Pentagulia's destruction

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Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:58 pm

This applies to any version of Lunar 2: The scene where Lucia summons the dragons to destroy Pentagulia looks pretty awesome visually, in that respect it’s one of my favorite scenes of the game. But upon further reflection, didn’t she just destroy an entire city and probably kill many inhabitants who had no idea about Althena’s Chosen/Cult really being a front to revive Zophar? I wouldn’t want them to go into huge detail about this, like one thing I have mixed feelings in about Final Fantasy VII(another fave) was that although civilian casualties of the Mako Reactor bombings was something good to address, they go into it way too much later on, and basically only blame Barret. Actually in the SCD version, it seems like the party is cheering her on, while in the PS1 version the party is in shock and awe. I’m not saying Lucia had much of a choice(neither did the FF7 cast previously mentioned), I just think this should have been addressed, like maybe Jean or Ronfar, or even Lemina should have chastised Lucia about this (Hiro would be too lovestruck to say anything.)

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Alunissage » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:22 pm

Yeah, it bothered me a bit too, especially when the Destiny catches up and there are basically zombies there...I think? It's been quite a while since I played that part in either version. I'm going to choose to believe that Pentagulia was evacuated when the barrier was put up. Though I think there was also a deliberate choice to make the people there obnoxious so that you don't feel too sorry for them -- the Cult/Chosen rewarded the most awful people with residence in Pentagulia, basically. I can't remember right now whether there was anyone likeable at all there. (I tend to assume Leo would have had good folks around, but they'd all be on the Destiny anyway and presumably were... furloughed? I dunno... when Leo handed over the ship to Hiro. Though I do feel skeptical that a ship of that size would run without a crew.)

I was going to say that it seems uncharacteristically grim for Lunar, but then I remembered that in the very first game there's a graveyard in Talon Mine and one of the party says that Ghaleon has become a ghoul, working all these people to death. So it's not that death is uncharacteristic, it's just not as conspicuous as in a lot of other games, and almost always off-camera.

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:28 am

I doubt Zophar is the type to order an evacuation, though It's possible some left in time on their own. Actually speaking of grim, Zophar turns Fake "Althena" into a boss monster, I can't see any reason he wouldn't turn wounded survivors into weaker monsters (ie the regular enemies faced). Or maybe they were always deep inside the tower. Or a mix of both. Quark aside, death is mostly off-camera, yeah.

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Temzin » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:29 am

Since the Cult leadership seemed so obviously corrupt and unsympathetic, I rememeber cheering when Pentagulia got wasted, but it's true that it would be surprisingly uncharacteristic for a game that was much softer than the more violent original, with even unredeemable characters like Linus/Lunn getting to live. Once the city is sealed, I could also sort of assume the secret was out and anyone who wasn't actually a Zophar-worshipper had left. Come to think of it, I think the four towers have human guard enemies who you slaughter pretty thoroughly, as well, so may be taking sides clearly by that point.

I do remember being puzzled by the shambling zombies in the remake, but given how sloppy so much of the rest of the remake was, it's hard for me to read too much meaning into it.
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:41 pm

I absolutely love the video the complete version had. It was bad ass!
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Kizyr » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:57 am

That's... yeah, pretty grim. I agree that it was brought home a bit more in the remake (on account of the shambling zombies going around). But by that point (which was right after saving Mauri) I think the implication they were going for was strongly that the cultists in the innermost circle were already pretty far gone (...which is ironic considering you just saved Mauri at great personal risk). Alternatively though, the implication might be that the city was all but abandoned except for Fake Althena and the immediate guard/monsters protecting her.

It's really unclear -- which is kind of par for the course for Lunar -- so either interpretation seems to have enough evidence or lack thereof of counterevidence. KF
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Alunissage » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:56 am

Yeah, the abandonment is what I meant by evacuated. Not bloody likely that Zophar or anyone else in power there would be interested in saving lives.

And yeah, we know Mauri was drugged and brainwashed, and that she then did the same to others, who would basically be innocents. So how do you tell when someone is doing evil because of that or because they choose to be evil (venal, greedy, etc) and get into Pentagulia on that basis?

