Vile tribe

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Temzin
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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Temzin » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:17 am

L-l-lore! My favorite. Just as Ghaleon's being a member of the tribe appears nowhere in TSS or SSS themselves, the sympathetic look at the tribe also really only comes out in these non-game stories...aside from a throw-away scene in SSS where you help one of them during a cave collapse, and I guess Faithia/Phacia. For these reasons, I think that the Vile Tribe translation is not only reasonable in TSS but continues to be so for SSS, neither of which need account for the nuances added in extra-textual works. All the more so because, as I think Kiz may have pointed out in the past and as Alun alludes to here, "Mazoku" is a deliciously ambiguous word common to fantasy media in Japan. The "ma" on its own may literally mean "demon" or "evil" (hence the "Vile" of Vile Tribe), so the etymology of words for "magic" in Japanese such as "mahou" ("demon/evil way"), "majutsu" ("demon/evil arts"), "madou" ("demon/evil way" again) all use the same "ma" and thus may be (but are not always) associated with monsters. Depending on the author, the intent with "Mazoku" can tilt more towards the demonic or the magical: the Mystics of Chrono Trigger and the Vile Tribe of Lunar are both written as Mazoku and both entirely "right." Since the tribe in Lunar in-game is defined more by being monstrous than by their magic, I think the WD translation works better in that sense.

Despite hating Ghaleon's undignified and frightening transformation in TSS, I have always loved the speculation that his scar in EB is from it. As everyone's noted, there's just no data for it, even in an obvious spot like the Lunar I&II Official Design Material Collection that goes so far as to note that his headband is "what the dead wear," so we're free to keep imagining...

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Alunissage
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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Alunissage » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:54 pm

Kizyr wrote:
Alunissage wrote:What do you suppose "a terrible abuse of Black Magic" means? Black Magic is loosely defined in the game as meaning destructive magic that can harm people ... So... did Ignatius use magic to intimidate the people in the Frontier, or brainwash them, or...?

The distinction seems to be irrelevant by the time of TSS/SSS, but during DS definitely there was a clear indication that "black magic" meant any destructive attack magic -- except maybe the ones that came from a divine source like the dragons or Althena. My read is that it sounds most like Ignatius used black magic to take over the Frontier -- so, most likely some destruction, threats of destruction, and displays of power. The kind of thing that'd get some folks in the Frontier to unite behind him out of fear, others out of a desire to see him use that magic on others. I don't think brainwashing was ever a part of it though. KF


Actually, the Genesis dragons refer to their own magic as Black Magic:

Red Dragon
That is correct.
A Dragonmaster requires unwavering willpower in the face of all adversity.

You have overcome the Trial of the Red Dragon and proven yourself worthy to receive my powers.
I acknowledge your strength and shall bestow my Black Magic upon you.

Jian
Black Magic...?

Red Dragon
Magic that can drain the very life from weakened or injured creatures.
If used for evil, as Ignatius is now doing, it has the potential to dominate the world.

A very dangerous branch of magic, but then that depends upon the intent of the one who wields it.

Jian
So that's what Black Magic is...


Blue Dragon
He who takes on the powers of a Dragonmaster has the command of Black Magic.

As I am sure you have been warned, Black Magic can be highly dangerous.
Thus, a Dragonmaster requires wisdom in order to use it correctly.

Justice lies within wisdom!

This is the final Trial!


So I would guess that what Titus was saying is that Ignatius used the magic gained as Dragonmaster to bring together the Vile Tribe. That would certainly be a "terrible abuse".

...It sure seems like a not-great name for dragon magic, doesn't it? I mean, I can see that that's what it was in Japanese, but that's one thing that could have been improved in translation, since "black magic" in English definitely has an evil connotation incompatible with dragons. Although now I wonder if it's used in other games...? Like, I think there's a book in Vane in TSS that refers to dragon magic; was that "black magic" in Japanese?

The phrasing the Red Dragon uses above puts a rather dark cast on it, as magic that drains the life of weakened creatures. Doesn't seem to go with the Dragonmaster role, but maybe it's supposed to help the Dragonmaster fight evil. And, as I think I noted earlier, all of the Genesis dragon magic is attack magic. It strikes me that the Red Dragon magic is the only one to be an attack spell in all the games (even if it kinda sucked in EB).

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Alunissage » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:04 pm

Temzin wrote:"Mazoku" is a deliciously ambiguous word common to fantasy media in Japan. The "ma" on its own may literally mean "demon" or "evil" (hence the "Vile" of Vile Tribe), so the etymology of words for "magic" in Japanese such as "mahou" ("demon/evil way"), "majutsu" ("demon/evil arts"), "madou" ("demon/evil way" again) all use the same "ma" and thus may be (but are not always) associated with monsters. Depending on the author, the intent with "Mazoku" can tilt more towards the demonic or the magical: the Mystics of Chrono Trigger and the Vile Tribe of Lunar are both written as Mazoku and both entirely "right." Since the tribe in Lunar in-game is defined more by being monstrous than by their magic, I think the WD translation works better in that sense.

