, like you said, those are new (synthetic) body parts.

  • PrinceHeir

    to be honest i too didn’t laugh at the scene, but rather was really mind fuck on what just happened.

    the whole mission being a replica of the Shadow Mosses, him being prisoner of war since a child, and that conversation where he told rose about eating a gun powder just to get something to eat.

    add that to the colonel acting up(and i actually thought it was a glitch) and i even turned off the game once and thought about it back then.

    Kojima was also exploring the Otaku boom that’s be going on on the early 2000s.

    unfortunately, due to the bitching of western media and everyone complaining about not playing Solid Snake, Kojima had to tone down this and went back to a more traditional route.

    shame he could have explored this more. then again there are already other mediums that did a better job on it like Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, especially information manipulation and the future of Virtual Reality.

    man Xenosaga, Metal Gear Solid 2, Killer is Dead wow soo many games were they were really into the details of a story and trying to piece together their themes into objects.

    MGS2 is still my most played game to date, played the original 10 times and Substance for 8-9 times(so 19+ times total) and just played the HD Collection this summer so basically around 20 times i played the hell out of this game.

    add to the alot of improvements like destructible environments(that fire extinguisher effect!), ability to lean and shoot on cover, first person attack mode,the game is really a masterpiece and i enjoyed Raiden as a character.

    plus the music!! Yell Dead Cell is hype as hell!! boss fights are unique and crazy and tons of easter eggs!

    man makes me want to play the game once again!!

    shame about the hate it received. Raiden is a cool and very believable character. if this idiots were in his situation, i do wonder if they could have handled the situation better instead of bitching about Raiden not being able to do anything.

    i have a detail message on my first experience on MGS2 on andriasang.

    it’s a long text, shame the site seems to be gone for good now so i can’t copy it anymore 🙁

    • EimajOzear

      Imagine if we played as a different character for each game; that would’ve been interesting.

    • William of Orange

      Yeah, Raiden is a believable character. But would you throw up 3 times while you’re heading towards the location of a bomb to freeze it? Would you taunt your girlfriend about your “first kill”?
      I can’t relate with him as much as I did with Meryl.

  • Fraaancis

    >Someone else’s weapon, as his code name already implies.
    Sorry, i’m not shure that i get that.
    You saying about planes that named Jack and Raiden?
    For the article – i somehow feel that i dont want to share my thoughts about it with anyone =)

    • Nyxus

      Yes, at the end of the game the AIs tell him he was named after a weapon, that’s why that name was chosen.

  • Cartmangus

    Great article, Nyx. Really is one of the most memorable parts in video gaming ever for me. Good notes about the tattoos as well, something I caught onto when playing the game as a younger kid before getting the full picture, weird bar codes and shit as if the guy had been stamped. There are so many neat little subtleties in MGS2 to make everything seem artificial, shit runs deep. Judging by the hospital scene in TPP I’m hoping we’ll get something similar to Arsenal Gear in that sense of reality completely breaking down with crazy shit happening

    • Nyxus

      Yeah, the Phantom Pain hospital scene is somewhat reminiscent of that part of MGS2, because both seem to show a blending of reality and the dream world, or at least something that looks like it.

  • Kenneth Hale

    Also raiden was meant to help bring out snake as a character everyone groaned about mgs1 and how there were all these grown ass dudes bitching so kojima decided lets take a young man with a seemingly fresh start and less of a manly tone but still have that badass feel

  • Carlos Bruno

    man that part of the game its hillarious

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