mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Just to get these thoughts down in one place...

I don't know about y'all but I found little things about the way female characters were handled to be a very off-putting thing in FE13. I didn't like a lot of the Big Things in FE13 either but small disparities really got under my skin. At this point, the high-water mark for the franchise treatment of female characters looks to be Tellius, but it's worth examining the baby steps-- both forward and backward-- it took to get to that level, or even to FE6's level of female empowerment.

Spoilers for FE1-FE10 )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
During my senior year of university, a whopping eleven years ago, I borrowed The Street Where I Live from my grandmother.  It's an autobiographical work by Alan Lay Lerner that covers the writing and staging of My Fair Lady, Gigi, and Camelot. (I'm not really into musicals but I was interested in the look at the creative process and drama thereof.)  Lerner observed that up until the musical became retroactively associated with the Kennedy presidency, the cohesive first half of Camelot was considered the strong act, and the more chaotic second half deemed dramatically weaker.  After JFK, the comic first half was the "weak" arc, the tragic second half the "strong" one.  Context matters.

There is a thread on Serenes Forest about what makes for a good story in a video game but it is filled with bullshit and not worth the read.  

Anyway, I'm interested specifically about what makes the second half of FE4 fall flat in a dramatic sense.  The falling action of FE2 is good-- and the twist of the penultimate Big Bad is fantastic.  The "second act" of FE3-- Book II in general-- is very good, IMO one of the better storylines in Fire Emblem.  But the Celice part of the Jugdral saga appears IMO to be the "weak half" of a game that is often lauded for its story.  

So what's up with that, then? )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

Before I delve into Tellius for this series of posts on love 'n' stuff, let's talk about what makes canon gay, well, canon. In a series like Fire Emblem wherein a lot of canon het is left ambiguous and declarations of eternal togetherness rarely surface in the form of "I love you," how do we recognize same-sex relationships when we see them?

Defining my terms in TL;DR style! )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
FE13, aka Fire Emblem Kakusei, has provoked some strong opinions regarding its marriage system, breeding system, and treatment of female characters.  This in turn has provoked much comment, some of it spectacularly ill-informed.  This is not intended as an antidote to people who think only "yaoi fangirls" consider Ike/Soren canon or who respond to complaints about Micaiah's redesign with accusations of "slut-shaming."  If you're gonna be like that, my words aren't going to reach you.  Rather, this is intended as a means of combating the flat-out misinformation coming from fans who apparently don't get that the series existed prior to the GBA era, and who make generalizations about "this is how romance works in Fire Emblem" accordingly.

For the benefit of the historical record... )

But FE5 was the last game that Shozou Kaga had a hand in, the end of an era.  When Fire Emblem resurfaced on the GBA, things were different.  But not as different as you think.

PS: Yes, I did make the claim that there is FE canon gay that predates Raven and Lucius.  It ain't pretty boys, either, but it's there. 

PPS: Feel free to link and distribute For Educational Purposes.  :P
mark_asphodel: (Dead Heero)
I apparently have writers' block, so here's some fanart.  That way I can close the tabs on this browser.  It's all SFW.

That's Princess Badass to you.

Awesome crossover mage buddy action. <3

Altenna with her daddy.  No, not Cuan.

I guess that duel got a little intense.  What's with the red eyes?

I thought this was the picture of Finn in the Yied that helped inspire "Grains of Light," but upon reflection and checking the dates, it's not.  Guess that one is lost to time.  Fitting.

Maybe we'll see more interest in Alm and Cellica now?

Oh, look, it's a Beowulf/Lachesis picture for once.  Doesn't really say Beo to me, though.  I don't think he'd go wide-eyed like that from getting kissed by a princess.   

That's a bit more like it.  Dude knows what he's doing.

You want the wide-eyed blushy-blushy reaction, go here.

At first I thought this was a strange pic of Leaf and Janne.  Then I realized it was Rody and Cecil.  <3 <3 <3

-x-

I'd explain why relative levels of technology can't actually "date" FE games in some kind of unified chronology, but why bother?  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
In my SRS BZNS Valencia fanfic, I characterized Valencia as the New World, a place of maize, sweet potatoes, beans, and alpacas, as opposed to Archanea's Old World with its wheat/rice/nuts&chickpeas diet (and no alpacas).

Looky here.

If that's what everyone thinks it is, I'm having a good laugh down here on the floor.  The resemblance wasn't as obvious with the actual FE2-era maps of Valencia.

