Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Kizyr » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:46 pm

Greco12 wrote:Hmmm... I can see why some people would call BS on her speech then, especially since there wasn't much buildup to her accepting both sides of her personality as part of who she is.

Had the writers kept it consistent with her earlier concerns about her Dad finding out about her rough side, shouldn't her speech have been something like, "My father loves me with all his heart, and he would gladly accept me for who I am because my friends do. I don't have to hide myself from him anymore, because he taught me all the skills I know*"?

Agreed... I mean I think that was the clear intention of her character arc. But it's like they missed the key aspects of developing and leading up to that change. They just showed more of the two parts of her personality (the noble and the pirate), not the struggle to reconcile them and decide who her "true self" is. So, while it's a good ending for her character arc, it lacks the buildup, so it feels like it comes from nowhere (hence the confusion about what she means).

And they would've had opportunities, too. She did sneak out of the mansion and the Shrine to go on adventures, much to the knowledge of everyone. I feel like they could've played up that tension and dissonance a little more, and highlighted her struggle to define herself in terms of both sides of her personality, rather than just painting her has a rebellious teen. KF

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:28 pm

I noticed that if you talk to the old man outside the room in which Jessica and Mia are after you lose to Ghaleon at the Grindery, he says:

Jessica is so much like her mother. Even on the verge of exhaustion, she uses all the strength she can muster. Helping to repair the broken bones of the wounded and the broken spirits of the depressed. What a wonderful woman she's become. [Sniff!]


And when you talk to him as you're leaving the mansion with the girls, Jessica does speak to him in a polite manner. I haven't read any of the other NPC dialogue in the mansion at this point in the game though.

Lunar Silver Star Harmony had that cooking scene, which I guess was supposed to illustrate her anxiety about not being ladylike enough to "meet her dad's standards." But I'm still not sure if it was really enough to illustrate her struggle.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Leoriosan » Mon Jul 04, 2016 7:58 pm

Okay, I think you're waaaaaaaay overthinking Jessica as a character and her role in the story, Greco.

I don't think Jessica's dilemma with her father was ever intended to be explored very much in the game. Her monologue to her shadow-self is basically just her choosing to embrace both her girly and tomboyish sides based on her mixed parentage. It's not all that complex. At the end of the story, it's revealed that he knew about her being a tomboy and loves her just the way she is. At least that's what happens in the original Japanese script. WD's localization has her dad make a dirty joke instead. Anyway, the whole sub-plot really isn't that important to the story. Silver Star is at its heart a very simple story revolving around Alex saving Luna.

How exactly does the Pao sub-plot invalidate anything the girls accomplished in the game when they spend the entire game fighting alongside the boys and demonstrating bravery? Honestly, I think Jessica and Mia are fine aside from the weird prairie sickness sub-plot, mainly because Mia eventually becomes a capable leader and Jessica is so spunky and sassy it makes her endearing. I honestly think they come off better than their male counterparts, and they do return the favor towards the end by snapping the guys out of their self-pity session. And keep in mind that Nash needed saving during the magic masher fight, and his predicament was the result of his own foolishness.

And Silver Star is far from the only 90's JRPG to have dated gender depictions. In fact, I'd say it's a little less egregious than a lot of 90's JRPGs, considering the girls never get told to stay behind for fear of getting hurt or something to that effect. And no one challenges the fact that Mia, a girl, is destined to be Vane's future leader. I would consider Jess and Mia to be overall positive female characters despite some of the game's more problematic elements since they're overall treated as equals to the boys and are acknowledged as heroes in the end. And outside of the bromides and bathing easter eggs, their attire is very conservative.

Hell, even Kyle tells Jessica at the end not to be so modest and that that the party couldn't have saved the world without her. I got the impression that Jessica would actually reform Kyle into a respectable man in the future just as her mom did to Mel.

Interesting thing I find about the couples in Silver Star is that the girls tend to dominate the relationships (although you can argue that Alex and Luna are a little more evenly-split than the other two). The way Jess drags Kyle to Mel's mansion at the end suggests that she wears the pants in the relationship, and Mia is Nash's superior even though she treats him as an equal.


tl;dr Jessica and Mia, especially the former imo*, are perfectly fine characters despite some issues. Everything's going to be okay. The world's not going to end.

*I found Jess easier to relate to than Mia, considering she seemed to be a more tangible and believable character. Mia always seemed to be more of the obligatory otaku bait at times for me to get invested in.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Arlia » Mon Sep 12, 2016 8:43 am

Seeing as we're talking about gender dynamics...

