What is Canon?

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What is Canon?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:12 pm

In the LUNAR Telegram group we were discussing what exactly is Canon in the LUNAR series? There mangas, novels, and various games.

I'm pretty sure the games all cater to one universe.

Historically
Dragon Song
Magic School
Silver Star
Eternal Blue

But outside of the games and their remakes, what is true canon in LUNAR? Is there a true canon?

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Shiva Indis » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:53 am

That is a difficult question for this franchise, since the creators have shown little interest in endorsing remakes over originals or vise-versa. I suppose one could operate on the assumption that the creators favor the remakes.

It's all canon -- especially when two versions contradict each other.

Double-barreled canon.
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:06 pm

It is a difficult question. Personally and it's an opinion of mine I consider canon the final versions of each title. I guess in my case;

Dragon Song
Walking/Magic School
Silver Star Harmony
Eternal Blue Complete

Even with that logic there's still some things that aren't taken into consideration or are inadvertently removed. An example is that in Lunar Legend (the 2nd Silver Star "remake") Alex and Luna meet Nash at the beginning of the game in Burg, where Nash proclaims he's on a quest to become a Dragon Master and is with the party much earlier than the other Silver Star titles. However by my own opinion it doesn't fit into canon because it's not the final version of the Silver Star titles.

Ultimately though it doesn't really bother me what specifically is "canon" or not. If anything the discrepancies between the games make for trivia. Plus there's some things that I think were changed for the better in re: to what could be canon. Do we really want the Sega CD's Luna staying behind on Caldor Isle and never adventuring with Alex, or does the later titles where she travels to the mainland and experience more character development serve better for canon?

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Imperial Knight » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:49 am

I generally think the concept of canon as what actually happened is overemphasized by fans of most fictional works. In the particular case of Lunar I think Kei Shigema's explanation works well that one can think of it as a tale told by multiple storytellers who may remember things differently or choose to emphasize different parts of the story.
Last edited by Imperial Knight on Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:34 pm

Putting the other games aside, I've always thought of Silver Star Story Complete & Eternal Blue complete as canon in itself. Since they are both remakes, both explain events from the past, have returning characters,

The Silver Star & Eternal Blue (Canon in itself)
SSSC & EBC - (Canon in itself) (These two games have no baring on the original two)

As for Dragon Song and Magic School...I'm not sure where they would ultimately fit.

I do prefer Luna going on a mini adventure with you. It is interesting to point out the major differences of Nash in all 3 games. (Sega CD, PSX, and GBA)
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Sonic# » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:43 am

I would say any published game (yes, including Dragon Song) definitely qualifies as canon unless one of the developers says otherwise. (Kei Shigema's explanation as paraphrased by Imperial Knight gets at this.)

In addition, I would say that the manga and novels may also qualify as canon, as they tell a coherent story that fits Shigema's explanation for how the stories fit together. I'd have to think more about how to explain that, but in short I think Shigema establishes that thematic agreement between Lunar works is more important than agreement in every narrative detail.
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Alunissage » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:14 am

Then there's also the fun of when things are changed in translation, such as EB taking place 500ish years after TSS per the artbook but 1000 years in the translated game. There are a few instances Kizyr noted in his J->E differences posts where things were improved in translations/localizations, whether accidentally or intentionally. An obvious non-text example is the color of Althena's hair in the intro to Dragon Song; it was pink in the original game.

I think the tendency has been to treat the remakes of Lunar 1 (which don't contradict each other all that much) as being more canon than TSS. I personally prefer most things in TSS and am not really willing to call SSS more authoritative; I've gotten the impression that some of those changes were influenced by Akari Funato's view of the TSS characters (she mentions contributing ideas for the scene(s) of Althena's rebirth) and that she saw them differently from how I do. I'm thinking specifically of the Dyne/Ghaleon relationship here; from my multiple playthroughs of TSS -- which I can only read in translation, I should note -- before I knew any other games existed, I had the idea that Dyne was Ghaleon's senior in various ways, while in SSSC and in Funato's manga especially it's clear that she saw it the other way around. I really don't know if there was anything "canonic" in the games already released before she started creating content that supported the view of Ghaleon as being 100+ years old and a mentor to a reluctant Dyne.

(To be clear, I think Funato's work is thoughtful and excellent. It just starts from a basic premise that I didn't find in my own playthroughs, which were in translation. I don't know how much I brought to the table in that interpretation, either.)

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Shiva Indis » Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:40 am

Imperial Knight wrote:I generally think the concept of canon as what actually happened is overemphasized by fans of most fictional works.

Agreed.

But what if I told you that my Lunar 1 canon of choice is the novelizations, in which Kyle is a pirate captain with his own Dragonship?
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:16 pm

Thank you for all these opinions and stuff! A lot of interesting things here ^^
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Kizyr » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:26 pm

I'll start with what can be said most definitively and go from there.

