image via. (oh my I just noticed the couple-y outfits)
It took me a very long time to finish Bravely Default, those 4 replay chapters really suck away at motivation. I'm even leaving the bonus dungeon (after I raided it for weapons before the final boss) for when I get a sharp pang of gaming desire during school.
Regardless I noted down some thoughts while I was head deep in the game in China:
Hmm a little less than 50hours into the game and I'm at the point right after the first time reset. I take back my criticism about most of the characters being one dimensional, or rather, "one track minded" as Edea often comments about Ringabel. Somehow it just dawned upon me how hard it is to see from a different perspective from the one that was strictly indoctrinated into you for all of your childhood. Perhaps what provoked this realization is seeing a short segment on TV about why this person chose to join the communist party, in which the person described her life as being devoted to the party and faithfully living in a way that conformed to the party's teaching. It was a bit horrifying to watch as I have an outsiders perspective that's biased towards the negative of what happened under the party's early years (which correspond to the tv segment person's life), as well as a general uneasiness towards living devoted to any prescriptive ideology.
Back to Bravely Default.
So I now see Agnes' and Edea's stubborn idealism as well written. Still on the fence about Tiz's character though, no major development for him yet, although the bit about Egil was interesting. (Later edit & spoiler: the bit about there being a celestial being residing in Tiz will probably come into play in the sequel.)
I was totally right about Ringabel and Alternis! But it's hard to believe that Edea never saw Alternis' face as they grew up together, he couldn't have always worn his helmet right? I feel bad for Alternis though, that unrequited love and his terrible timing confessing on the battlefield. At least Ringabel and Edea had a funny exchange during the prison break. Sigh does this ship ever set sail?
Right now I'm kind of dreading the rest of the game, first because of all the repeated crystal awakenings, and second because the tragedy in the plot thickens.
I'm surprised that such a significant portion of the back story is in the Vampire side quest, which is entirely missable (although no jrpg player would ever not do a side quest...discounting myself and FFXII). In a hypothetical scenario in which the player does not spoil him/herself of the story (me never), the players understanding of the story would be almost opposite without this side quest.
Spoilers below, but I figure you've either already played this game or has no interest in ever playing it.
I feel a vague nod to FFX's plot twist in which you're actually on the evil side. While I'm going around awakening crystals and saving people from Eternia's tyranny, which the latter contains a lot of truth since corrupted characters exist on both sides, I then discover that oh oops nope, actually (the good part of) Eternia is trying to prevent the apocalypse (through bad execution via aforementioned corrupt characters, but ain't that always the complication when you run an entire empire ne?). Of course Crystalism starts off good too. Yulyana (or was it DeRosso?) says it well with the road to hell is paved with good intentions (this saying is also on a slide deck that I made for work ah ha).
To go off on a tangent, reality is always stranger than fiction, and our imaginations an extension of reality, makes me wonder how many similar plots have played out in history already. This thought reminds me a quotation that goes something like life is a comedy to those who think, and a tragedy to those who feel.
Another plot segment that resonates with me is the miscommunication, or more accurately unwillingness to communicate between Edea and Braev. On a higher level, it's obviously written this way in order to have a story, but ignoring that, I wonder how different it would be if Braev decides to tell Edea his reasoning before that boss fight. Would Edea listen, or would she think it's an excuse given the "final confrontation" situation. Alternatively, if DeRosso told the party what Angel Anges knew, would that stop them from going to awaken the earth crystal?
It reminds me of how stubborn, and objectively wrong, I am in my refusal to regularly exercise. Of course I know that my parents nagging is for my own good, but it doesn't increase my willing a single bit. Likewise, of course procrastinators know that they're screwing themselves over by doing so, but that knowledge stops short of action. I guess for a generally future-oriented person, this is one instance of being good at living in the moment (I'm impressed by this excuse). Why is it human nature (or is it?) to not always thrive to be the best person we can be?
And this is why I like sad stories, makes me think of all sorts of difficult things.
//recount end. Here's a cute picture of DeRosso to conclude:
image via. It's emabrassing that I actually had a lot of trouble with those monsters initially.