The gender depictions weren't "dated", they were "normal." I find it rather distressing that people have a problem with their clothes, especially considering the bromide and bath scenes that were added to the game. Nice girls that don't have a million daddy issues don't have to go around with their breasts hanging out because they want male attention. The girls are healthy, and normal. Jessica's mother died, and she got doted on by her father, but, she still demonstrates the female sphere of strength, which is healing and nurturing. She packs a punch, too, at least in the SSSC, but, physical fighting isn't her forte. She most likely will help Kyle become a decent man, because that's what girls do, and Kyle will challenge her authority, and make sure she doesn't get into trouble with her temper. She is feisty because she's 1: spoiled and 2: more influenced by her father, and Kyle is an alpha male to counter that. Male dominance fixes bratty girls. (Nall and Ruby also show this dynamic.)

The only reason that Jessica and Ruby aren't worse is because there's not a million other girls who are already worse goading them on. They live in an environment where girls are sweet, and nice, and are expected to uphold the responsibility to demonstrate the feminine half of society.

Poor Mia is supposedly stuck with Nash, an absolute weakling. She is very weak herself, and sure, she found the strength to destroy her home, and use Vane's potential, but, she's a gentle spirit, and not suited to leadership. Her mom would help her, sure, but, she's old and sick at this point. Nash can help absolutely NONE with the leadership, because he's a beta after Miss July because she's pretty. Fast forward 200 years later, and Vane is still grounded. Lemina is an absolute brat, and despite her best intentions, she can't seem to get it to take off. She can't handle money, and is rather selfish. Just because she has an honorable goal doesn't make her a good person. No strong males are present in Vane, and neither Mia nor Lemia has a father figure. Mia would show both more strength and more remorse if she thought of Ghaleon as a father figure. Instead, he seems to be, in her eyes, some sort of assistant to her mother's. He read her books sometimes, that's about it -he was a friend that came and went. Matriarchies were generally only valued in wiccan-like communities, but, even then, they are counter-balanced by a god of some sort around.

Luna and Alex are another more gentle pair, but, Luna never had any sort of say in what occurred with her power. She was a vessel, nothing more, and never stopped being a damsel in distress. Alex is morally strong, but, he lets her do whatever she wants, and that's only workable if you have a woman like Luna, who essentially has a temper, and nothing to back it up with- it's really cute that she thinks she'll be able to do anything if someone doesn't happen to obey her screaming commands.
Luna: "STOP!!"
Literally Anyone:"Um...No."
*Travesty Occurs*
This is most likely simply a sign of her immaturity. She is, after all, only 15, and she's usually shown to be younger than Alex. She'll likely grow out of her teen age mouthiness, especially when/if she becomes a mother.
She was a mega-brat in Harmony, and if she doesn't learn to cop the attitude, quickly, she would be much more likely to cheat on Alex for a more assertive male. The only reason she wouldn't is because she would find that morally wrong. She doesn't seem to be a selfish person, so, this is very unlikely, but, a relationship between the mousy girl and the sweet boy next door only works in a safe, happy environment where there is either no danger, or strong protection from that danger.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Alunissage » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:07 pm

Holy cow. I could not disagree more with most of this. I kind of have to rush out soon so I can't yet write the thoughtful response I'd like to. For now I'll just say that I really disagree with the underlying notions of "strong," aggressively masculine males being required to keep females in line.

I'll agree with the assessment of Lemina as a selfish brat, though. And I really didn't like the bits I saw of Jess's and Luna's portrayals in SSH either.

Need to reread the thread to find the issues with their clothes that you're referring to at the beginning. I'm not quite clear on what you're saying there because I don't have enough context yet.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Arlia » Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:29 pm

The point I was demonstrating was not entirely that males need to keep women in line- only bratty girls in specific. This is a very common dynamic displayed in (older) games, because, as we see, they bounce off of each other so well, and often produce hilarity. Kyle needs Jessica just as much, because she does have the moral strength that he lacks- he's a scoundrel.
I was trying to say that Lunar actually does a good job of displaying the balance that's needed. Alex and Luna are a more gentle pair, and it does work. We assume they live happily ever after. I was merely distressed at Luna's new brat attitude in Harmony, and from what I understand, a lot of people were, anyway.

Don't get me wrong; these are the heroes we're talking about. They are generally known to have good intentions. It's not like inserting any man into any situation will fix it, that's not what I'm saying at all. Ghaleon vs Nash in Vane is only the demonstration of having the desire for power vs the lack of that desire. It's not like Ghaleon isn't the one who blew the thing out of the sky in the first place.

Men have a natural need to have what's usually thought of as a type of "authority". It might be better said that he needs something to take care of, but, not quite in the same way that say a woman watches over children. He has the inherent desire to protect, provide for, and be strong for a woman. A woman's natural desire is towards a man, but her challenge is finding a man worthy of giving herself to. The man doesn't have immediate jurisdiction, he has to EARN that. That's basically what chivalry is. There is always an immense power struggle, because, contrary to popular belief, both men and woman have their own power sources, and spheres of influence and one is not inherently greater than the other. This is why couples always, but always, have been known for fighting. The powers within them are constantly arguing, and humans have forgotten how to recognize this. Most couples don't even know why they fight.