Logical flaw here, though.  It took Marth & Friends a solid year to fight the War of Heroes.  The Civil War of Valencia all took place in the year 606, and the Peg Sisters had time to go there, fight in it, and get back in time for Est to marry Abel and help MyUnit train recruits in the FE12 Prologue.  Which also takes place in 606.  I'd followed Hitomi's line of speculation that Valencia therefore had to be tiny, about the size of the isle of Dolhr/Macedon.  If these continents are the same size, well... not really buying the logistics here.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, now that we have Holy King Emelina (no, really) and her brother Krom both sporting markings that resemble the decorative headgear used by Tiki and Nagi, it appears the Holy Blood concept from FE4/5 is back in business.  (Tellius fans-- it's kind of like the Branded, except instead of being hated, you're the most specialest people alive.)  That's the assumption, anyway-- Krom is gonna be one of the warriors "marked by the dragons," and that thing on his arm is the mark.

Time for a trip down memory lane...

Contradictions and weirdness )

So, what does this say about Krom and Emelina?  Maybe nothing.  But if FE13 is indeed taking place on the same planet as FE1/2/3/4/5, and evidence is mounting that this is the case, then perhaps the implementation of this "dragon mark" will echo earlier games.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Archanea gets slagged off a lot for not having "good" or "well-developed" characters.  Er... I'll grant you there are a lot, and I do mean a lot, of characters who didn't have much dialogue save a death quote up until FE12.  And I remain skeptical of the brand of development presented in FE12.

But, as a counter-example, may I present Character #3: Palla.

I dare you to say she's a lousy character. Triple-dog dare you. )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I'm so glad I waited to write this one.

I was having second thoughts, you see.  Spending a great deal of time comparing the merits of "favorites" and the reasons why they rank can lead to second-guessing.  I was starting to wonder if poor Leaf really belonged "below the cut," down at #12, and if I shouldn't rearrange a few other things while I was at it.  But then, something happened yesterday that affirmed that yeah, I really do adore this character.

#4: Marth

Fire Emblem's Pikachu. And then some. )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
You should be grateful to this guy.

Characters as diverse as Innes, Shinon, Joshua, and Levin all can trace their lineage back to him.  He's both the original Snarky Sniper and the original Wandering Noble, at least as far as FE goes.

I refer, of course, to #5: Jeorge.

I love this guy. )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Posted on Serenes Forest here.  It's a combination of the chart given in FE12, plus at least one image from the FE3 artbook and some info from the designers' notes.  I think the nation's flags were taken from the card game.  Note that Altea's colors are green and white, while Talys has the blue flag with the yellow cross.  The flag of Khadein is lovely, too.

Oh, yeah.  And apparently the whole thing about the royal family of Altea and Gra sharing a common ancestry was a mistranslation.  Whups.  I love being jossed by new revelations about twenty-year-old canon.  Yeah, apparently Gra just didn't care for Marcelus and they decided to form their own country.  Which was pretty convenient, given it was two separate islands.  So Marth and Sheema aren't cousins, and he has no claim whatsoever to Gra besides that Sheema wants him to have it.  How cheap.

Monshou no Nazo: How to take over an entire continent without really trying.

I have some stories to massively retcon, not to mention a metric tonne of headcanon to adjust. @_@

I'm glad I dragged my feet on "Honesty" now, 'cause that whole familial connection was a plot point.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
#14:  Best Designed Character/Artwork

Design.  Interesting topic.  Of course, we have to suspend disbelief on the front end to accept FE designs; spikes on armor and long swirls of clothing and hair all invite immediate speculation on how they might harm the wearer in actual combat.   

Read more... )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 OK.  Let's just get this one over with.

#5: Favorite Lord

Hector, of course.

...

Oh, sorry, that wasn't even funny.   I mean, nothing against Hector, but he's totally not the one and anyone reading this already knows it.  So let's just get the explanation over and done with.

Adaptation decay and the violation of expectations )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
In the unused content for FE1, there is an item called the Time Orb.  We don't know what it would've done in gameplay (as it is, it does nothing), but we can figure that it manipulated time in some way-- moving it back, perhaps, or freezing it, perhaps freezing the enemy a turn.  But that doesn't matter so much as what we might imagine became of that orb.

Speculation of the cracky variety )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
In some Fire Emblem worlds, permadeath really is, well, permanent.  Trying to bring back the dead has ghastly consquences in Magvel.  Ninian's resurrection in Elibe is both exceptional and more than a little... sketchy. 

Not so in Archanea.  Though the Aum staff is long-lost and legendary by the time of the War of Darkness (FE1/11), the fact that the thing is housed in a temple known as the Resurrectory suggests that, at some point, it was both well-known and functional.  (Worth noting here that, IIRC, the staff could only be used in said temple in FE1.  Not the case in FE11).