I think Rebecca Capowski used "Magic Race" in her Vheen translations. That's neutral-to-positive rather than ambiguous, and it's true that the monstrous ones in TSS don't appear particularly magical other than mimicking Alex's parents.

I now want to think of a better, more ambiguous English phrase, since I still find "Vile" to be too strong. (Though I concede that certainly there's no reason for WD to consider their depiction in materials that weren't ever going to be published here in choosing to keep the TSS name in SSSC. Still, they did change Althena's Cult to Althena's Chosen in EBC, which I think was an excellent choice.) Something referring to sorcery, maybe, which I think tends to have a darker connotation but isn't necessarily evil. Xenobia is called a sorceress, but I feel like maybe Lemia was too? I might be making that up. Mystic would have worked well too, but I guess that's taken now.

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Temzin
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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Temzin » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:49 am

Alunissage wrote:"black magic" in English definitely has an evil connotation incompatible with dragons. Although now I wonder if it's used in other games...? Like, I think there's a book in Vane in TSS that refers to dragon magic; was that "black magic" in Japanese
Good observation! I had to think really hard for a minute about the way these words work in languages, especially since the game associations in both languages have almost completely overpowered their original connotations. Lunar's use here of "kuro mahou" in Japanese would teccccchnically be equivalent to the original ritualistic/Black Mass/heretical meaning of "black magic" if you talked to an anthropologist. However! Even more than black magic in English, "kuro mahou" sounds almost 100% like video game talk. I have never in my life heard anyone say "kuro mahou" when thinking of pagans or whatever (sorry to any spiritualists, I am not an expert). In Japanese, you would almost certainly use majutsu, youjutsu, jajutsu, or jujutsu to talk about frightening sacrifices and devil worship.

In other words, the sinister connotation of "kuro mahou" is extremely weak in Japanese based on modern usage ("kuro mahou" is for video game mages!) compared with the only somewhat weakened connotation of "black magic" in modern English. But to top it off, it's vaguer still in Lunar in both languages since four colors of magic are associated with the four colors of dragon. I thankfully never played the DS game, but the scriptwriting would be very odd in either language if the kuro mahou/black magic referenced here were related to anything other than the Black Dragon. I would be surprised if the black magic book in Vane in TSS used this same phrase but I sure don't know!
Alunissage wrote:I now want to think of a better, more ambiguous English phrase, since I still find "Vile" to be too strong. (Though I concede that certainly there's no reason for WD to consider their depiction in materials that weren't ever going to be published here in choosing to keep the TSS name in SSSC. Still, they did change Althena's Cult to Althena's Chosen in EBC, which I think was an excellent choice.) Something referring to sorcery, maybe, which I think tends to have a darker connotation but isn't necessarily evil. Xenobia is called a sorceress, but I feel like maybe Lemia was too? I might be making that up. Mystic would have worked well too, but I guess that's taken now.
In retrospect, Mystic would have been great given how the tribe was softened up a bit in the side stories, but it's just so hard to have known since they're completely vicious in TSS and still mostly vicious in SSS. Mystic actually feels too nice for the in-game stories since these guys aren't really elegant sorcerors but generic goons. And here's what's wild: in the end, the vagueness of the terminology in Japanese enables that script to avoid thinking about any of these questions: Xenobia (and sisters in SSS) are majo or sorceresses/witches, using that same "ma" as "demon"/"evil," and they just happen to be sorceresses who are also demons of a sort! Their Mazoku minions may be magicians or they may be just monsters, but most people will not think about it too hard other than to know they're bad guys.

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:20 pm

Temzin wrote:L-l-lore! My favorite. Just as Ghaleon's being a member of the tribe appears nowhere in TSS or SSS themselves, the sympathetic look at the tribe also really only comes out in these non-game stories...aside from a throw-away scene in SSS where you help one of them during a cave collapse, and I guess Faithia/Phacia.


Alunissage wrote:Eh, "demonic transformation ability" seems a lot more like a gameplay thing to me. Final boss, after all. .