A woman is still very powerful: she is still known as "life giver", and "gate keeper". Nothing happens without her say so. She's not to be "dominated", she just needs the type of strength she doesn't have. Her strength is in what she has to give. It's for this reason that women are considered "prizes", "objects of desire", and so forth. Not because men dominate and are jerks, but, because they desperately need to be completed in that way. It's her job to defend herself until a proper mate comes along, and if she fails, she wrecks her family. There is a LOT riding on what a woman chooses to do: societies rise and fall because of the power they hold. It's much less visible, and harder to explain but, of ultimate importance.

A man without a woman is like a sword without a handle. And vice versa. Can't have a crappy handle on your sword, and you can't have a dull blade on your nice iron handle.

Now, you're free to disagree. I imagine many people will; I'm only submitting my best deductions about life. However, I don't value one gender role over the other. Lunar seems to agree with much of the above, but, the social constructs are changing rapidly. In my first post, I chose to demonstrate male authority because it's being shunted these days.

Oh, and the comment about the clothing comes from various comments within these forums, and other places. I've always liked their outfits, so, I was a bit confused at the number of complaints (particularly from new players after Harmony came out) when we still have the bath scenes and bromide cards. Gamers have never been easy to please, though...

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Leoriosan » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:22 am

Alunissage wrote:I'll agree with the assessment of Lemina as a selfish brat, though. And I really didn't like the bits I saw of Jess's and Luna's portrayals in SSH either.


I never had too many issues with Jess' portrayal, although that cooking scene made me groan (jokes about tomboys who can't cook were getting old when the Sega CD version was new, and they've never been funny). Luna definitely comes off as a brat though on several occasions. While I felt Jess' feisty personality made sense (she's a hothead like her dad, and Kyle acts like a dick for a good chunk of the game), Luna's overly-jealous "no other woman better come between me and MY man!" nature grated on me. In fact, the relationship between Alex and Luna in general is something of a hangup for me when it comes to enjoying the game for a few reasons:

1. Alex's lack of a personality.
2. We're supposed to be concerned about saving Luna but the writers can't seem to decide whether we should view her as a sweet girl or an annoying nag. After the party loses to Ghaleon in the Grindery and recuperates in Meribia, there's an NPC (a kid iirc) to whom Nall responds with, "It'd be more tolerable than one of Luna's temper tantrums!" You really undermine why we're supposed to care about her well-being by implying life would be more peaceful without her, writers. Apparently, there's even a comic in which Luna verbally abuses Alex to the point where he runs away from home. And when he gets back, she yells at him for making her worry so much. Just unpleasant.
3. They're adopted siblings. I won't delve too much into this because there's already a thread for this topic.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Imperial Knight » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:53 pm

Arlia wrote:Kyle is an alpha male to counter that...Nash can help absolutely NONE with the leadership, because he's a beta after Miss July because she's pretty.


Even setting aside their popularity among some really terrible communities, "alpha" and "beta" are not really useful terminology for discussing masculine behavior. More broadly, this analysis is too strongly based on traditional gender roles for my taste.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Sonic# » Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:57 am

^
That's the crux of it for me. In the discussion of gender, treating particular behaviors or cultural stereotypes as natural isn't that useful for me.
Arlia wrote:Men have a natural need to have what's usually thought of as a type of "authority".

At that point, the interpretation becomes more about unpacking your particular ideas about gender. That might be useful for you, but it doesn't address the parts of the character - gender or otherwise - I see the game representing. Nor does it speak to me as a man.
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Arlia » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:40 am

"Alpha" and "beta" are agreeably hard to define, because they're mostly used in internet lingo. I've known them to mean a few different things, but, mostly viewed as personality attributes that scream very loudly about a particular person, so much that they can't possibly be missed. Honestly, I don't see how Kyle and Nash could not be called strong and weak using such terms. Alpha tends to have the additional meaning of womanizer, and beta typically indicates that a man isn't living up to his full potential. Both seem correct.
I use the terminology because I do not have a single influence on my idea of what male and female is, and I see the terms used frequently. If you mean a reference to the "manosphere", I don't agree with them on very much. I hear the terms in several different places, mostly used in a joking manner.

This topic is about Jessica's gender role, and whether the writers did a good job defining her as a "strong female". Of course, however you answer that depends entirely on your idea of what "strong" and "feminine" are. Does it not add to the discussion that I've explained my personal views to prevent a misunderstanding?

Lunar actually agrees more with traditional views than it does of the new age "whatever I feel like doing is what I'm going to do", also known as "Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law" mantra from which it sprang. Everyone has a mother and a father, and if that's not accounted for, there are problems. Everything I've said is actually reflected in Lunar:

When Ghaleon doesn't respect the holder of the feminine power he desires (a girl of high moral standing that would never agree to helping him), he turns her into a skimpy rag doll, and his efforts are a failure. Did you ever wonder why she was dressed like that, and why he has her clinging to him? It's not her physical body he wants union with, but, they must be together. She is a device until he's able to extract her power, and channel it, but, she's still right next to him at any given time.