Surprise, surprise, I just happen to have transcribed a not-inconsiderable chunk of EBC's Pentagulia dialogue from when Hiro first arrives there. I don't have the HP to do much (seriously, have had flu for a week), but here are a couple of quotes:

First house to right (at dock level)
Priest in red: We are of The Chosen, so it is only natural that we be given our every desire. I wonder if I asked the Goddess to be made a god if she would grant THAT wish? A new god…yessssss. That would be sweet. Heh, heh, heh…

Blue-haired woman in bedroom: I’m sick and tired of hearing how great Ghaleon is! Don’t they remember that he once tried to destroy our world?
- I’m starting a covert anti-Ghaleon campaign. The first order of business will be to get him barred from Pentagulia.

Front brown-haired woman: I haven’t seen you before. So tell me, when did you get in? How long do you plan to stay in our holy city? Did you bring everything you need? Is there anything I can do for you?
- Back so soon? How long do you plan to stay in the Holy City?

Back house on left
Woman (?) in blue near door: Even though the Goddess was reborn to our world, …she still relies on the power of the Dragonmaster for protection. ... At least, that’s what I heard…
- Not too long ago, I was a shy person who people made fun of. Now I’m a powerful and respected priest. Life is good! Heh, heh, heh!

Brown-haired woman in right room: Althena is performing some secret ceremony here in Pentagulia right now… If that goes well, this place will become more happy and wonderful than ever!

Man in ivory: Long ago, they said this world was a barren, place, without water or air. And yet, it was reborn as a blessed world of abundance by the power of Althena. We really are fortunate.
- I really feel we can’t thank Althena enough for all she’s done for us.

--
So, what I'm seeing here is a mix of actual devotion and selfishness. The rest of it is a similar mix.

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Sonic# » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:46 pm

A parallel: there's a moment in a novel I won't name when a reckless politician, on a passenger train whose engine has broken down, urges that they be switched to an old coal engine instead of waiting for another diesel engine. He eventually harangues the operator into doing so, even though the older engine is not rated for the kind of tunnel the train is due to go through. Everyone suffocates.

Just to drive home that the suffocation has no victims who didn't deserve it, the novel spends pages upon pages describing the hypocrisies (in the narrator's eye) of a large sampling of passengers on board. Ostensibly this makes the narrative sequence represent a systemic failure, but the implausibility of every passenger on the train supporting the same political/ideological views makes that unbelievable. Instead, it comes across as a weak, post hoc excuse for why readers shouldn't care about a tragedy, and of putting an ideological interpretation of events above a plausible account of events. Offering post-event depictions of guilt is a clunky and heavy-handed narrative technique.

At least Lunar 2 commits the (lesser) sin of underdescription: some people at Pentagulia are clearly vain and corrupted, and beyond that the game never makes an attempt to deal with the larger consequences of its destruction. There are no excuses, no being folded into a larger artificial narrative. It's just a gap where the dragons and Lucia may have destroyed a city and its inhabitants, but they did as they saw fit given the situation.

I remember seeing the zombies in my initial playthrough and thinking that they not blasted into that form by the dragons but were rather revealed in their true form as corrupted by Zophar, just as the fortress of Althena was revealed. In other words, those that appeared as zombies were already corrupted by Zophar. The sequence in the cutscene makes this possible: the primary destruction is architectural, and followed by a light that shines on the tower as if it were magically disguised before. That said, this may be headcanon.
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:02 pm

^What novel is this? Now I'm curious.

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Kizyr » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:42 am

Sonic# wrote:A parallel: there's a moment in a novel I won't name when ... Just to drive home that the suffocation has no victims who didn't deserve it, the novel spends pages upon pages describing the hypocrisies (in the narrator's eye) of a large sampling of passengers on board.

Quick aside... took like one guess to figure out which novel this was based on the horrendous moralizing.

Anyway!

Sonic# wrote:Offering post-event depictions of guilt is a clunky and heavy-handed narrative technique.
At least Lunar 2 commits the (lesser) sin of underdescription: some people at Pentagulia are clearly vain and corrupted, and beyond that the game never makes an attempt to deal with the larger consequences of its destruction. There are no excuses, no being folded into a larger artificial narrative. It's just a gap where the dragons and Lucia may have destroyed a city and its inhabitants, but they did as they saw fit given the situation.

I think it's worth figuring out what goes with Lunar's tone here -- 'cause, well, we know this is a series that sometimes skips out on the details in some critical areas... (Doesn't make me love it any less. Star Trek is guilty of the same thing in so many places. That's kind of how fiction is sometimes.)

