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)
Technically speaking, "Infinite Regalia" contains a wealth of information that can be used for meta on Fire Emblem's bad endings, afterlife and resurrection meta, and stuff like this. I just can't bring myself to discuss it because it's presented in a manner that jacks the Disturb-O-Meter past FE5 levels of Fucking Disturbing.

And FE5's "Deadlords" are really, really disturbing.

The text is all here. Basically, the interaction with the Gen 1 characters is mostly funny while the interaction between the Deadlords and the Gen 2 characters is anything but, and the overall effect is more like the modern tongue-in-cheek self-aware zombie phenomenon. I don't even know where to begin applying this stuff.

Then there's the Lost Bloodlines series (the Marth vs Seliph stuff), and I don't really know where to begin with that, either. It's kind of all over the place. In some places the Einherjar show glimmers of awareness and I get the idea there's supposed to be something more to them than just puppets (Chrom and Co. also get that feeling-- it's pretty explicit). In some places they feel like one-dimensional actual cardboard figures they're purported to be (I don't like how Ethlyn's written, for a start). Some of the Einherjar feel pretty alive and, I don't know... themselves? I think the "new" characters from FE11/12 feel pretty vivid, which may be telling. They were, after all, made up out of whole cloth. Some of the Jugdrali sound more alive than others. IDK.

Good stuff and bad stuff )

Really the Einherjar are really the best weasel device in fandom. If something in the DLC bolsters your pet theory about a beloved NES/SNES character, you can point to the DLC and go "See? See? Word of God!" If you don't like their new speech quirk or personality transplant, you can wave it off with, "Eh, it's not really them-- it's an artist's rendering of the real thing."

And then, after all, this is merely canon fanfic, right? Some scriptwriting intern could've been plopped down with the 20th Anniversary Artbook and told to compile a three-to-five word description of every relevant character and then produce dialogue based on the lists. So you get a fairly bland Arthur without his moments of towering rage and this really wussy Nanna who doesn't match up to her FE4 counterpart. Not to mention an Ethlyn who apparently belongs in the kitchen. So yeah... they're artists' renderings.

mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
So, riffing off [personal profile] amielleon 's post about Lefties in Elibe, Magvel, Tellius, and Ylisse, here's what I found poking through art for FE1-5 and FE11-12...

First off, keep in mind there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of OA for the Jugdral games-- with different artists over a longish span of time covering two different games. So while we have a lot of data to go on, it's not necessarily consistent. The high number of physical/magical combo units in Jugdral also means that you have multiple poses of characters with different kinds of weapon, and the unit you take to be a potentially left-handed staff chick might be shown waving a sword in her right hand someplace else.

So, what did we find? )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Since Ammie and Raphi both provided such, here's some noodlings for Archanea/Barensia/Jugdral

Under a cut for modesty's sake. )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
My word, I've some catching up to do reading everyone's posts.

For 2011's Meta Month I did a post on the issues surrounding bodily resurrection in Fire Emblem. Today I want to address the other half of the equation-- how does the spiritual side of resurrection work? Basically, where do our heroes go when they die, and how do we get them back? For this, I'm mainly going to be looking at the good, Naga-approved resurrection as featured in Archanea, Barensia, and Jugdral, rather than the sketchy Bramimond kind or the outright unclean grotesqueries of Magvel-- though Elibean resurrection a la Bramimond is certainly relevant.

So, where does the soul, or the essential Aegir that makes a person who they are, go when someone dies in Fire Emblem? We know a bit about what various characters believe (often revealed in death quotes), but aside from Seliph's oddball encounter with his parents in Chapter 10 of FE4 we don't have a lot of direct evidence for what becomes of humans. If anything we know more about the well-nigh-indestructible souls of dragonkin, which can persist for millennia and reincarnate even when the physical body is thoroughly trashed. FE13 may tell us even more, but we ain't got there yet.
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)
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: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Yeah.  So, on this repeat episode of Thracia 776 (Chapter Two: Ith is a stupid name for a town), all my posse did what they were supposed to do.  They captured the mooks that needed to be captured, killed the boss in two turns, and generally acted like good little Fire Emblem characters.  See, I said the boss, Bucks, brought back memories of Hyman from Chapter Three of Shadow Dragon.  Bucks is even worse on paper-- he's a pre-promote with a bow and an axe.  In Chapter Two.  And since I saved all the villages, I get to Chapter 2X, which is already complete bullshit.  