The goddess Althena, an image of a divine feminine, is protected by the Dragon Master, more often than not, a man. As well as four dragons that represent the elements of the whole world. This is a compliment to her immense importance. If she has all of that power, why does she need protecting? Because it's not her job to defend herself. She's busy taking care of the whole world.

This was screamed at the player in Lunar 2: the only thing that Lucia can do is hit the "eradicate" button again, because, as Zophar says, "Althena's power is the power of creation." (Or something similar.) That's what their power is. Lucia herself is a goddess, yet, she calls on the four dragons at the start. They don't come, and she gets stripped of her power very quickly. They CANNOT defend themselves. It's not their job. It's not their role. Lucia's job is to love and nurture the Blue Star, like a mother.

You could argue that it was only set up like that because it would make the player have a sense of purpose, but, plenty of girls like this game, too. They don't mind playing as a boy, because it's not all about that. It's about the whole world that you get to play in, and what that world has to say to you.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:21 am

Oh, man. This discussion got really ugly while I was away. It makes me wish I never started this topic. :(

Arlia wrote:Poor Mia is supposedly stuck with Nash, an absolute weakling. She is very weak herself, and sure, she found the strength to destroy her home, and use Vane's potential, but, she's a gentle spirit, and not suited to leadership. .....


This whole part of your post really rubbed me the wrong way. To me, it gives the impression that Mia is worthless without a "strong man" to complete her and stand by her side. It also seems to suggest by extension that the game was implying this through the events of Lunar 2 (Vane being grounded). She seemed pretty brave to me, taking a stand against the Vile Crustacean and taking the initiative of unleashing Vane's power to stop the Grindery (this was a particularly ballsy decision to make).

Not sure if it adds much to the discussion, but I did find this blog post on Luna, Jessica, and Mia. Just as an aside, I did ask the blogger over Google about the whole Pao sickness sub-plot, and he argued that, while it was problematic, Jess and Mia were pro-active and important enough to the plot that it didn't take anything away from their characters.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Arlia » Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:30 pm

To me, it gives the impression that Mia is worthless without a "strong man" to complete her and stand by her side.


Well, no, that's not what I said at all. The points I have made elude to male and female complimentarity within Lunar, not a patriarchy by today's standards. The fact that they need each other, and work well together. In different relationships, different strengths come out. That's what we're discussing.

Sure, Mia got strong at the end, but, it wasn't enough. The fault was Nash's, not hers. In either scenario, Vane never returned to it's former glory. This demonstrates a failure of their relationship. My suggestion is that Mia is a gentle girl at heart, and needs an addition source of strength, one way or another.

Oh, man. This discussion got really ugly while I was away. It makes me wish I never started this topic. :(


If my views are ugly, you better stop enjoying Lunar so much, because it has traditional views of relationships, just like I do. No women are stronger than men in Lunar, and all women, at least at one point, get taken care of by a man. The characters ALL express that they want and enjoy this. What is ugly about that?
It's my view, as has been many other's the world over, that men are the heads of the family, because men GIVE provision and protection. They like it. Women GIVE life itself, and harmony, and are the backbone of the family. They need a great deal of strength for this. Just because it's not the same as what a man has, doesn't mean it's worthless. People have largely forgotten what it is to be female; that's why you keep assuming I don't think women are strong- it's simply that I don't think they have the same type of strength. But yes, strong they are. They must be.

I am fully aware that I will be for the most part disagreed with, because it's more popular today to assume that men and women are interchangeable, and can do identical jobs. Instead, I look at what they both bring to the table, and why. I find it much more satisfying. However, it's not like I hold it against someone if they feel otherwise.

Just as an aside, I did ask the blogger over Google about the whole Pao sickness sub-plot, and he argued that, while it was problematic


What's problematic with the guys being without the girls for one area? It made the dungeon more challenging to mix up the party. Kind of like the dungeon where you can't equip weapons and armor. Lunar was good as mixing it up like that.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Sonic# » Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:50 pm

I don't think Lunar has the traditional views on relationships that you do. To be clear, it does follow some traditional ideas of gender (which may or may not conform to ideas in your country or region), but I don't see the terms "alpha" and "beta" applying to them. Much of your analysis seems overwrought, like on the point of Mia and Nash:
Sure, Mia got strong at the end, but, it wasn't enough. The fault was Nash's, not hers. In either scenario, Vane never returned to it's former glory. This demonstrates a failure of their relationship. My suggestion is that Mia is a gentle girl at heart, and needs an addition source of strength, one way or another.