I've already gone into detail why I disagree and think the TSS Xenobia and the Vile Tribe/Mazoku were sympathetic, but I would like to know: by process of elimination, if not Mazoku/Vile Tribe, what race do you believe Ghaleon *solely using TSS* to be? Humans and Beastmen have never been shown to have a demon form on their own (without the "help" of a deity like Zophar in fake Althena's case), and he needed the power of a deity to accomplish his goals. Humans do not have red cat eyes, fangs, or elf ears all of which are in TSS FMVs of Ghaleon. Beastmen have fangs like Ghaleon, and sometimes elf ears (Mauri in particular, everyone else seems to have more non-human-mammal ears) but they also have facial markings, horns, and mammal noses which Ghaleon doesn't have. Just because it's the final boss doesn't mean it didn't happen in the story, especially since a cutscene depicts him changing into that form, not to mention concept art. Personally I prefer the TSS story, but when TSS does not have the answer, I use other sources to fill in the gaps.

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Alunissage » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:02 pm

This is going to sound like a total cop-out, I know, but honestly? I never cared what race Ghaleon was when I'd only played TSS and didn't know of any other Lunar stuff at all. There were clearly at least three races, plus fairies and dragons, why not more? The only backstory in the game wasn't sufficient to rule out other possible races (and in fact none of the lore explicitly accounts for the beastmen: were they like that on the Blue Star and brought to Lunar that way, or did they develop there?), and to the extent I was interested in thinking about it at the time I wasn't concerned with Ghaleon's nature much. I grew up reading fairy tales, fantasy, and Oz books; diverse humanoid groups of varying characteristics and magical abilities didn't seem like something to resolve. I only got more interested in Ghaleon's background when he was linked to the Mazoku later, upon which I had to think about a reconciliation between them -- and that was after SSSC came out (I don't think it's in the game itself, but his long lifespan is alluded to) and I read the manga (which were released to go with SSS in Japan), so obviously (to me!) that was throwing out so much of TSS that I didn't see a need to relate his TSS transformation to it. After all, that doesn't even happen in SSS, so it must not have been seen as part of his identity once he was decided to be Mazoku.

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Alunissage » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:20 am

It may not be clear from that, but I've never been as "into" Ghaleon as most fans, it seems. I may be the only one who was seriously annoyed at his appearance in EB, because it just didn't make much sense other than a bit of "let's put the 'cool' evil guy in" fanservice. I thought giving Nall a human form was similarly dumb. I'm used to both of these now, but still find it a little annoying that we have to account for these things when they seem like shallow story decisions to me. This is probably also why I haven't really engaged with discussions about Ghaleon's EB character design.

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Erroneous » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:39 pm

S.ninja wrote:And I believe that Ghaleon did transform into a monster at the end of TSS as it explains his face scar in EB ( that is why it bothered me that he had it in EBC)


Shinto-Cetra wrote:
S.ninja wrote:And I believe that Ghaleon did transform into a monster at the end of TSS as it explains his face scar in EB ( that is why it bothered me that he had it in EBC)


I always though it was a scar from when he was killed and the hands of Alex and co, I don't have proof though.


Shinto-Cetra wrote:
S.ninja wrote:And I believe that Ghaleon did transform into a monster at the end of TSS as it explains his face scar in EB ( that is why it bothered me that he had it in EBC)


I always though it was a scar from when he was killed and the hands of Alex and co, I don't have proof though.


Alunissage wrote:I don't think there's any "real" explanation for Ghaleon's face in EB. I know fans have been talking about it for decades, though for some reason that discussion never interested me so I don't really recall much about it other than that no one's been able to cite anything "official" about it. Even if it were supposed to be a remnant of his TSS transformation, it doesn't surprise me that it'd still show up in EBC because there's no particular reason to redo a pretty distinctive facial design.


Temzin wrote:Despite hating Ghaleon's undignified and frightening transformation in TSS, I have always loved the speculation that his scar in EB is from it. As everyone's noted, there's just no data for it, even in an obvious spot like the Lunar I&II Official Design Material Collection that goes so far as to note that his headband is "what the dead wear," so we're free to keep imagining...


Decades indeed. :arrow: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2328

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby Alunissage » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:34 pm

Heh. Yeah. I think I'd respond a little differently now, but maybe not. I had forgotten my speculation that Ghaleon's transformation could have been related to the "demigod" that the Four Heroes vanquished per TSS.

I vaguely recall Vic saying that Ghaleon was an elf, which is maybe where you got it from? That would have been well before EBC and quite possibly before SSSC -- and also quite possibly something he more or less made up.

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Re: Vile tribe

Postby S.ninja » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:13 am

Elf seems like a cop out for Ghaleon, I always thought if him as a vile tribe member
That escaped the banishment at a young age and that is why Xenobia was working with him. I'll admit that this was pure speculation on my part, however ever after reading the Vane airship manga I thought it also claimed that he was of the vile tribe it therefore confirming what I thought.

However I may have misread or had a bad translation of the manga. Just in my head that is what I thought.


You guys rock I'm learning so much more then I thought I would when starting this post thanks


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