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)
So, back in the heady days of 2009, I started writing something called "Steadfast Companion."  It rose out of Abel's character ending in FE11: "He was to be married; but in the end his fellow knights were his most steadfast companions."

Given what I knew of Abel, and because FE12 hadn't been announced yet, I thought FE11 might be some weird standalone reboot in which Abel backed out of marrying Est or something, and the story in question (let's call it SC#1) was about that.  It was just a little ambiguous one-shot about Abel, Cain, and Est.  Anyway, it never got finished or published because I got caught up in more ambitious ideas.

Discussion of the Hardest 'Fic Ever )
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
We all have our "types."  Some people like peppy mages, some like dark mages, some like "noble" paladins, some like thieves, some like swordmastery-myrmidon types even though any continuum with Navarre at one end and Mia at the other makes no sense.

And one thing I am absolutely a sucker for, apparently, is a particular kind of FE squishy boy.

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.

Maybe.
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)
I am seriously bummed out today. See, my most excellent spouse and I have some mutual friends we've known for about fifteen years. We all met on the same Usenet group in the late 90s and they, like us, became an item after a few years and have been together now for more than a decade. We've stopped by their apartment in the next state over, petted their cats, gone out to dinner, and maintained an online relationship through the years. They mean more to us than 99% of our friends from the brick-and-mortar universities we attended in those halcyon Usenet days.

Now they've broken up, for good, with the root cause being mental illness that's basically crippled one of the pair. It's terrible and sad and, given the length of time things have been crumbling, inevitable. Some people can't be fixed, or the fix is something that costs them the life they used to have. But it's just depressing as hell.

So, I will resurrect a post I started on last year, after feeling another overdose of fannish sentiment that Fire Emblem is aaaaaall about making happy love relationships. Whatever you think of FE13, that sure wasn't always the case. Here's some relationships that weren't built to last, and I don't mean relationships that were doomed from the start because of trickery or some other coercion (Hardin/Nyna, Arvis/Deirdre), or something like Lewyn/Fury wherein the supernatural is clearly at play. I mean relationships that people fuck up themselves on their own time, because of who and what they are. Fifty percent of this is old news to y'all because the germ of this post is so old, but two of these topics are things I've never harped on before that are at least worth a look.

Relationshippy spoilers for Archeanea, Jugdral, Elibe, and Tellius )
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)
Okey-dokey.

I think I managed to find a bunch of the in-chapter DLC dialogue for FE13-- conversations between Chrom's posse and a slew of Jugdral and Akaneia characters.  I'm guessing this comes from the Marth vs Celice chapter(s).

If any of this is any good at all, please let me know, because the Bablefish Google translations I skimmed over were pretty effin' dull and honestly the dialogue choices seemed pretty random in most cases.  The Jugdral characters mostly seem like cartoon versions of themselves, and the more lengthy dialogue with the Archanea characters didn't appear especially insightful.  Virion mocks Norne for her lack of elegance with the bow or whatever.  There might be something here dealing with the actual crossover mechanics, though.

On Rody

Nov. 23rd, 2012 08:07 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
OK.  Eight chapters into FE12 (that's eight real chapters + eight Prologue chapters + two sidequest chapters), I have one major takeaway other than argh this is a good game why wasn't it released here?!?

I love Rody.  But I apparently was writing him wrong.

Not that there was much to go on... )

Confession

Nov. 14th, 2012 08:37 pm
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
I still think the FE3, Book II "War of Heroes" storyline is the best story that Fire Emblem's ever done.  FE8 has the better cast, IMO, and FE4 had a more devastating singular twist, but FE8 owes a LOT to FE3 in terms of plot and FE4's falling action... leaves something to be desired.

No amount of FE4/5 geeking or exposure to later games has really dulled my affection for FE3.  And I can't wait to try the FE12 translation.  :)

-x-

Mini-confession: I always did suspect in a gut-feeling kind of way that Celice and Leaf ultimately had a cataclysmic falling-out and that Celice had a pretty unhappy time of things at the end, but after looking over the oddities of FE4 it's completely entrenched in my headcanon.  It just feels that they were laying the groundwork for a place that canon never actually went because of time/money/whatever.
mark_asphodel: Sage King Leaf (Default)
10) A "serious" Smash Bros story that's like, in-character and canon-compliant and explains things, man.

9) Boy, Minerva and the Whitewings do make some pretty hot Sailor Senshi.  

8) Reincarnation fic.  As in, characters with a suspicious resemblance to characters from other FE games really ARE just that, in some fashion.

7) That plotbunny featuring MyUnit!Chris as Ranma and Palla, Catria, and Est as the Tendo sisters.