There's no way to say that Vane as it appears in Lunar 2 is due to Mia at the end of Lunar 1. A thousand years is a long time for such a change to occur. For instance, it could have succeeded for a while only to later lapse into obscurity.

Nor do I see her as "a gentle girl at heart" who "needs an addition[al] source of strength." When she confronts Nash at the Grindery is an example of the many turning points that show her developing her own capacity for leadership.
Image
Image
Image
That doesn't sound like a gentle girl at heart. That sounds like someone who was early on seeking for a voice to confront the usurpation of authority by Royce and her controlled mother, whose key moments of development have involved speaking truth to power. That's true here, as the party has been subdued by Nash, and she alone is finding the strength to criticize him. She wasn't the one who betrayed her friends out of fear. By that measure, she's the stronger-willed one.

In the ending, Mia expresses her ability to lead first,
Image
and only acknowledges Nash's assistance when he offers it at Lemia's indirect suggestion.
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That's not a gentle girl bowing to someone else's strength. That's someone who can't stop saying "Majesty Lemia" to his superior volunteering to help Mia, and Mia taking his love -
Image
- and then reframing it, so it's not a codependent relationship, but one where she quickly acknowledges that all of the friends who love her will have a role in her future leadership.
Image
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Imperial Knight » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:56 pm

Arlia wrote:I use the terminology because I do not have a single influence on my idea of what male and female is, and I see the terms used frequently. If you mean a reference to the "manosphere", I don't agree with them on very much. I hear the terms in several different places, mostly used in a joking manner.


The "manosphere" was one thing I had in mind, along with the "alt-right." Not that I think those terms are exclusive to those groups or anything, just I like to avoid such terminology because it's so popular among those groups that there's a strong association in my mind between that terminology and those groups. But it's more of a "I don't want to sound like them" thing and not a "if you use those terms, you're one of them" thing. I think my comment came across as more accusatory in tone than I intended.

Really though I don't find the terminology useful because it tends to refer to combinations of traits that, in my experience, aren't actually that well correlated.

Greco12 wrote:Oh, man. This discussion got really ugly while I was away. It makes me wish I never started this topic. :(


I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "ugly," as it could mean several different things in this context. I do think the discussion has been plenty civil, even if characterized by strong disagreements.

Sonic# wrote:I don't think Lunar has the traditional views on relationships that you do. To be clear, it does follow some traditional ideas of gender (which may or may not conform to ideas in your country or region), but I don't see the terms "alpha" and "beta" applying to them.


I pretty much agree with this. I doubt the creators of Lunar were thinking too much about gender roles when they created the game. Given the themes, it's more likely that they did think about the nature of relationships. In that sense I'd see the depiction of gender in Lunar as being influenced more by subconscious ideas and cultural norms and whatnot. Ultimately, like a lot of RPGs, it ends up subverting traditional gender roles in certain ways while upholding them in others.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:07 pm

Arlia wrote:If my views are ugly, you better stop enjoying Lunar so much, because it has traditional views of relationships, just like I do. No women are stronger than men in Lunar, and all women, at least at one point, get taken care of by a man. The characters ALL express that they want and enjoy this. What is ugly about that?
It's my view, as has been many other's the world over, that men are the heads of the family, because men GIVE provision and protection. They like it. Women GIVE life itself, and harmony, and are the backbone of the family. They need a great deal of strength for this. Just because it's not the same as what a man has, doesn't mean it's worthless. People have largely forgotten what it is to be female; that's why you keep assuming I don't think women are strong- it's simply that I don't think they have the same type of strength. But yes, strong they are. They must be.

I am fully aware that I will be for the most part disagreed with, because it's more popular today to assume that men and women are interchangeable, and can do identical jobs. Instead, I look at what they both bring to the table, and why. I find it much more satisfying. However, it's not like I hold it against someone if they feel otherwise.


Admittedly, this was a poor choice of words on my part. I probably should have just said it was awkward due to the whole alpha and beta discussion.

What's problematic with the guys being without the girls for one area? It made the dungeon more challenging to mix up the party. Kind of like the dungeon where you can't equip weapons and armor. Lunar was good as mixing it up like that.


I'd say it's more the way the game went about removing them. It makes them look unusually helpless considering how steadfast and capable they are throughout the rest of the game.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:16 pm

Sonic# wrote:There's no way to say that Vane as it appears in Lunar 2 is due to Mia at the end of Lunar 1. A thousand years is a long time for such a change to occur. For instance, it could have succeeded for a while only to later lapse into obscurity.

THIS. And I disagree about Lunar having overly traditional (ie Victorian, as there are other traditions worldwide) gender roles. When I think of games with dated depictions of Gender roles, I think of Xenogears, and then Final Fantasy IV. I don't want to get too side tracked, but the male protagonist in both of those games tells the female characters to leave before an important battle. Alex never says that to Jess and Mia (The sickness in Pao isn't Alex's fault, and is only temporary.) Also on Sega CD L1, Xenobia is a much more effective villain, who isn't only pining for Ghaleon, and does much of her own dirty work. Not to mention, the Althena religion on SCD L1 has preistesses, and on PS1/PSP L1 Phacia is the current high priestess. Women are in control, something a patriarchal religion wouldn't allow.

