Final Fantasy VIII
Director : Yoshinori Kitase
Publisher : Square
I played the game around 10 years ago and I barely remember the story, except how cool Squall’s Limit Break and how intense when fight Omega Weapon by relying on Limit Break to damage and fast strategic move to not getting killed by his Terra Break.
Anyway, the main plot started from the ‘eeevviilll’ sorceress called Ultimecia, the sorceres from future who travel back to past to changed her fate that she will be killed by Legendary SeeD, kinda like Terminator Story. The different is, Ultimecia can’t take her body back to the past, only her consciusness, so she need another person body in the past time. The ‘person’ that selected is Edea.
Edea, who realize that she can’t fight back Ultimecia mind control, decide to made special organization with his husband, Cid, called SeeD, to kill her, in attempt to stop Ultimecia. In that time, Edea nurturing orphan child who will be the main character of the game, which is Squall, Zell, Irvine, Quistis, Selphie, and Seifer. They later on become SeeD in Balamb Garden, special forces that lead by Cid as Headmaster.
The main character grown and become a fully pledged SeeD under Cid supervision. Why they didn’t remember Edea when Edea reveal in international Television that she is a ‘Peace Representative’ by the president? Because they use Guardian Force, basically a summoning monster, that made them had past memory loss. Seifer, however, took diferent path to becoming ‘Knight of the Sorceress’ so he rebel from Balamb Garden.
There’s some ‘mercenaries stuff’ in the beginning that Squall and his friends rolling at untill their mission becoming to kill the evil Sorceress in the present time, Edea who get possessed by Ultimecia to be precise. Rinoa, the main heroine, is the key character that take them to this primary mission. They failed in their first attempt, which made them jailed by Sorceress Troops, Galbadia to be exact, and start ‘SeeD hunting’ to kill the potential SeeD who will kill Ultimecia in future. The secondary mission of the sorceress is find Elone, the girl who can, somehow, manipulated man’s mind to past event.
Elone is step-sister of Squall, which unfortunately forgotten by Squall because ‘GF thingy’s’. In about the game, she made Squall and some of his friends magically sleep to see Laguna past. Laguna past basically telling about some background story of many places that you will visit later in present times, backstory about Rinoa and Squall parent’s (I strongly feel that Laguna is Squall Father even the game didn’t mention it explicitly), and lastly the story about how he trapped Adel, ‘some’ old Sorceress in the past, to moon with her monster. The final journey of Laguna is he, suprisingly, become a President of Esthar.
Elone as a key person who tell about the memory that Squall and his friend forgotten made them strongly believe that their destined mission to kill Ultimecia by defeating Edea must be done. Rinoa also decide to help them to fulfill the mission. Their second attempt is succeed. But right before Edea defeated, Ultimecia consciusness move to Rinoa, made her comatose for awhile.
Long story short, Rinoa awakened in possessed state by Ultimecia, then go to the moon to freed Adel and the monster. Ultimecia succeed ‘move’ to Adel and Rinoa left out to the space. But Squall come to save her and get back to earth by using cool loking ship called Ragnarok. They later on, finally, meet Laguna. From there, everything confusing about space-time-travelling somehow explained. Laguna also set a strategy to defeat Ultimecia in future. How? By defeating Adel, and made Elone ‘calibrate that frequency-thingy’ so Squall and his friends can travel to future, in Ultimecia castle in exact, to defeat the evil sorceress once for all.
After Ultimecia defeated, Squall and his friends must go back to their present time, which force them to ‘sail’ the river of time and space. They made a promise in spesific time and space so they didn’t get lost in that ‘river’. Everyone managed to get back, except Squall. Thankfully, Rinoa saved him and back together to present time. Ultimecia dead and everyone happily ever after. Yeayy…..
That being said, I’m not a big fan of time travelling, fatalism and amnesia as plot device. I feel it made the story full of unecessary complicated event and multiple universe that potentially may convoluted. Here’s some thing that bothering me about the story :
Ultimecia primary objective is to kill the ‘Legendary SeeD’ who will defeat her in future, which obviusly is Squall. Why she didn’t realize it’s him when she possessing Edea? Why she bother to jail Squall, not execute him, after she succeed defeat him? She instead wasting her time to find Elone, which I know she had their own reason, and massacre the other SeeD. If there’s reason, I think it’s because she using GF too so she forgot her killer but then again, it would be stupid if she come back to past and forget what to do.