So, how does it function?  No, really.  Because bodily resurrection of the dead is one of those metaphysical conundrums that distresses, say, professional theologians.  How's that work?  If we accept that the half-explanation Claude gives for the Valkyrie Staff in FE4 applies to the Aum (damn you, Tiltyu!), then everyone is born with a life force/essence, and this is the key to resurrection.  As the life force thing is a staple of FE games, it seems fair to assume this holds true for Archanea as well as Jugdral.

So, what do we know?

Devil's in the details... )

2) The life essence of both earth dragons and divine dragons is so strong that they're extremely hard to kill in the "permanent" sense (Canon-- Medeus, Nagi, and Tiki if you don't recruit her in FE11 all are evidence here).

3) So, resurrecting a human being would seem to be a small-scale, deliberate equivalent of what dragons seem to do naturally-- rejoining the "essence" of the individual to the corporeal body... or a corporeal body, anyway.  (Assumption)

4) Even for dragons, this isn't easy... after a dirt nap lasting about a century, Medeus isn't really himself and would seem to need a "boost" from the Aum staff to have the full powers of his physical body back (Canon from FE11).  After being dead AGAIN for a couple of years, he would need the life forces of four (4) priestesses to get back into form (Canon, FE3)... and the ritual in that case would make him a Dark Dragon instead of his normal Earth Dragon self.  (So here we have a case of a bad, icky, things-go-wrong resurrection, even in Archanea).

But again, what about people?

First off, "life essence" and souls.  From what we can piece together, it appears Archanea has a heaven (death quotes for Linde and Lena, FE11) and a hell (death quote from Gharnef, FE11).  The belief seems to be that people remain "themselves"-- the individual souls retain the sense of the self, and don't merge into some kind of hive or get recycled.  (So, no, Marth is not a reincarnation of Anri.)  Soul-merging or recycling would make this resurrection dealie very, very strange. 

Elice tells Marth in FE11 that the Aum can be used to resurrect a "fallen comrade."  What could we infer from this?  Here are a few possibilities:

A) Just as healing magic doesn't seem to work on illnesses, resurrection magic doesn't work on deaths from natural causes.  Perhaps the "life essence" of someone who dies a natural death is depleted through illness/infirmity.  Then again, what about someone who dies from an accident-- a child who falls out of a tree, a fisherman who drowns?

B) There's some kind of "justice" principle at work-- people who die in a holy cause in which they are actively participating rate better than people who just get crushed by falling masonry or killed for lulz.  (Justice?  Bleh.)

C) Life essence depletes after death, so someone killed three or four years ago (like Marth's father) can't be resurrected, but someone killed three or four months ago can be.  (I used to think the inability to resurrect the "canon sacrifice" from FE11 was a evidence for this, but in light of FE12, it's not.)

D) Some people are just more special than others.  People Marth happens to like are especially special, I guess.
So... if he'd really wanted to, could he have asked for Elice to bring back their mother?  Liza, after all, while apparently a non-combatant, died a very unnatural death at the hands of the bad guys, and presumably being the mother of the Chosen One would give her a spiritual edge over random nobodies.  I realize you can't do that for game mechanic reasons, but still-- would it have been possible?  Also, would it have been possible for Marth to pull a Lyon and bring Cornelius back so that Dad could deal with that dragon problem?  What would have happened if they'd tried it?

OK.  So those are just some of the questions affecting the spiritual side of resurrection.  Now, what about the body? 
Well, what becomes of bodies in Archanea?  Per FE2, the custom among some of the people, under some circumstances, is to wrap the dead in a sheet, toss them in the ocean, and let the current bear them away.  So, unless you're lucky enough to get washed up on a foreign shore and revived by a hot priestess, you're fish food.  I doubt that's the custom on the mainland, though.  Cremation, earth burial, mummification, something else entirely... we don't know.  If the legend of resurrection was passed down in some form via religion, people might take care to keep bodies intact, disposing of them in the earth or the water without any mutilation or evisceration.  And, in some cases, without even a decent post-mortem examination.

Wartime dead might not be that fortunate, though.  Shot, stabbed, cleaved in two, decapitated, fried, frozen, incinerated, devoured by swarms of insects, crushed by projectiles, flattened in fall from a pegasus, mauled and/or eaten by a manakete... there's a lot of ways to die that would leave the body in terrible shape, even if a resurrection could be performed immediately after the battle.  To say nothing of resurrecting someone who's been worm food or fish food since, say, Galder Harbor.  Yet, this is entirely possible, which raises a new question.  A really... interesting one.
Is the body the same physical form the soul once inhabited?  Does the Aum spell create a new, intact, uncorrupted body for the life essence to be joined with?  In other words... are we treading into morph territory?