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Arlia
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Arlia » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:23 pm

Admittedly, nowhere is it implied that it's Mia's "fault" that Vane wasn't back up the next day, but, honestly, I was really, really surprised when I played Lunar 2 for the first time, only to discover that it had apparently never returned to it's former glory. That's a very sad thing, because in Lunar's world, Vane is a big deal, as it represents the keeper of and future betterment of the world's magic. Their love of magic and the forces that be are kept safe in Vane. Now, magic belongs to everyone in that world, but, it was nice to have it all kept nicely, and have an organized school. It is a travesty upon that world that it fell, and if Mia's heirs didn't return it in 1,000 years, there's a problem.
You could argue that maybe it was up for a time, but, that's very unlikely, seeing as the writers saw Lemina as Mia's daughter. There would be plenty of generations between them, but, 1,000 years is a long time to comprehend, and from what I understand, Lunar 2 was originally supposed to be a direct sequel featuring the descendants of the main characters. We never hear about Vane being restored in the meantime, so, I assume it wasn't, but, no, it never really says.

What I feel is missing from Vane is not male dominance, but, instead, proper male complimentarity. Unfortunately, my point about how I believe they work together is being misinterpreted as "men over women". Mia is gentle as her defining characteristic, but, this doesn't mean she isn't strong, too. The Ausas are a matriarchal dynasty in Lunar's world. This is interesting to explore, because the world is fictional, but, in real life terms, I'm not in favor of a society ruled solely by either men, or women. A matriarchy would be women over men, and Nash quite frankly humbles himself before her. Vane does not have a strong male in it, and is shown to eventually fall as a functional city, floating or not, throughout the series. Make of what whatever you want.

With the terms "alpha" and "beta", I used them because they're stereotypical terms. I wouldn't describe people in real life using them, but, Kyle and Nash demonstrate stereotypical aspects of male behavior; you know, because they're actually cartoons, and they need exaggerated features, including personality traits. I had no intention of throwing the conversation this far off by using them, but, I'm unfamiliar with their origin, and figured that I was using them properly by only making caricature comparisons. In real life, they would be more like insults, I would imagine. Heh, um, sorry about the confusion. I'm rather unfamiliar with them being taken 100% seriously. My apologies; I guess this speaks of my naivety about some things...

Shinto-Cetra wrote:Also on Sega CD L1, Xenobia is a much more effective villain, who isn't only pining for Ghaleon, and does much of her own dirty work. Not to mention, the Althena religion on SCD L1 has preistesses, and on PS1/PSP L1 Phacia is the current high priestess.


Again, you're confusing what I think of as traditional roles as today's version of a patriarchy, which is basically men dominating women, not lovingly taking care of them, and being reciprocated. Ghaleon seeks to dominate, or "take", and not give, and Alex seeks to care for ("give") of himself to the same goddess. Alex wins, therefore, that's what I believe Lunar is supporting.
Females do have some positions of authority, but, Xenobia, Phacia, and Royce represent The Vile Tribe. They're the bad guys, and they fail. Ghaleon is still the leader, who is, obviously, a bad man. Phacia meant well, and she has the best outcome, and she was friends with Alex over Ghaleon, and do you know why? She was the one who recognized Luna's personal moral strength, instead of trying to nullify it, like the others.
My position is not that women can't do anything. They're seen fighting and working, because those things need done. But, ultimately, the goddess is saved by a just man who intends to protect her, because it's satisfying for a man to do so. He wants to.

To better understand me, look at what I think the characters represent:

Luna: She is truly Althena, a goddess. In this world, the goddess is a very feminine, very nurturing entity that was responsible for creation; life. She doesn't protect herself, she gets protected.

Alex: He has an intense desire to love, protect, and make sure Luna is safe. He is, in some ways, more powerful than she is, because, as we see in PSP Harmony, even at full power, the goddess needs to be protected. She basically has no physical strength. She is relying on him. Yet, he owes his life to her; she's the reason he exists.

They are giving to one another.

Ghaleon: He seeks to dominate over the feminine force of creation that Luna holds. He doesn't care about her as a person, because she's not doing what he wants, and what he thinks is necessary. He was a priest once; he'd happily be more submissive towards her ultimate power if they agreed more. What he wants is what he feels is a more appropriate authority.

Every single human being wants to give and receive authority. BOTH men and women have authority. Just a different kind. How they give and receive is tied to their gender, in my eyes. But, it's the idea of them working together that I enjoy. As a woman myself, I realize that I have something very important inside of me, that no one can have, or even touch, unless I choose to give it to them. Alex goes on a quest to get the blessings of the 4 dragons to ensure that he is worthy of what Luna/Althena has to give, and the right to protect it.