What I mean is that when Lunar goes for presenting good, evil, and grey areas, there seem to be some lines they don't cross. Like, city-destroying that also kills innocents is something that either evil or co-opted-by-evil people will do (Ghaleon in SSS, Mauri in EB before being saved), and Lucia comes dangerously close but due to her not fully connecting with humanity, but Hiro/Ronfar/Jean/Lemina wouldn't go in that direction -- or especially wouldn't cheer it on without some reconciliation later.

I mean yeah it's a bit optimistic, but... Lunar's kind of presented like that. People like Leo and Jean have to come to terms with bad things they've done in the past, but not... gruesome city-destroying kind of things.

The remaining people left in the city being only folks corrupted completely by Zophar, like the Fake Althena, while everyone else would've turned tail and abandoned, seems more in line with Lunar's tone than the alternative. Yes it's speculation without a lot of evidence, but in the absence of evidence for most theories it might be the best we got.

I'm still toying around with this way of interpreting it, so I'm up for any counterexamples! KF
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Alunissage » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:59 am

Well... there's the Destruction of the Blue Star flashback, where people are shown as having turned into monsters by Zophar's corruption. I... kinda think that some of the monstrous people themselves were begging Althena for help? I mean, it wasn't just the wholeheartedly evil people that had become monsters, but people who still cared enough to not want to be monstrous, right? I need to reread/rewatch that scene to figure out how it fits in here.

When I first played EBC, I was kind of disappointed that Leo and Jean didn't get together, since a) they were the only ones that were completely unpaired with others and b) they had that common thread of needing to atone for past wrongs, even if they didn't commit them knowingly/voluntarily. I later grew away from that line of thought, realizing that it's fine for people to NOT end up paired up and also that they'd both have so much baggage to work through that they probably wouldn't be in any shape for a healthy relationship for quite a while even if they were inclined toward it -- and I kind of get the feeling that neither of them feels a need for a romantic partner. (Jean does have a line about feeling a little lovesick, but I'm almost positive that's a translation error.) Wait, that's not what I meant to talk about. I meant to say, Leo probably did stop short of true atrocity, but only because Hiro was there to stop him initially. Ghaleon even reprimands him, sort of, for it (saying his devotion has come into question because he didn't actually destroy Lucia, just bring her to Pentagulia). We don't know what Jean actually did as part of the cult she was in; if I were writing a fic about it I'd probably have her kidnapping kids but not actually murdering anyone, but that's just me. As Kiz said, she probably didn't do gruesome city-destroying things; rather, she knew that her training was headed toward that kind of goal and got out before getting that far.

Since a number of the people in Pentagulia do seem to have genuine devotion to Althena separate from their own selfish wishes, it may be that after the various scenes in the towers and Lucia's confrontation with "Althena", these people were disenchanted enough to get out. Possibly Lucia's accusations were enough to start them thinking about whether their beliefs really lined up with the Chosen's teachings. I could see that woman who actually remembers her history deciding that Ghaleon was clearly too powerful to oust from Pentagulia and maybe she'd better go instead, since he knocked out Hiro and Lucia on Althena's orders.

Oh, back to the bit about good people not letting innocents get killed, Borgan clearly knows this principle and tries to use it to regain power after he's defeated, by pointing out that Neo-Vane will crash if he can't use the Black Dragon's power to keep it aloft. Lucia thwarts this with her own power, but probably Lemina and crew would have had to give in if they were on their own. Another reason he's scum. I swear, EBC really needs a remake just to have a shot at somehow making his character make sense with Miria's. There's got to be a way to make him less obnoxious. Though it's probably easier to make Miria more sensible.

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:50 am

Sonic# wrote:A parallel: there's a moment in a novel I won't name when a reckless politician, on a passenger train whose engine has broken down, urges that they be switched to an old coal engine instead of waiting for another diesel engine. He eventually harangues the operator into doing so, even though the older engine is not rated for the kind of tunnel the train is due to go through. Everyone suffocates.

I'm still waiting to know what this mystery novel is. Only asking again as it's been a week (and posts on this thread since then.)