Resurrection in Magvel (a Bad Thing) definitely involves reanimating the original body of the deceased, which leads to things like zombie!Monica.  In this case, the soul of the deceased may not even be present-- their mind/personality certainly is not.  Then again, if the zombie brain is basically mush, how would the mind make its presence known?  Yech.   

But we honestly can't tell from what's given us in Archanea if the resurrection involves reanimation of the deceased or the materialization of a healthy new body.  If the former, how does the healing mechanic work?  If the latter, when Elice does her thing in the middle of battle, do we end up with two bodies-- the still-warm dead one, and the new living one?  Does the new body age at the same rate?  Is it fully-functional (not sterile)?


This whole thing raises so many questions that it might be a good thing that the Aum is not standard-issue FE equipment.  The holiest magic looks awfully unholy if you think too long over it.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, Akaneia Chronicle is mine, thanks to facilitation from [livejournal.com profile] sailorvfan10 .

The presentation is grander than that of the 20th anniversary artbook; that one is softcover, while the Chronicle is hardcover with a glossy dust jacket. The front cover shows Falchion and the Shield of Seals, while the back cover just shows Falchion. No fangirl bait on the dust jacket, no sir-- this is a classy affair.

The Chronicle consists of six sections-- World Historica (Archanea in depth), Character Collection (portraits and text regarding all playable characters except the Satellaview-exclusive ones, plus major villains like Lang), Scenario Archive (appears to be a detailed account of each of the Marth games, chapter-by-chapter), All About Akaneia (seems to be an illustrated glossary), Tribute Emblem (the other games, in brief) and Premium Artworks (legit fanart, apparently).

Details, details... )

Now, I just need a translation...
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 As [livejournal.com profile] penandpaper71  inspired me to go diving through Pixiv, I decided it was time for a reminder that, while fanfic Archanea is a miserable place, fanART Archanea is the land of images like this.  Because Hardin and the Wolfsguard are all about fun, games, and vegetables.

Remember how [livejournal.com profile] hooves  traumatized us all with awful bucktooth Abel from FE1?

Here's a far nicer image of Palla/Abel/Est, with bonus Catria.  This is the pic that makes me think of Ranma1/2, with Catria as a bored Nabiki.

Cain seems irked by Abel's popularity.  Wish I knew what was going on in the dialogue.

Meanwhile, Roger just can't win.

Creepy Castor, Perky Norne...

I'm guessing Feena gave everyone makeovers

I so want to see a translation of this one.  "My Wife Is My Life"?

The Adventures of Matthis.  Looks like a good/bad idea for a spinoff series.

That's it for now.  Maybe daily doses of fanart spam will lighten the mood a little.  Except I sort of twitch every time I see characters like Katarina and Kleine, so maybe not.

Emblem Saga

Mar. 3rd, 2011 05:21 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
It's all one world, guys.

Rather, Tear Ring Saga is beyond a doubt on the same planet as Archanea, Valencia, and Judgral.  And the common link?  Manaketes!  For real.

Tellius is so not on this planet no way no how.

[livejournal.com profile] shimizu_hitomi  theorized as much during her TRS playthrough, but here we have proof.  Says The Man Himself:

Kaga: I've made five games, which took place on three continents. Emblem Saga takes place on a fourth continent called "Forceria" and its atmosphere is the same.

[Note: name was changed in final game.  Also "manakete" became "emiyu" for publication.]

Kaga: A certain shape-shifting youth will have an important role, in the guise of a mysterious bard and sage. Since this game occurs in the same time period as the first game, Dark Dragon and Sword of Light, more characters may return if the need arises.

In other words, TRS takes place simultaneously with FE1/2/3, and Xane was intended as a crossover character.  So now we really know where those characters who "disappear" at the end of FE2 and FE3 were supposed to end up.

My mind isn't blown, exactly, but it's rather bubbly ATM.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
After a weird winter, spring and summer, the vagaries of weather are falling in sync with the calendar this autumn.  The first true autumnal chill blew in right on September 1st, and come November 1st I found the first sheen of frost on my car.  I guess we can schedule that first true snow for December 1st, right?

Serenes Forest has some FE12 art now, and some honest-to-Pete FE1 art, at last.

Spoilers? Whatever. )

 Haven't touched 'fic in many days.  Too much garbage going on.

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