Ranking Jill Valentine’s Immaculate Vibes in the Resident Evil Series
Hip hip, beret!
With the release of Resident Evil: Death Island in summer 2023, longtime fans of the series are thrilled to see the return of many beloved faces from yesteryear. Not only is the golden boy Leon Kennedy pulling double duty between this and Resident Evil 4 Remake just around the corner, but the master of unlocking herself makes her triumphant return: it’s Jill Valentine, everyone!!
Her appearance in this upcoming film has been the cause of much discussion, and it serves as a reminder that Jill has been among the more fashion forward characters to roam the streets of Raccoon City. So what better time than the present to rank her vibes throughout the series?
This list will be restricted only to major canonical entries, and at the exclusion of unlockable alternate outfits. We will also only be taking a peek into her digital interpretations, so live-action Jill stans will have to wait for another day. May we suggest September 28th… daylight?
8. Resident Evil: Death Island
We commence, oddly enough, with her most recent appearance (and the basis for which this list is being made) smack bang at the bottom of the pile. We’re not being contrary, we just have our reservations.
To be clear, Jill looks absolutely fantastic in the trailers we’ve seen so far, brandishing her iconic hairstyle and attire from Resident Evil 3 Remake. It’s not the execution that falls short, but the concept that she would look this way to begin with. Death Island is set in 2015, six years after the events of Resident Evil 5, which would make Jill approximately 41 years old. Despite this, she seems to be just as youthful as she did in 1998’s Resident Evil 3, if not more so.
The lore provided states that her T-Virus infection has slowed her aging, which is a disappointing yet understandable caveat. The question we’ve got, however, is why she hasn’t changed her clothes or hair in the meantime? Her brief sojourn as a blonde with a ponytail in RE5 is completely disregarded, and further, she doesn’t appear to have any sign of scarring from Wesker’s mind control implant — which, based on the cutscene after its removal, should have at least had an impact on her neckline.
Anyway, let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. We’re so happy to have our girl back, we just wish that she had more of a Sally Field in the early 90s vibe. Let her try out a trendy cardigan.
7. Resident Evil 3
First, I complained about Jill having her modern RE3 apparel in Death Island. Now, I’m throwing shade at the outfit that made it iconic in the first place? I suppose I’ve just been infected by the C-Virus; the C is short for controversy, before you jump to conclusions.
So let’s talk about the day she came busting out of the wall like the Kool-Aid man while Raccoon City burnt to cinders around her. This game is set right in the thick of the infection spreading throughout town, and according to her iconic opening speech, Jill is taking a last stand to make her escape.
What does this highly trained special operations agent elect to wear for such a dangerous mission? Why, a tight skirt, knee-high boots and a tube top, of course! Because if she’s likely to die, she might as well make for a particularly stunning zombie. Being undead is no excuse for being uncool, after all.
It’s understandable that she would be in more casual attire than her S.T.A.R.S. uniform, but what functionality does this ensemble have? Is the sweater around her waist for show, or does it serve some practical purpose? Is all this exposed skin really a good idea around flesh-eating monsters?
This look has stood the test of time, usurping her beret-wearing days by a long shot. We won’t argue against its cultural impact, it simply doesn’t seem in-character for her to put form over function when the stakes are this high. Ada, yes. Jill, not really.
6. Resident Evil 5
Resident Evil 5 toyed with our emotions by implying that our beloved Jill sandwich had been lost forever, a tragic fatality in a botched raid thanks to pesky old Albert Wesker.
It turns out to be a ruse, however, and after her identity is concealed through a rather nifty plague doctor mask — what potpourri would Jill use, I wonder? My money is on cardamom — it is revealed that she is under Wesker’s spell, courtesy of a mind control device lodged quite rudely upon her clavicle. In the proceeding encounter, Chris and Sheva must hold Jill steady in an attempt to free her, while she leaps and bounds about the place like a cat trying to avoid taking its medication.
Jill definitely rocks the blonde hair and slinky bodysuit, but once again, we’re left puzzled from a narrative perspective. When last we saw her fall to her presumed doom, she had her usual brunette hair and BSAA uniform. The follicle fallacy is cleverly explained through a test subject file, suggesting that the tests being conducted were affecting her pigmentation, but what about the body suit?
Did Albert have this tailor-made for her? Or was this one that he had been previously wearing himself? Why does it have heels, exactly, other than to make her look like a dominatrix? As previously mentioned, Jill seems to have subsequently noped this entire number out of existence, ponytail and all, so she wasn’t too terribly fond of it. If the woman wearing it doesn’t think it’s so fetch, why should we? Hence its modest ranking.
5. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
A somewhat forgotten entity in the echelons of Resident Evil (and yes, I say this as someone who literally forgot to include it when I was initially brainstorming these rankings), the climax of this on-rails Wii title takes place in the snowy fields of Russia.
Though Jill is adorned in her classic RE3 garments for the most part, she elects to leave the skirt at home for this final chapter, looking super snuggly in her slick blue parka. At long last, she has elected to provide her arms with suitable protection, all it took was subzero temperatures.