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Temzin » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:13 am

I like the approaches above: mass death at Pentagulia doesn't mesh with the EB world or its themes (TSS was much rougher, but those edges were sanded out after the first game), so it's likely an oversight that I'll personally continue to imagine as a mass departure after the party discovers the Cult's true goals.
Shinto-Cetra wrote:I'm still waiting to know what this mystery novel is.
Hilariously, I was able to hazard the correct guess instantly based on Kiz's response, in turn, without having read it. Let's just say that the sociopathic individualism of so-called "Objectivist" emigrees from the former USSR don't exactly mesh with the humanistic and cooperation-centered themes of Lunar, or Japanese society at large, for that matter. On top of that, the video game features vastly better writing!
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:25 am

Ok this is just getting ridiculous now: someone please stop speaking in riddles, and tell me the title, since so many of you know. I did a search based on the original post, and found nothing relevant.

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Temzin » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:44 am

Hahaha, okay, okay, I hate to utter the name of the author of such unreadably poor text and socially irresponsible themes, but I'll just imagine that the writings of Ayn Rand were in the library of Pentagulia building no. 8 when the dragons showed up and are now in the bottom of the sea.

...you know, when Vane got shot down in TSS, it really freaked me out and they never really talked about it. I don't think I ever found Mia's mother in Black Rose Street till my second playthrough. Keeping with the "new Lunar" themes of EB, I think everyone evacuated in SSS.
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:02 am

Temzin wrote:Hahaha, okay, okay, I hate to utter the name of the author of such unreadably poor text and socially irresponsible themes, but I'll just imagine that the writings of Ayn Rand were in the library of Pentagulia building no. 8 when the dragons showed up and are now in the bottom of the sea.

...you know, when Vane got shot down in TSS, it really freaked me out and they never really talked about it. I don't think I ever found Mia's mother in Black Rose Street till my second playthrough. Keeping with the "new Lunar" themes of EB, I think everyone evacuated in SSS.


Double thank you, Temzin. I'd heard of *that author* in passing, but other than their connection to political conservatism I had no idea about them. I just checked my endgame pre-Grindery file and Lemia is indeed there. One of the biggest plotholes of TSS has now been solved, for me anyway (not that there were many plotholes in TSS to begin with but still...)

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Kizyr » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:54 am

Shinto-Cetra wrote:Double thank you, Temzin. I'd heard of *that author* in passing, but other than their connection to political conservatism I had no idea about them. I just checked my endgame pre-Grindery file and Lemia is indeed there. One of the biggest plotholes of TSS has now been solved, for me anyway (not that there were many plotholes in TSS to begin with but still...)

Augh, yeah, sorry about that... I would've just said so myself but thought it was kind of too minor a point. Didn't realize how irritating it was until in retrospect =/

Alunissage wrote:When I first played EBC, I was kind of disappointed that Leo and Jean didn't get together, since a) they were the only ones that were completely unpaired with others and b) they had that common thread of needing to atone for past wrongs, even if they didn't commit them knowingly/voluntarily. I later grew away from that line of thought, realizing that it's fine for people to NOT end up paired up and also that they'd both have so much baggage to work through that they probably wouldn't be in any shape for a healthy relationship for quite a while even if they were inclined toward it

My headcanon is that Leo and Jean did eventually end up together, similar reasons since they have a common thread of a shared past and I think their personalities work really well together. (Also they were traveling around on the Destiny together in the Childhood's End manga, so... yeah I posit that they're together a few years after the events of EB, once they're able to reconcile enough with their pasts.)

Alunissage wrote:Another reason he's scum. I swear, EBC really needs a remake just to have a shot at somehow making his character make sense with Miria's. There's got to be a way to make him less obnoxious. Though it's probably easier to make Miria more sensible.

The conflict should be between Lemina saying that they should seal Borgan away in the mines to fend for himself, with Miria opting for more compassion by having him just under house arrest and working to atone for what he did. KF
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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Alunissage » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:06 am

I could see that working. Miria simply being merciful makes more sense than her actually apparently thinking well of Borgan and being swayed by the mountain of gifts. (Though I always felt one of those should have had something interesting to find. Gah, what a place to hide the Borgan Bromide that would be.)

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Re: Pentagulia's destruction

Postby Temzin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:15 am

Alunissage wrote: Gah, what a place to hide the Borgan Bromide that would be.)
While there are many reasons I can’t stand the EB remake, from the awful movies to the bungled last bosses and misplaced music, I probably would have forgiven the whole thing if it had done something boldly different like the remake from TSS to SSS. I’m talking, of course, about Borgan’s Bromide being hidden in the stack of gifts and occasioning a new story sequence where he sings the remix Lemina’s Okane Ga Ichiban image song in-game.
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