well, I loved it. Pretty awesome story. Pretty awesome characters. Pretty awesome themes & stuff. Pretty cool gameplay too in so far as I can judge (not exactly a video game expert ^^). Very much hit me in the feels.
I just love the depth that all the main characters have. Nobody’s just an archetype/trope; they are really well layered and thought out psychologically speaking (and also very appealing!!!). There’s also a lot of random cool minor characters like Chocolate and Kate and Linart and so on, which are very well realised as characters. Obviously the villains (at least the big ones, the Desian Cardinals are pretty threadthin) are also extremely well characterised and multi-layered. I do love how much the antagonists spend their time plotting & scheming against one in the background while the protagonists do their stuff XD (there were several moments where I was like: “should I draw a diagram or relationship map of the Desian&Cruxis&Renegate politicking?”) And how much the story overall had twists & betrayals & double agenting. Bet on rewatch there’s a lot of hilarious moments of “you know that I know that you know and meanwhile we’re pretending for everyone else”.
Thematically, I love a lot of the subtleties and nuances although I think they are also weakened by the flaws of world building (I don’t think the discrimination of Half-Elves is well established as part of the setting on Sylvarant; and you keep butting on the weirdness of the discrimination against Half Elves being THE thing while there’s barely any Elves around so you wonder where they come from…) but from the very beginning with the situation in Isolia and the Human Ranch they set up things as pretty complicated and nuanced as well as completely appalling. And they typically don’t take the easy way out in term of calling out any characters on the mistakes or over simplification they may do, I like that.
Idk, does that answer your questions and do you want answers to something else? I definitly don’t mind talking about ToS right now ^^
Lloyd: Like him a lot. I think I liked him more at the beginning of the game because I get annoyed by how narratives are protagonist centric and the date sim like relationship system did not help at all on that front; but it’s not really fair to Lloyd because he’s actually a very nice boy and very nuanced main character. Definitly not just your average stereotypical shounen lead (I especially have that in mind because I watched the OAV adaption and Lloyd’s the biggest victim of mischaracterisation in it). I like that Lloyd is pretty damn smart, even if he passes for an idiot because he’s so incapable of focussing on studies and most of his intelligence works in intuitive way. Man, that boy is very and scarily intuitive. Anyway, otherwise, I love his sense of humour, there’s a lot of adorb dialogues between him a Genis and Colette especially and latter Zelos too. Also some of the sweet stuff he said to Genis and Colette again.
Colette: Love her!! She’s so adorable but OMG BB! stop having such a low self esteem *hugshugshugs* I think I spent a lot of time in the early stage of the game being aghast by her low self-esteem and wondering where it had come from. I love that she’s such a liar, and the whole deconstruction of the Chosen One trope, and underneath how very strong and brave she is. I love her character journey and how she becomes more self-assured after she regains her soul, and when she insists to go with the group when they try to have her stay behind at one point. Oh, and I love how she’s willing to reach out to people, and the way she did to Sheena and Presea especially and how that had a deep effect on the two of them (also Zelos, although that was a mixed endeavour from Colette and Lloyd, but I love that z-skit where Colette and Zelos speak about being the Chosen). I could have lived with her getting damselled a little bit less; but I like that even when she does, it’s about her and her story not about Lloyd. Also: my favourite voice of the english dub.
Genis: MY BB!!!! OKay, Genis was my favourite character very early in; I just loved his snarkiness and sass and arrogance. Adorable brat ♥ And OMG, the way he escapes the Renegades when Lloyd gets captured early on by going all “i’m just a weak kid!” then go seek help. Just… that kid <3 Then latter we got more into his issues, and there’s so much bitterness and genuine issues with contempt and anger and having to live his whole life lying about who he is because Raine and him were persuaded that they told anyone they’d end up hated and driven away again. Anyway, the whole sarcastic, fronting as cynical because he’s been burned and precocious brat thing is something I always like; mostly because I can relate (I was a bit of a precocious insolent brat myself ^^). But underneath he’s just a kid and you see that at other times, like the how completely clumsy and awkward he is with his crush on Presea. And OMG that scene in the Tower of Salvation when he tells Lloyd about how afraid he is and BB!!!!
Grrr, really can’t forgive the OAV for mischaracterising him a lot (which was not as important than mischaracterisation Lloyd but I play favourites okay!!)
Raine: Took me a bit to warm up to her when when I did I thought she was completely awesome. Great, great character. Very subversive personality for a Staff Chick lol. I love how pragmatic and downright ruthless and merciless she can be. And I love how you can see it grows from her experience in life, and having to grow up and raise her baby brother when she was basically still a child herself, and how she had to learn to sacrifice and plan and especially plan for the worse a lot, and how she wants to put faith in idealism, especially by the end, but mostly she can’t afford to until she can. I did not like the way the story handled her being physically violent with Genis (even if she was right about what she was correcting him about) because I’m not comfortable with parental violence treated as comedy; but then when we find more about her it makes a lot of sense for someone who was so young when she had to take care of him to get that sort of bad habits. You can see how much she cared and wanted to protect Genis, but you can also see some of the things she did wrong and that makes her a very well rounded character. Of course I also love what a big geek she is and her obsession about archeology and the lot <3 And when we deal with her backstory, I have so many feels about her and her issues with her mother. And I love how self-possessed and assured she is, and how she doesn’t get ruffled easily and what a badass motherfucker she basically is. She’s not one to mess with.