Women are in control, something a patriarchal religion wouldn't allow.


Those three women you used in context take orders from Ghaleon, so, that's not really true. Although, Althenism certainly has room for female priests, and the standards seem to be pretty high.

Women kind of are, and kind of aren't in control in Lunar. Kind of like the men are kind of and kind of not in control. The only reason I think that a man should be a leader is because of their physical strength, and their inherent giving nature is one that is different than what a female has. Not every man makes a good leader, obviously. He has to be willing to give extensively of himself to be Dragon Master, to be able to have the right all of that authority, but, it's shown to be Alex's desire. And we're talking about ideals, here; it's not a 1:1 to life itself.

And actually, in ancient the Hebraic religion that eventually became Christianity, women were allowed to have a priest-like service, of sorts, by way of making a special promise that was quite costly, but, they got what they wanted. They were not denied something they wanted to give, even if they wouldn't be in the same league as a high priest. It was the Levite family of priests that were well known to have their men be required to do service, but, they were happy to do it, because it was a position of immense honor.

I'd say it's more the way the game went about removing them. It makes them look unusually helpless considering how steadfast and capable they are throughout the rest of the game.


I can see that, but, ALL of the women in the village were sick. It's not like they were only picking on the girl party members. If nothing else, it made you really understand how important they were to the party, especially if you happened to be under-leveled. You lost your healer, after all! In the Lunar Magic School spin off, the whole party is all girls, all the time, so, it's not like they never got theirs.

....I'm sorry if I bumble my way through this. Honesty, it's the first time I've ever discussed it with anyone. I really thought Lunar shows a variety of types of authority, but, ultimately, a union of the sort that I liked was present. That's about it.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Alunissage » Mon Sep 19, 2016 10:46 pm

Oh boy. I'm glad that other people have been replying, because it's pretty easy for me to write several pages of text on stuff like this and then decide it's too strongly worded or not organized enough and then never post it.

With respect to notions of complementary gender relationships, I get what you're saying and where you're coming from, but I can't agree with that degree of generalization. We only get a few snapshots of Lunar society, and those are leavened with a lot of sometimes juvenile humor that frequently depends on stereotypes (e.g., the people in the Seagull Tavern saying that Mel protects every man's right to be sexist). We see Lemia as a victim rather than as a strong leader, because that's what this particular plot required, and ditto for Miria -- but the Ausas as a matriarchal dynasty have to have been stronger than that or they wouldn't have stayed in power that way for hundreds of years. (Note that the 1000 year gap between L1 and L2 is a localization artifact; it's 500-600 years in the Japanese games.) Mel rules Meribia, but it's because he married into the nobility, and he took his wife's name. There's no indication that she wouldn't have been the dominant ruler if she'd lived longer.

I think some of the characterization suffered in SSS. Backstories and interactions were fleshed out, but the characters themselves were nudged in more stereotypical directions than in TSS. Examples:

- Mia takes the initiative to expose Xenobia by going to the Silver Spire to fetch the Mirror of Althena. She needs Alex's help because only the dragon ring can break the spell on the lowest floor, not because she needs him to give her backbone or muscle. (I think Nash is actually optional for that dungeon, but I need to replay it to check.) She's also more assertive in general than she was in SSS.
- Nash takes the initiative to work as a double agent in order to gain intelligence about the Frontier. He never actually betrays Alex and company, he only pretends to.
- Kyle was placed in charge of the Nanza barrier by Mel because Mel trusted and respected him. He wasn't just a drunken frat boy, and actually wasn't that much of that at all.
- Luna actively helps one of the girls escape in Ruid in order to get the key to Alex (and, of course, to get her back to her family). It's unclear how much scope she'd have for action at all, but she was able to do that much rather than just waiting passively.

And so on. All of these were pushed toward more stereotypical and more flawed characters in the remakes. Which probably worked better for plotting purposes but definitely weakened them as people. It's already been mentioned how Xenobia was broken into three people and suffered for it because that left her with almost nothing to do.

I think that's all I have energy for right this moment. I suppose in sum my argument here is that the structures and characters as originally conceived were sound enough, but took a turn for the worse when they were remade and expanded.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Arlia » Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:38 am

I understand what you're saying, but I understand what I sound like. That's why I've talked so much- this may be the only glimpse into gender roles as I see them that this group ever receives. My view is so unexpressed that I don't even have a proper vocabulary to talk about it with.
I'm sorry; there's nothing I can do about that. I'm working on it.

You seem to think that because I say "traditional", I mean that women can't be leaders, or they can't be strong, or they can't do the same things a man does. That isn't true at all.

