Samus Aran

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Name: Samus Aran, サムス・アラン
Occupation: "Bounty Hunter"*
Relationships: Virginia Aran (mother); Chief Rodney Aran (father); Gray Voice (adoptive father); Baby Metroid (adopted child)
Fandom: Metroid, Super Smash Bros.
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Samus Aran is an intergalactic bounty hunter and the protagonist of the Metroid video game series.


Samus Aran is an intergalactic Bounty Hunter and the main protagonist of the Metroid series. Her first appearance was in the original Metroid, released in 1986. Her birth planet is K-2L, an earth colony. Samus Aran is a bounty hunter of prestige fame, often employed by the Galactic Federation. Samus's history is somewhat mysterious and is often left with wide gaps.

--Samus Aran at Metroid Wiki


Reception and Popularity

Samus broke ground early in the gaming world with the debut of her first game in 1986. Originally players were under the impression that Samus was a man, as even the instruction booklet suggested this. However, completing Metroid in under an hour revealed Samus to be a young athletic woman wearing a pink bikini beneath her Power Suit.

Samus' popularity grew significantly after her appearance in the first Smash Brothers game; she has since appeared in every iteration of the Smash series' ever-growing roster.

In 2009, she was one of four semifinalists in GameSpot's fan poll of the "All-Time Greatest Game Hero".[1] In 2011, readers of Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition voted Samus as 14th of the top video game characters of all time.[2]

Like the Metroid series in general, Samus may be more popular among Western audiences than within Japan.[3]

Zero Suit

Samus' Zero Suit has a mixed reaction within the fandom; while some feel it's great at showing off her looks, some argue that it undermines her character and that Zero Suit Samus' stereotypically "sexy" features would be impractical given the her occupation. Not helping matters is that its appearance in Smash Bros. brought a whole new fanbase to the character purely based on her looks, with said fanbase downplaying her "badass" aspects even further. Fans frequently argue over which design for unarmored/helmetless/Zero Suit Samus is the best, with designs ranging from the anime-stylized designs of Zero Mission and Other M, to the more realistic design of the Metroid Prime Trilogy.

Fan art of Samus in her Zero Suit may be more frequently produced and circulated than art in which she wears her usual Power Suits.

Other M

Samus' portrayal in Other M has been widely reviled among the broader Metroid fandom.[4] Following Other M, many of its detractors have claimed that Samus has been tarnished as a lead due to the increased sexualization and infantilization of the character. Examining the series as a whole, though, Samus was sexualized as early as the first game, was placed into a "motherly" role in the second and third games, and was further sexualized in Zero Mission and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. What makes Other M different, according to some critics, is that these other games only had maybe one or two of these problems and they were downplayed tropes for the most part; Other M had them all at once and many of them were front-and-center and treated as vital to Samus's identity and character in ways that they never had been before.

Fanon and Tropes

Though Samus is constantly referred to as a bounty hunter in official materials, many fans agree that she has never actually been shown to properly work as one and thus would be more aptly classified as a mercenary, contractor, or special agent in the service of the Federation.[5][6] In fact, according to an IGN interview of the Metroid Prime Trilogy developers, Nintendo has opposed the depiction of Samus collecting bounties,[7] perhaps to emphasize that her heroism isn't financially motivated.

In fan works, Samus may be portrayed with a cold, introverted, even bad-tempered personality that may clash with the more sunnier personalities of her fellow Smash fighters. Otherwise, she is sometimes portrayed with a tender, motherly personality (AKA "Space Mom"), especially toward the Baby Metroid and Pikachu; this may be humorously juxtaposed with her otherwise cold, tough reputation.

According to a sample of 11,900 Super Smash Bros. fics published to FanFiction.Net (FFN) between 2001 and 28 February 2019, Samus was the fifth most frequently selected character within the fandom's character filters.[8]

Some fans believe Samus to be transgender, thanks to "Metroid’s Samus Aran is a Transgender Woman. Deal With It.", a 2015 article posted to The Mary Sue,[9] which cites a 1994 interview including background designer and graphics developer Matsuoka Hirofumi, who apparently stated: "Samus isn't a woman. As a matter of fact, she's actually a newhalf"[10] (a Japanese term referring to male-to-female cross-dressers or to transgender women who have not undergone genitoplasty surgery; the term is related to pornography subcultures, may be considered the equivalent to the English-language term "shemale", and may be considered derogatory). Other fans dispute the canonicity of this claim, many citing official statements as well as comments by director Sakamoto Yoshio.[11] The matter even generated some heated discussion on the talk page of Samus' Wikipedia article; the Gamergate "culture war" was frequently referenced.


Most of shipping concerning Samus comes from the Smash Brothers community due to her own series focused on the mission of a solitary bounty hunter, with little to no social interaction among a limited number of characters. Samus is quite popular and versatile within Smash shipping, likely because she is one of the relatively few female characters to consistently appear in the male-majority roster, and also because she lacks a love interest in her home series (e.g. as opposed to Zelda, who is often paired with Link).

In a sample of 122 fics published to FFN between 13 October 2013 and 7 January 2019, Samus was most often listed in the pairing filter with Zelda/Shiek (27%); followed by Link and Marth (12% each); Solid Snake and Ike (10% each); Captain Falcon and Pit (6% each); Little Mac (5%); Peach (4%); Dark Pit (3%); Palutena, Fox, and Sonic (2% each).[12]

Notable Pairings

Fan Works

Fan Art

Fan Fiction

Fan Comics






Archives and Communities



  1. ^ "All Time Greatest Game Hero - The Standings". GameSpot. Archived 6 October 2009.
  2. ^ Marchiafava, Jeff. "Guinness Names Top 50 Video Game Characters Of All Time", published to Game Informer on 16 Feb 2011.
  3. ^ Robinson, Andy. "The History of Metroid", published to GamesRadar on 15 October 2007. (Archived from the original on 25 May 2015.)
  4. ^ IHad360K_KarmaDammit. [Metroid Fandom] Nintendo releases a new Metroid game in 2010, everyone hates it posted to r/HobbyDrama on 27 Jan 2020. (Accessed December 2020.)
  5. ^ IceKrabby. [Metroid Series] Samus is not a bounty hunter. posted to r/FanTheories on 30 May 2012. (Accessed December 2020.)
  6. ^ Shonendo. For Samus being such a badass bounty hunter, do we ever get to see actual bounties? posted to r/Metroid on 28 Sep 2017. (Accessed December 2020.)
  7. ^ Casamassina, Matt. "A Space Bounty Hunter in Texas: The inside story of Echoes, Corruption and Trilogy.", published to IGN on 10 May 2012. (Accessed December 2020.)
  8. ^ phantomstatistician. Most Popular Characters in Super Smash Brothers FanFiction 2001-Present, posted to Tumblr on 28 February 2019.
  9. ^ Brianna Wu and Ellen McGrody (September 1, 2015). "Metroid's Samus Aran is a Transgender Woman. Deal With It". The Mary Sue. Archived from the original on 2022-05-28. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Wikipedia. (Accessed 1 December 2020.)
  12. ^ phantomstatistician. Samus' FanFiction Shipping Chart 2013*-Present, posted to Tumblr on 7 Jan 2019. (Accessed December 2020.)