Sheena: I kinda fell in love with Sheena right away. Or at least I really digged her charadesign lol. Sheena’s one of my top favourite character of the game, she’s wonderful. She’s a very…. all-in character, very genuine and upfront and sincere and she tries so very fucking hard despite having so much stuff to deal with that scares and eats away at her. She’s very emotional and also very smart. In many ways she’s not a very good ninja, lol. At least stealth and ruthlessness and being guarded are really not her things. Though she’s good at running away (Sheena, bb *hugs*). She’s very generous, idealist and has a very strong sense of responsability. And she’s completely adorable <3 I love how downright awkward and sweet she is, at the same time as she is tough and determined. And how shocking I thought it was when we found out the whole deal with Volt was when she was fucking seven urgh. I especially loved the evolution of her relationship with Raine, because they distrusted one another a lot at first, but then they became much more friendly. I like the ways in which she function like a mirror to Lloyd (same as Zelos function as a mirror to Colette).
Zelos: haha, my other top favourite character ♥ Besides the fact that he’s very easy on the eyes and that I love how funny a character he is, and also that I loved his gameplay the most and he ended up my default character in combat because I love polyvalent characters in abilities, I really love the whole “act like a fool as a front to how underhanded he actually is” thing, although I feel it’s a bit more than just putting a front, it’s a whole coping & survival strategy. And I love the whole deals with angst and self loathing issues by acting in a very cheerful and effervescent and avoidant way because I relate with that a lot ^_^;. So yeah, I love how that boy is in “deflect deflect deflect” mode all the time, and how conflicted he feels anytime someone does see through the mask. I love that this is the kid who decided that since his life was a joke, he was going to act and treat it like it was a joke. He is such a nihilistic guy. And underneath that, he was so eager for a little bit of appreciation, because even if he won’t like admitting it, when someone has faith in him, he will try very hard and will like that it’s appreciated (urgh, the way the Curry cooking sidequest, if you give it to him, function as a mirror/reveal of his character arc). And the whole complexity of what Zelos thought of Half Elves and how full of contradiction he was about that. So yeah, I really love the way he functions as a mirror to Colette, because they are very different on first glimpse, yet when you get into it they have very similar issues with self esteem and ~lying~ and being self-destructive and in itself that’s pretty fascinating. And of course, I love his relationship with Sheena, because it’s full of self sabotaging and giving a lot of fuck at the same time and when he totally got serious when he stopped her from sacrificing herself to Kuchinawa and how genuinely angry he was about despite the irony of how he would have himself acted if Lloyd didn’t trust him. And I also really love his relationship with Seles, we only see a few glimpses of it but they are so fascinatingly complex and those two kids are so AWFUL at communicating with one another and both persuaded that the other hate them while caring a whole fucking lot and OMG all the feels.
Regal: I have a VERY HARD time taking Regal seriously. Mostly I like him as a comic characters, lol. But seriously I see his FULL OF MANPAIN AND ANGST backstory and I’m like “this is a parody right?” sorry Regal. But I love how deadpan and EARNEST he is as a character otherwise, he’s pretty adorable in many z-skits and function great in term of being the straight man to the others’ antics (sometimes intentionally, because he’s pretty smart and sharp too.) I do love watching him fight, because the whole fighting acrobatically with your feet like that looks pretty neat visually, but still ended up the character that was the less often in my team. Sorry Regal. It’s not that I didn’t like you, it’s that I liked everyone else more. Also your outfit was very, very silly even if I appreciate the effort taken in equal opportunity fanservice.
Presea: Liked her a lot! For a character who I kinda pegged as yet another Emotionless Girl very quickly, she also turned out to be subversive in interesting ways, especially with the focus on anger and learning to letting go partially, but not necessarily forgive anything when it wasn’t deserved either. That was well handled. And also how she deals with her age, and how old she feels on the inside compared to how others take her. I also loved playing with her, I think after Zelos and Lloyd she may have been the distant third character I was playing in combat the most (well, her or Sheena, but the friend I was playing with was so much better with Sheena than I was that I let her play with her most of the time), because there’s something very rejoycing about playing such a small character who does so much damage with a huge axe MWAHAHAHAHAHA. *cough* I do love Cute Bruiser characters. But yeah, otherwise I want to give a lot of hugs to her because she went through so much and when she comes back to herself, she soon finds out even her sister dies and there’s basically nobody left who cares for her; but at the same time it feels like she has a lot of dignity. I also really loved how her relationship with Colette played out, because at first she felt guilty about the way she had been used against her; but then they bonded and it felt like Presea had a bit of a crush on her XD
So I might do a third part to this later because I have to talk about the Cruxis character too, don’t I.