The reason we don’t rate this one any higher, is because it’s not exactly a memorable set of habiliments. If someone were to attempt an Umbrella Chronicles Jill cosplay, most people would just assume they had come from a day trip to Michigan.
4. Resident Evil: Revelations
We go from deriding a bodysuit in RE5 to celebrating a wetsuit in RE: Revelations, which is just as form-fitting and yet contextually sensible. Seriously, if you can have an in-story reason why Jill has to sport an all-day wedgie, it really goes a long way to justifying its presence.
Revelations takes place as part of an operation out at sea, so the BSAA agent is dressed accordingly, while also being equipped with a myriad of belt buckles that possibly serve some sort of goal beyond giving her more things to click and un-click when she’s bored.
If you’ll pardon a cameo from the prude police, I do believe she’s perhaps got the zipper a bit lower than necessary, inexplicably serving as eye candy for the monsters onboard. In fairness, I cannot determine the exact temperature of the Queen Zenobia cruise liner, or whether she is even aware of this at the present point in time.
Look, mutated creatures can make for a stressful time; I doubt I would notice if I was wearing my sweater inside-out when they’re trying to decapitate me. So Jill gets a pass in this instance.
3. Resident Evil 3 Remake
So this is pretty much what Ms. Valentine looks like now. Whether it’s Resident Evil Re:Verse, Resident Evil Resistance, Dead by Daylight, or completely ignoring the concept of being middle aged in Resident Evil: Death Island, the default attire sees her in the updated wardrobe of Resident Evil 3 Remake.
It’s basically a less scantily clad interpretation of the original, with a pair of pants in lieu of a miniskirt and a plain blue tank top. It’s understated, and more in line with what someone would be likely to wear while just bumming around the house while trying to deal with trauma. Funnily enough, since the Remake opening sees Jill forcibly removed from her apartment when Nemesis comes busting in, her miniskirt ensemble would have at least made a bit more sense; she didn’t have time to prepare, after all, and can only be thankful that she wasn’t strutting around in her pyjamas at the time.
About the only thing divisive here is the decision to re-cast Jill’s face model, replacing Julia Voth, whose likeness had been the basis for her appearance since 2002. That comes down to a matter of personal taste, and Sasha Zotova fits the part equally as well. The fandom will forever be split on who they prefer, with only the truly distinguished instead opting for the OG, Inezh.
2. Resident Evil 5: Lost in Nightmares
Dammit Chris, why are you photobombing this image of BSAA’s finest agent? Get your big, roided arms out of the way — we’ll give you a call if we ever end up ranking your jank-ass swag, or more likely, if we need someone to open a jar.
Redfield notwithstanding, we hope that you can appreciate the majesty that is Jill’s tactical strike gear. She’s foregone the beret of yesteryear, forsaking her French heritage in favor of a cap that keeps all of her thoughts and hair in place. I may be overselling this, but wow, doesn’t she look like she means business with that hat?
The rest of the kit is completed with an authoritative pair of pants paired with a menacing long-sleeved top. Those adjectives don’t necessarily suit these items, and yet, you probably just accepted them. That’s how awesome this outfit is.
Alas, it was here where Jill would suffer her greatest loss, and the aforementioned capture and torture at the hands of the Umbrella Corporation. Due to this, one might consider these to be unlucky clothes, though you could equally spin it the opposite way: she survived falling off of a cliff, perhaps because of her authoritative pants and menacing long-sleeved top.
…If you bold sentences, they are more likely to be taken seriously. This is a fact.
1. Resident Evil
You can call me a purist. You can call me overly sentimental. You can call me Anthony, as most do. Whatever your stance is, I will not be swayed in my opinion that the original Jill Valentine regalia stands head and shoulder(pads) above the competition.
For my money, it remains the most immediately recognizable, with its à la mode beret and protective features that hide her vulnerable shoulders from would-be assailants. What’s that, Mr. Zombie? You thought you were about to tear into flesh, only to receive a mouthful of leather? How disappointing that must be for you! For dessert, you will eat lead.
Other than upping her polygon count and adding some additional straps, 2002’s Resident Evil Remake didn’t mess with a classic, so we’re counting it as part of this entry. It does get bonus points for the Voth casting, a clear upgrade from the often blurry facial textures available on the PS1. Now you can see the pain and agony in her expression every time she is subjected to damage, and that’s always a plus!
Sadly, beret-brandishing Jill isn’t quite so in vogue, with RE3 having all but eclipsed it for significance. Canonically, it does make sense as S.T.A.R.S. has long since been disassembled — quite literally — at the hands of Mr. Nemesis. We can still hold out hope that it pops up as a cosmetic option, though it was strange that her mind-controlled lycra was the first alternate introduced in Re:Verse, with the official description even stating “It’s not Jill Valentine’s tactical gear of choice, but that’s never held her back before”.
It’s not my tactical gear of choice either, Capcom. Give me my damned beret!!
But what say you? Are you perhaps a member of team miniskirt (an offshoot of the legendary team blouses)? However you prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we hope that you have enjoyed this raucous Jillride.
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