I understand that ‘mercenary thingy’s’ is somehow an introduction of Squall to his friend and Rinoa, but I feel that part is meaningless. Squall, Rinoa, Zell, Quistis, and Selphie presented very bland in this introduction story, except Seifer. Thankfully it’s starting get interesting when their mission is to kill Edea. Back to the SeeD, if SeeD is made for kill the sorceress, why bother to do the mercenary? Is Adel, the Sorceress in past, had a big threat to mostly the world because her power and monster that she summoned? Why Cid must hide the true SeeD purpose? I know Cid is somehow lack of fund so he should do that mercenaries, but it is dumb if the world safety is at stake. Why Cid didn’t ask help to another kingdom for his noble purpose? I bet world will help him if his purpose to defeat the most dangerous threat in that universe.
The definiton of ‘Sorceress’ is kinda vague. I don’t know where to start, but Rinoa is sorceress neither because her heir or Ultimecia possessing. There’s lack of explanation. Even Ultimecia and Adel is not explored. It’s unfortunate because if the sorceress is defined clearly plus Ultimecia and Adel backstory explained, they will be an awesome main villain. Their main reason to ‘conquer the world and time’ is told simply because mostly human hate sorceress without any exploration.
There’s scene where Edea (possessed by Ultimecia) killed the president in front of public speeching and then the people still ‘watching’ her as it is normal event, which make my mind kinda frozen for a moment. It made lack of tension because the people in the world presented like they didn’t care about the sorceress, except SeeD and other Garden. I know Galbadia, the garden that conquered by Sorceress, sometimes go to other the city to spread the terror, but it’s somehow didn’t include the Sorceress presence in there.
There’s ‘High School’ theme’s in Balamb or other Garden, which to me, is unecessary. Why bother made the military system who purposelly to kill evil sorceress like academic school? I know the concept ‘somewhat’ fit, but shoving the ‘high school’ themes with prom-dance, school festival, and teenagers love made the SeeD forces seems only know to joke around.
The very reason Elone made Squall see Laguna past because Elone missed Laguna so bad and want see it, even it is in memories. Funnily, she didn’t realize that Laguna still alive and exist as President Esthar untill she get caught by Galbadia and saved by Esthar. I understand Squall forget Elone because using GF, but she can explain it normally to retell the story to Squall if she remember Squall that much. It made unecessary event for Squall to grasp his purpose.
In the ending, you will see dying Ultimecia who travel to the past and transfer all her power to Edea before she dead. It is somehow explain that Ultimecia choose Edea not randomly and that was her fatal mistake because Edea and Cid later on make SeeD who will defeat her in future. The whole story, if you do rightly, is kind see the time loop about fall of Ultimecia. It is expected in kind of fatalism story. But, the question arise when Edea explained that sorceress can’t die before she transfer all her power to someone. If the dying Ultimecia come from the future with condition fully knowing that people who defeated her is Squall, including Edea, why she still insist to choose Edea? If she choose another person, Edea won’t make SeeD, probably not have bigger motivation to do so, and she didn’t have any risk to defeated in future later on.
Despite it’s flaws, I still enjoyed it because Squall and Rinoa relationship in game (I will write this separetely), even that thing also had their own problem. For the battle system, I just realize that junction system can broke the player stat even in their low level (I watched full playthorugh in YouTube that he finished perfectly the game just by lv 10-30 each character). But if you do conventionally, you will enjoy the battle, especially when boss battle, either is storyline or optional. The animation, sound effect and soundtrack in battle really engaging and memorable for me.
Author : Urasawa Naoki – Takashi Nagasaki (Supervised by Macoto Tezka)
The story is reinvented from Astro Boy “The Greatest Robot On Earth” (Chijo Saidai no Robotto). Urasawa made this robot-action oriented story become mystery-thriller genre story in same setting. The main character and narration heavily weight to Gesicht rather than Atom. I read it because curiosity and ended finished reading all chapter marathon in one night.