6) Lingering illnesses in 'fic-- too much "consumption," not enough venereal disease.

5) Accident at the cloning lab.  Starring Anna.

4) A Western inspired by the Dylan song "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts."  Camus was the Jack of Hearts.

3) The drunk!fic to end all drunk!fics.

2) Evil Overlord Ephraim.  With sparkles.

1) Eva Peron!Serra brings down Ostia.

[No, really.  All of these reached the planning stage and some of them got to a second draft.]
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: 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

-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: (Dead Heero)
So, I've been scrounging around in the FE department of pixiv, looking for something to satiate my Jugdral fix.  It's amazing how we learn to recognize characters (favorite and otherwise) based on cues-- color schemes, hair styles, design elements, proportions.  Take this mini-celebration of red and green cavs that Sriya and Raphi reblogged on tumblr-- fans know who's who and who's what.  To non-fans, it might look like four variations on the same two characters.  Raphi and I also had a conversation recently regarding a mis-labled picture of the Senior Jugdral Lord Trio (Sigurd, Cuan, Eltoshan) which was identified as the Junior Lord Trio (Celice, Leaf, Aless).  Believe me, I can see how people make the mistake (especially with Elto and Aless).  There are simple things like "Cuan wears black, Celice has a headband," and there are these other nuances of what defines a character that we as fans internalize and learn to apply across all kinds of different styles and media.   

It allows a Marth fan to recognize Marth when he's sporting Ephraim-teal hair, while an Ephraim fan still zeroes in on Ephraim! when a non-fan wouldn't know him from Geoffrey.  It allows someone looking for pictures of Tate with a a certain red-haired cavalier to glance past pictures of, say, Catria with that other red-haired cavalier.  It enables someone to tell Lugh from Lleu from twenty paces away-- even if they're identically dressed in that picture.  And good fanart, IMO, somehow captures that essence of a character, communicating the crucial personality difference between Lleu and Lugh, even in low-res and at thumbnail size. Recognizing fanart relies on "anchor" points in the way that fanfic does, IMO.  The personality traits of the "adorkable" mage or the brooding turncoat wyvern rider come through somehow... or perhaps get delightfully subverted in ways difficult to express in text.  Either way, we know "our" favorite characters when we see them. 

And I don't just mean in flattering situations.  We "know" them in the skeevy pix and the wtf pix, the ones of Hardin and his men celebrating Halloween, or of Dr. Celice getting naughty with Nurse Yuria.  That's why they work-- we might have to think for a couple of seconds about what the hell the picture is about, and what the artist was smoking, but we know exactly who that is in the cow costume.

And when fanart doesn't work for me, it's not always a question of aesthetics, exactly.  I just don't think that some fanart shows anything close to the character I like-- you know, the reason I'm hunting fanart.  I could point out lots of "eh, no" artwork depicting Marth, but I'll illustrate my point with something less obvious.

See this.  A pretty youth, messy hair somewhere between lilac and blue, details of outfit vague.  Which Fire Emblem cutie is it?  

Any takers?

Well, it's Finn, but I wouldn't have known it for certain without cross-checking the name.  I mean, it's not a displeasing picture by any means, but if there's only the vaguest suggestion that it's Finn and not some kid from some random anime series or whatever... well, it doesn't work for me as fanart.

But this pic is by CrossEMPIRE, whose stuff I don't care for in general.  Most of it is sketchy, messy, sloppy, with arbitrary choices about recoloring characters' eyes and such.  There's a lot, and I mean a LOT, of art on CrossEMPIRE's old site, but only a fraction of it works for me.  
 
Take this one.  (Not graphic, but fairly suggestive and arguably not the best thing to be viewing at work or at Grandma's house!).

Adult male with a young woman over one shoulder.  The impression I get from this image is that the girl is being hauled away for a spanking.  Something like that.  The guy this time is at least recognizable as Finn, but the chick over his arm is... I dunno, Lily Evans Potter maybe.  Oh, wait, that's supposed to be Altenna with green eyes?  Why green eyes?  Where's her headband?  Where's her attitude?  Seriously, what?

Artistic license is one thing.  I prefer dark-eyed Camus to blue-eyed Camus, but it doesn't make the dark-eyed version "better" or more canon.  But if I can't tell who I'm looking at, much less what I'm looking at, without some detective work, something just seems a bit off.  And I pretty much feel that way about all CrossEMPIRE's work, from the Michalis/Minerva pix through all the FE4 stuff through the Elibe artwork.  I don't feel that I'm really looking at Hector chillin' with Eliwood.  It's a red-haired dude and a blue-haired dude, and... eh.

Back to pixiv for lulz, I guess.      
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. )

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