It's bad enough to have shops when we have no money.  I mean, none. You get zilch to start with and have to sell your excess stuff, and since you have no money and can't buy anything, you don't know that you even have excess stuff.  The villagers don't reward you with bags of gold... but you do come in for some verbal abuse!  And here's a bloody fog-of-war map with no torches, and I already know that it's essential to capture one of the dudes I can't see instead of killing him.   Oh, and there's sand.  Thank goodness I only have one horsey-horsey to worry about instead of the usual squad of cavaliers.  But the simple existence of sand already means my most reliable mugger unit for capturing is either bogged down or has to dismount and use his secondary weapon that sucks

Thracia 776 is overflowing with BS already.  At least FE8 waited a couple more chapters to throw in fog-of-war, giant spiders, and helpless NPC units.  And FE8 provided torches on the front end.  :/

I guess it's a great depiction of what it's like to be a dirt-poor bunch of losers malcontents with more ambition than sense. 


Switching back-and-forth between FE4 and FE5 is head-spinning.  The games are so radically, radically different.  Even the color palette is different; FE4 is all bright and pretty and Thracia is kind of... grimy.  It's almost as dramatic as the difference in feel between FE6/7/8 and Shadow Dragon.  In terms of play, I think they're as different as two FE games can be outside of the Gaiden line of descent with world maps and monsters, and honestly FE8 has more core similarities to "normal" FE games than does FE4.  (FE2 truly is the odd duck because the weapons and magic are... weird.)


Speaking of FE2... we finally got DLC Cellica, and I can only say she disappoints.  Should've been a Grandmaster (Cellica was the original swords'n'tomes unit, damn you to hell MyUnit).  Shouldn't look so... bland.  Cellica's got style that even NES art can't dim.  Now she's just kinda cute.  At least she still has a nose.


Regarding DLC... Watching people insist on what we are and are not going to get as DLC units is funny and sad in the same way that watching people insist on who "deserves" to be in SSB4 is funny and sad.  Predictions are fun, guys, but we don't know anything about the decision-making process IS is using.  Nobody expected DLincia.  Nobody saw the Bride class coming.  So, to say that we WILL get Sigurd/Hector/Eliwood/Lyn and they HAVE to be this class because of reason X is just... foolish.  It would've made sense to have Grandmaster Cellica.  Didn't happen.  Would've made sense to have Ephraim allow access to an unmounted lance-using class.  Didn't happen.  The next unit unveiled could be Ninja Sothe for all we know.

And to insist you know what's next just makes you look like kind of a jerk.  Rather like the people who insisted they KNEW the true nature of Masked Marth and that anyone contradicting them was delusional.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I'd been planning this for a while too, but... life.

And death!

Presenting Mark of the Asphodel's favorite Fire Emblem death quotes!

Read more... )
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


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)
Fire Emblem: it's got incest.  I don't know about you, but I'd heard about that one long before playing a single game.

I'm not going to wonder why this is so prominently featured, to the point where FE4 was allegedly toned down prior to release yet still contains it as a plot point.  But, let's explore it a bit, and not in the kink meme way.

Humans appear to have a mechanism, or mechanisms, to avoid boinking their siblings.  Have you ever seen a romantic couple where they looked, and even maybe acted, like siblings and yet weren't?  They're pretty common.  In fact, there appears to be a phenomenon known as genetic sexual attraction where people do indeed click in every possible way with close blood relatives-- provided they've been strangers for the early part of their lives.  The Westermarck effect is thought to have developed to defuse that attraction; basically, if kids are raised together, they end up not being interested in one another in that way.  Even if they're not blood relations.  There's a critical period for this reverse imprinting, though-- the kids need to get desensitized to one another before the age of six or seven.  

This is analysis of the topic and not a celebration thereof. )
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)
 Yay, another four-day weekend.  I've never gotten New Year's Eve off as a holiday before, not as a working adult, anyway.

And the fact that I helped get this holiday for the division makes it especially sweet.

I want to get out of town this weekend.  Not sure to where... just get.


Anyway, Day Two: Favorite Pairing.

If we're going to discount crack and stuff whose appeal for me rests entirely on great reams of speculation...

Alm/Cellica is a couple I don't have a single misgiving about, and my affection for them has nothing to do with the potential for it becoming a train wreck.  They have a solid childhood friendship for their first ten years, the bond between them is still incredibly strong when they meet up six years later, and they feel like they're on such an equal footing.  Yeah, its embedded in the game mechanics, but the quest literally cannot be accomplished without each of them taking action and doing things.  

A little spoiler for Chapter Four )

And neither of them comes through the war a mess, and they live happily ever after and found their thousand-year dynasty and all that.  


Jugdral, Magvel, Tellius, Archanea... )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 So, back to the meme.

#5: Favorite Villain: If we're going with the penultimate Big Bad, the human sort, I have to say Rudolf.  If we're going with the final, not-human, Big Bad, it's harder to say... Medeus (humans have it coming), Idoun (not what was expected) and Ashera (whoa) have their interesting points.  Fomortiis and the Fire Dragon, not so much.  At all.  And if we're just going with a villain, any villain... I do have that soft spot for Caellach.