The main villain in this story is a Thracian Supercomputer, called Roosevelt, which basically is super A.I. who control United States of Thracian indirectly by ordering The president. He starting conflict to Monarchy Persian by ‘blaming’ them for making robot troops and send the United Thracian robot army to give them some ‘democracy’. Lead by seven strongest robot, Atom is one of them, United Thracian win the war and made Persian turn into democratic country.
The peace agreement, robot lives equal with human, goes on after the war, but then, fast forward eight year, one of seven strongest robot, Mont Blanc, killed monstrously, which believed killed by robot. But then, the mysterious murder continues, kill some founder and activist of robot-equal law which is questionable because robot can’t be programmed to kill human.
Gesicht, one of seven strongest robot and great detective, trying to solve the mysterious murder and succed to know that the murderer targetting seven strongest robot that lead war before. It is explained later on that to become strongest robot is not because their power only, but because they had ‘emotion’ like human.
Gesicht found that the murderer is Pluto, great robot with only ‘hatred emotion’ intentionally by his creator, Professor Abullah. Pluto somehow interesting because it is robot with human complexity. Why? Because Abullah made Sahad, his own son, becoming Pluto A.I. so Pluto had ‘emotion’ which manipullated to had only ‘hatred’ emotion.
Almost all strongest robot destroyed by Pluto. Gesicht also died in the middle of his investigation, left Atom with his memory chip to continue fight Pluto. Same as other strongest robot, Atom too had emotion so when he strive Pluto, both of them fight with their own anger and hatred. Fortunately, Atom learn from Gesicht that hatred won’t solve anything so he reconciliate with Pluto, which amazingly agree because Pluto consciousness come from Sahad who basically human who hates war and violence. They later on found that the death of strongest robot happen because Rooselvelt want activated Bora, the great robot with nuclear weapon, to eliminate most of human so the remaining population will become Rooselvet slave later on. In final fight, Atom and Pluto come challenge Bora and suceed destroy Bora with Pluto sacrifice himself. Roosevelt also destroyed by Brau 1589, the afield robot who kill human before.
The main theme in Astro Boy oftentimes about harmonizing relationship between robot and human, so the conflict usually comes from neither robot who hates human or human who hated robot radically. In Pluto however, the themes takes more deeper to ‘emotion’, what made us humans. The strongest robot in this story had emotion like human, even they had to adopt human children, married with robot, took care old man, feel anger or sad when someone they loved hurt, and other things human do to strengthen their emotion. Gesicht, ironically, dead by his own son (robot) who programmed to shot him by Roosevelt. It is interesting themes that being strongest in this universe means had same feeling and vulnerable like human being. I personally feel that what Urasawa wants to tell in this story is ‘Hatred changes Nothing’ and ‘being human made you stronger than others but will make you insane if you dive to hatred and anger’.
Record of Lodoss War – Deedlit’s Tale
Author : Ryo Mizuno
Illustrator : Setsuko Yoneyama
I’m read this manga because I’m ParnDeed Trash Shipper and curious about relationship between Parn and Deedlit which explained very little and implicit in OVA. The manga presented in shoujo artstyle so I kinda predict that the story mostly will be lovey-dovey between them. Fortunately, it’s not mainly focus about that and the execution is okay in my opinion.
There’s two volume manga. In first manga, the story mainly elaborate the reason Deedlit choose human world rather than stay in Forrest of No Return, which is her homeland. In OVA, it’s explained that Parn is the biggest reason Deedlit stay in human world. But in this manga, her reason kinda challenged by her elf friend which from the same homeland, his name is Estas.
Deedlit and Estas argue about human, where Deedlit believe there’s good side of human which she always see in Parn and Estas believe that human is bad, selfish and destructive. They betting each other to each their own belief about human in Hanan Village because that village is raided by some noble mercenary and the villager somehow divided when forced to choose fight back with Parn because they feared by death. At beginning, it as Estas expected that villager is afraid to fight and chose save their own lives. But later on, Parn decide to go alone fighting and made the villager unite to help Parn later on, which made the Deedlit belief true. I like this part of story because Parn is not taking the spotlight, but Deedlit is. He even didn’t suddenly gain almighty or other convenient power to make the villager believe to fight.