The term "traditional" is up in the air right now, and I didn't originally come into the conversation using it. I actually find no consistent definition. I've been using it to indicate a solid differentiation between male and female, with separate but equally important jobs to perform. Today's term "progressive" seemingly seeks to make them absolutely interchangeable in terms of how they're perceived, and how they're expected to function. I don't find that it's working out, and I can't help noticing that Lunar would seemingly agree with me. That's the only reason I brought it up here.

The reason I think males make better leaders is because that's how they nurture. If you deprive them of that, it's like a mother being taken away from her babies. Does he have to lead? Well, no; it's not like he'll die. But, he'll be very unhappy. Good luck telling a woman who just found out she can't have children that, well, she doesn't need them to live. There are plenty of other things she can do to occupy herself.
It's not a bad thing that Mia is a leader, and if that's what Vane wants, fine. Mia is a responsible, caring woman. She'll do a good job. However, I do find it odd that Nash will have to be under her forever, then. To each their own, however, I wonder if he will come to suffer. He, too, shows that he wants to show his love by making sure she's okay.

The pain they feel being deprived of that is why I believe the "manosphere" groups were made. I believe they have females all wrong, but, it's not like even though they have a terrible attitude, and end up doing the wrong things, it means they're lying when they describe the experiences they've had in trying to court a woman. They're in agony, and they have no idea why.

Nowhere in any of their writings do you see them describe an ideal female. They don't know what it is. No one does. But, in Lunar, you see this sweet, caring girl turn into a goddess, harboring a power within her that she can't use to gain anything for herself, and she's saved from destruction by it by a gentle, and although quiet, morally upright boy that gave up his own strength that he worked hard for, to help her regulate it.* That's what I guess it would look like, in a sense of spiritual absolutes. Lunar doesn't reflect a 1:1 of this in every situation, but, Lunar's world behaves as though men want to take care of women, and women want to be taken care of ...On the outside. On in the inside, emotionally, the women are always taking care of the men. As much as a man defends a woman with his sword, she defends his very heart and soul, and is the sole keeper of it. In my world, everything is perfectly mirrored like that. It's kind of nice.

*On the flip side, I suppose this entire fiasco might have been able to have been avoided if Ghaleon had submitted to Xenobia's advances, stayed with a woman who wanted him, and they just decided to peacefully rule the ...fortress, I guess, and maybe reinstate the Vile Tribe into society using it, or something. Maybe they would have straightened each other out, maybe the heroes would have had to have returned to the fortress 6 months later, I don't know. Lunar 1.5: The Untold Story.

(Note that the 1000 year gap between L1 and L2 is a localization artifact; it's 500-600 years in the Japanese games.)


Oh, heh. I see. You'd know, you always do. :D

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:11 am

Arlia wrote:
Shinto-Cetra wrote:Also on Sega CD L1, Xenobia is a much more effective villain, who isn't only pining for Ghaleon, and does much of her own dirty work. Not to mention, the Althena religion on SCD L1 has preistesses, and on PS1/PSP L1 Phacia is the current high priestess.


Again, you're confusing what I think of as traditional roles as today's version of a patriarchy, which is basically men dominating women, not lovingly taking care of them, and being reciprocated. Ghaleon seeks to dominate, or "take", and not give, and Alex seeks to care for ("give") of himself to the same goddess. Alex wins, therefore, that's what I believe Lunar is supporting.
Females do have some positions of authority, but, Xenobia, Phacia, and Royce represent The Vile Tribe.


I guess we have different definitions of patriarchy. In regards to the Vile Tribe: I'm mainly talking about the SEGA CD version, where ithe Vile Tribe is led by ONLY Xenobia. (The Phacia comment was a different point, and was differentiated.) Basically, on SEGA CD (as you may know?) Ghaleon, Xenobia, and Taben in that order are the main villains. So Xenobia (only child) does much of her own dirty work, the Vile Tribe are free. From my (perhaps not yours) definition of a patriarchy, the Vile Tribe on SCD L1 wouldn't qualify. A racist/xenophobic state? Probably, judging from the human slaves. But not patriarchal.

Arlia wrote:*On the flip side, I suppose this entire fiasco might have been able to have been avoided if Ghaleon had submitted to Xenobia's advances, stayed with a woman who wanted him, and they just decided to peacefully rule the ...fortress, I guess, and maybe reinstate the Vile Tribe into society using it, or something. Maybe they would have straightened each other out, maybe the heroes would have had to have returned to the fortress 6 months later, I don't know. Lunar 1.5: The Untold Story.


To be fair there is some evidence for Ghaleon/Xenobia on the SEGA CD L1 (even more so in the Childhood's End manga). Not claiming it's canon, but possible.

Attempting to get this train back on the original track: I think Jess was overall a good character. She was independent, cool, funny etc. The one thing that struck me as odd was how Mia inherited Vane, but Jess never inherited Meribia. Maybe she inherited Meribia sometime after the main story? That would make a cool side story.


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