Yuan: The amusing thing about Yuan is that even though he’s the least fail member of the Cruxis, he still manages to be full of fail. I mean who knows how many years of leading the Renegades and the most he could do was murdering a bunch of innocent Chosens and making a plan that when applied turned out to almost destroy the world and did destroy quite a lot of landscape… not to mention how turned out that last ditch effort to blackmail Kratos into releasing the Origin Seal. Yeaaaaah, not a lot of successes in there - besides rescuing and helping the protatonists - usually right before turning against them. The Renegades are soooo amusing in their unrelieable way. Actually I love that about them, that they’re working for an undeniably good cause overall and ready to sacrifice themselves altruistically and courageously for it… and at the same time are utterly pragmatic and ruthless and deceptive and pretty damn callous.
So yeah, I do love Yuan. Pretty much did on his first appearance on screen - he has a great intro. Do love the smug smirking fabulous asshole thing, you know? And when you know him, he’s a very fascinating character full of a lot of interesting contradiction. He’s very practical minded and result orientated, but his motivation comes from his romantic love for Martell. He’s very smooth and suave, but also hot tempered and easily riled. He was as willing to risk trying to murder Kratos than he was to save his life later. So yeah, pretty awesome, complicated character (“Lord Botta loves complicated things.”), who is never exactly a bad guy or a good guy in the story, while also being very far from a wild card archetype. Just.. doing his thing for what he believes in in his own way.
Kratos: I actually really like Kratos, although I swear the fandom and the oav adaptations are doing their best to make me dislike him by trying to portray him as this very cool guy and best dad ever and at which point I have to laugh a lot. I loved Kratos early in the game in the role of constant facepalming tsundere mentor “what am I doing with those idiots?” guy; which he does adorably well. I also loved him as the “surprise! Actually I worked for the Cruxis all along unreliable mentor still giving cryptic advice while doing his mysterious things.” I like him slightly less as Lloyd’s dad; mostly because of all the MANPAIN he immediatly inherits which makes me roll my eyes a little; and also a little bit because of the cliche aspect of that particular narrative trope. But yeah, I also get annoyed by the gloss over the fail, because the fail is pretty epic. What’s staggering about Kratos is the amount of time he spends doing utterly nothing. That guy has taken apathy to an art form. Granted, that was probably because he was clinically depressed after Anna’s death. Not sure how you explain the millenias before (besides the “well I’m the only human in the group and it’s humans who killed Martell” awkwardness and shame; but that only goes so far. And granted, he did eventually do some stuff, but they strike me as being the bare minimum of stuff he could do for Lloyd at this point. So yeah, Kratos failed very, very badly as a teacher to Mithos (and after Martell’s death I assume he was probably the person who was the closest to him) and then as a human being who stood by while horrible things happened which he didn’t agree with but couldn’t find in himself to oppose directly or covertly; and then as a father to Lloyd. Because even though there was a lot of bad luck in there he handled things pretty horribly with Lloyd (he’s lucky Lloyd is such a good boy, a fact that can be laid to Dirk’s door a lot I guess). Kratos is a pretty terribly awkward person and terrible with the expression of emotions. Which is rather endearing, in a face-palmy sort of way. And he does have all this manpain and tragedy in his life which I do feel sorry about when I’m not busy rolling my eyes at it.
Mithos: Oh, Mithos. It says something when you have a villain who commits such horrifying and terrible deeds while being given so many chances to not do them and yet you can’t help but want to give him a lot of hugs and a few thousand years of therapy. Gah. What a wonderful, terrifying, tragical little yandere baby.
And, well, you know how much I love tragic anti-villains?
I’ve got to give kudos to the English dub again, because the voice acting for him is a key reasons why you do actually feel sorry for him, I think.
Another thing that makes him work is just adorable and innocent and sad he looks. I don’t think I can ever get over that z-skit he has with Noishe when he talks about what he’s doing being wrong and being tired of life, and then ends up saying how this isn’t like him and to never mind with a lot of sweet, haunting smiles. Of course asides from that Mithos appears to be very, very good at denial. He strikes me as being incapable of turning back because doing so would mean facing up to the staggering amount of horrible thing that he’s done, and that’s why he ends up snapping completely.
I’m much less fond of Mithos in his “adult” form (though it is hilariously disco). In many ways I find it ridiculous, which of course is fitting. It’s very much a form created by a child who meant it to look intimidating and regal while not really knowing how to accomplish that. There is a lot about Mithos that is childish (such as his plan to end discrimination, ouch), I get the impression that in 4,000 years he never grew up much beyond 14. I wonder how much of what he’s done was being trapped by his own power and earlier success when he really didn’t have the maturity to handle it.
One of the hardiest thing to forgive thing about Mithos is how nasty he is to the Half Elves. Cuz, asides from Genis which I think was a special case in term of how he bonded with him and if you look besides all the “Age of the Half Elves” rhetorics he really is. He basically using the Desians, and you see how well that ended for Pronyma; and when you consider that the Pope was working for Cruxis while he was enacting all those discriminatory policies against the Half Elves…. yeah.
But I do love the way he bonded with Genis, and couldn’t help to defend him; and was unable to attack him latter on. It’s one of the thing that can’t help but break your heart. That and when you think of him as the young and idealist hero Mithos. Precious bb. Horrible, nasty, tragic precious baby.