In volume two, the story basically same. Parn help people who migrate because their village destroyed by mercenaries and they need pass Forest of No Return to get protection in Valis. Deedlit again need to make sure the elder in Forest of No Return that Parn and other humans is in emergency situation and need exception of rule. Deedlit helped by Leif, a half elves-human who kinda proving Deedlit argument that human and elves can live each other peacefully, even though Leif and Deedlit too aware that there’s always some human or elves that persecuted her.
There’s other part of the story in the manga that explain other things, like the very first reason Deedlit choose go to human world, Estas reason to hate human, some cameo of other character who will come in next Lodoss series, and some ‘clingy’ act of Parn towards Deedlit.
The main point in this manga is about human and elves perspective to each other in different spectrum. The main reason Deedlit interesting to human because they had limited life and will use the remaining time to live their own life in their own limitation, which oftenly seen in Parn personality. She understand Elves ‘arrogance’ because they had long lives so they mostly didn’t have any motivation or passion like human did. At the same time, Parn learn lot to respect and protect the nature like mostly elves from Deedlit because humans oftenly destructive and didn’t care of the nature due their instinct to survive in short live. In my opinion, the relationship between Parn and Deedlit is ideal spectrum because they represent the unity and love of human and elves. It also explained later that Deedlit choose to live together with Parn and sacrifice her long live as elves.
Parn (Record of Lodoss War Main Character)
At the very beginning I watched record of Lodoss war OVA, I see Parn as typical main character who morally good, reckless, risk their own life for people in need, not talented but hardworking and oftentimes virtue signalling. As cliche as it sounds, Parn doing all of that because most people misunderstood his father as dishonoured man who become outlaw. He sad that his father passed away before restore his honor so he want proof to everyone that his father is man of honor like his heart believe. He even use his father armour and sword to fulfill his inner believe to the world. He also reject King Fahn offering to use King’s armour after succeed saving King’s daughter because he still remains consistent with his father armour to restore his father name.
Parn not born as greatest warrior. He oftentimes lose in battle and shaking to fear in his first kill. He may undergo a lot of training from many master but it didn’t guarantee his victory. Mostly, he got backlash because his thoughtless action, which made his character development interesting to invest. In my opinion, he is the true underdog in this story.
In very first untill middle part of story, Parn aligned to King Fahn and Valis, which basically the good side. But in last part, he forced himself to use both of Holy Sword and Demon Sword Soul Crusher to save Deedlit. At that point he realize that ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’ is must stand equal for the peace of land so he escape when Valis want reward him as Hero of the Light and choose to become Free Knight with Deedlit to save people in need, no longer see it from light and dark perception. Again, his final development subvert my expectation.
I see many kind of underdog character (Naruto for example) which kinda follow the same formula but later on they become the chosen one or inherit some special power from their ‘legendary’ parent which made them got all the convenient power to gain all the victory and somewhat made them less interesting to invest. They also often times being ‘dense’ to other MC heroine who had love interest to them and later on getting together awkwardly.
Parn is different though. He remains underdog, even in his last battle when he want to save Deedlit. He also express his mutual feeling toward Deedlit after being dense in period of time in interesting manner and timing. I know I usually annoyed of how naive, reckless and being noisy he is with his corny virtue signalling, but in the end I like him as character because his development in his journey.
Record of Lodoss War OVA
Author : Ryu Mizuno
Adapted from classical RPG, most of the story serve everything that you expect from epic fantasy medieval story. Here is some example :
Each character had specific skill and racial that determine their job/classes (human-knight/thief/priest/magician, elves-shaman, dwarf-warrior, etc)
Saving the princess from evil sorceress
Defeat dragon that lurking in cave on the journey
Defeat ‘Legendary’ dragon with special weapon
Battle between ‘Light’ and ‘Darkness’
World building started from battle between two gods that represent chaos and order so the conflict continued from there in next generation
Evil wizard/Sorceress is mastermind of the conflict between two faction