So, Harry Potter.  Since people on the f-list are getting interested, I will present the following recs.  These are not necessarily the "best" stories out there, as I have only read a fraction of what is available and my tastes are idiosyncratic, but these stuck with me.

"The Shipping Forecast"-- nothing to do with 'shipping!  A glimpse of Snape as a lad looking to better himself.  I really like this author's take on Snape, which was firmly in the "he's lower-class and possibly Yorkshire" camp well, well before HP7.  This writer also wrote some interesting HG/SS and the only HP/SS I've ever liked, but she yanked her stuff off the 'net when she decided to go pro.  Sad times.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel"-- A Percy Weasley redemption story that made me silly-delerious happy upon reading it.  I mean, really, this sort of "behind the scenes fix-it" tale is precisely what fanfiction is about.

"Dark Gods In The Blood"-- My favorite of the SS/HG post-Voldemort epics.  Sucks to be Harry, but oh well.

"Somewhere I Have Never Travelled"-- Another post-Voldy SS/HG epic, with time travel and stuff.  There are parts I loved and parts, like the whole psychoanalysis bit with the healer from Newfoundland, that just tick me off.  (Also contains some bonus HP/HG, which is Fine.  By.  Me.)

"The Prefect's Portrait" by Arsinoe de Blassenville.  Marvelously entertaining, ingenious, Slytherin apologist BS.  There's an illustrated version out there that's quite lovely.  Ms. de Blassenville has a few other equally marvelous and ingenious works of BS out there that are worth a read if you can stand the deconstructionist stance, I mean canon warping

A word on the SS/HG-- it was really kind of a subgenre unto itself, a very literary subgenre whose writers seemed, at the time I was following it, to be mostly adult women.  It's a crack/AU pairing in its very inception, but the good writers recognized this and tried to run with it anyway.  Hermione is, IMO, usually an author stand-in, or some kind of... I dunno, Jane Eyre stand-in subbing for the author.  And Snape is a smoldering wounded romantic hero in need of a right fixing up.  It gets old after a while, but after plowing through highly-touted and bloody ridiculous Harry/Draco stories, not to mention the complete works of Cassie Claire, the SS/HG was a nice change of pace.

There was also a SS/HG one with Hermione as a ghost (death by potions class accident) that was really sweet and moving even if it went kind of fluffy at the end, but the title eludes me and I never did bookmark it.  Oh well.  I was following some interesting Lupin/Tonks stories, too, but after the way they ended up in canon I lost the taste for it.

I also don't actively seek out HP/HG stories, but I do welcome recs on their behalf.  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
 Most of the questions on this meme hold scant interest to me, or at least I have no opinion on the matter.  This was a kind of cool question, though.

"What Country Would You Live In?"

I was going to say "Sofia" because life is there is totally sweet as long as Mila's running it, but Mila went bye-bye and now I guess everyone has to actually work for a living and till the soil for food and stuff.  So that's out.  Oh, and the king was a dick, but he's dead anyway.  And I'm not 100% sure all the zombies went away.

So, with that in mind...

Frelia.  It appears to be stable and prosperous, with a secure and capable king and a competent crown prince.  The Frelian outlook on life seems pretty sensible, the food there is apparently good, gender dynamics don't appear to suck as much as they do in some other Fire Emblem countries.  It's not a theocracy.  It's not ravaged by earthquakes.  It's not governed by Joshua.  I'm not 100% sure the zombies went away here, either, but all things considered?  Oh, and they have flying horsies.   

Khadein would be really interesting, too, but it's in a desert and I can't take the heat.

Places I don't want to live: Grado.  Duh.  Post-war Jehanna (hell, pre-war Jehanna doesn't seem nice, either).  Rausten.  Anywhere in Archanea with the possible exception of Talys.  Gallia (though the feeling would be mutual).  
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
Yeah, so in their continuing attempts to fill the contrarian slot that used to be Salon's territory, Slate has introduced a column called, and I kid you not, "You're Doing It Wrong."  The recipes are pretty appealing, though; I used the stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving and made the Butternut Squash soup tonight.  Both, I might add, with alterations.  Keep those Pepperidge Farm croutons OUT of my cornbread stuffing, kthx.  The soup would've benefited from the addition of a fennel bulb.  I have yet to attempt the fruitcake.


So, the Sleeping Beauty Project is off and running.

Details )


Oh, yes.  Chapter Four of the girl!Marth story is up.  

Marth is so overshadowed by his pair of canonical tacticians that it's easy to forget that, at least in the Nyna chapters of FE11, he's shown to be pretty much conducting things by himself.  It makes it all the more mind-boggling that MyUnit has to spell out battle plans for him in crayon come FE12. 

Also, puberty sucks, but y'all knew that already.


mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)

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