First, the games are all canon, as far as statements by creators go regarding what really happened on Lunar and the Blue Star (unfortunately this includes Dragon Song, fortunately this includes Magic School).

Second, where this gets irritating is when games contradict -- either (a) translation differences, or (b) remakes changing things. For (a), I argue it's best to go with the Japanese versions (...even in cases where I think the US version is an improvement). For (b), what Imperial Knight paraphrased of Shigema is the best explanation we've ever gotten: these are legendary storied which change with retellings, and the story is more important than continuity or consistency.

As much as it bugs me, part of me likes this explanation. In reality, stories change over time, even true historical events present challenges when trying to figure out definitively what happened, and it's a direct way of freeing yourself to tell a good story despite continuity (and c'mon, comics do this all the time). ...unfortunately for Lunar, some of these stories aren't that good...

Third, the novels and manga got the OK from the creators of Lunar, but there's nothing said about them (that I'm aware of) to say they're canon. Personally, I'd like to take Vane Airship Story as true and eschew Childhood's End, but that's entirely personal preference (not regarding quality, but because of the ease of fitting them with TSS or EB). And the novels... except for Lemina's Novel, as much as I like them, I see them as just very unusual and not-too-accurate retellings of events. KF
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:28 pm

Imperial Knight wrote:I generally think the concept of canon as what actually happened is overemphasized by fans of most fictional works. In the particular case of Lunar I think Kei Shigema's explanation works well that one can think of it as a tale told by multiple storytellers who may remember things differently or choose to emphasize different parts of the story.


This 100%.

Kizyr wrote:Third, the novels and manga got the OK from the creators of Lunar, but there's nothing said about them (that I'm aware of) to say they're canon. Personally, I'd like to take Vane Airship Story as true and eschew Childhood's End, but that's entirely personal preference (not regarding quality, but because of the ease of fitting them with TSS or EB). And the novels... except for Lemina's Novel, as much as I like them, I see them as just very unusual and not-too-accurate retellings of events. KF


Here is how I explain Childhood's End being canon: Phacia and Royce COULD have existed in TSS. BUT they were not the same versions of the characters that we saw in the remakes. Royce could be a random encounter in the Grindery, as for Phacia: it's possible she never joined Ghaleon and Xenobia's war. She and maybe some like minded not-Xenophobic kin left or were exiled, then after the war they settled down with Humans, which is how Alice was born. That is how I retcon CE into the SCD continuity, which I prefer. Obviously my explanation itself is not canon, but it explains how they can be integrated.

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:34 am

I don't want to discuss the "what ifs" and "coulds" though...I want to discuss what we already have available. The facts and what makes canon with those facts. We could discuss "what ifs" and coulds" all day lmao! We are the most popular LUNAR fans out there! :P
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Kizyr » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:12 pm

ShugoHanasaki wrote:I don't want to discuss the "what ifs" and "coulds" though...I want to discuss what we already have available. The facts and what makes canon with those facts. We could discuss "what ifs" and coulds" all day lmao! We are the most popular LUNAR fans out there! :P

Yeah that's the reason why I restrict "official" canon just to the games, not even the manga (as much as I like most of them). Though to make it easier... I kind of ignore everything after SSSC and EBC. There's not a lot in Lunar Legend or Silver Star Harmony that adds much interesting (even the Princes of the Black Star stuff -- like, they set it up and just completely forgot about anything it meant the rest of the game), and Dragon Song adds trivia but nothing interesting of substance at best.

I should clarify: I still consider them canon, just not very interesting canon. Like on a scale of 1 to White Dragon Cannon they rate at about a poisoned dung beetle.

Shinto-Cetra wrote:Royce could be a random encounter in the Grindery, as for Phacia: it's possible she never joined Ghaleon and Xenobia's war. She and maybe some like minded not-Xenophobic kin left or were exiled, then after the war they settled down with Humans, which is how Alice was born. That is how I retcon CE into the SCD continuity, which I prefer. Obviously my explanation itself is not canon, but it explains how they can be integrated.

Honestly that's a really good retcon... I'm tempted to adopt it myself for the sake of internal consistency. Definitely less headache-inducing. KF

EDIT: Wait wait wait wait wait... I just got to thinking how much heavier it makes everything if you go with the "Royce could've been a random encounter" line. Like, you waste some randomly-encountered demon in the Grindery and turns out they're really a critical character with a huge backstory you just never got into because of time. So any random character could have the same tremendous backstory. And really, that probably should be the case for every random encounter, right?

I remember a fanfic way back like 20 years ago, where the writer made the "cute sidekick" character an Ambush monster. I like the decision, but then, well, that kind of implies that any Ambush you ran across could've been tamed and become a loving pet for someone else.

(Point of note: I keep doing this while playing Shadowrun now, since the vast majority of enemies you fight are other people.) KF
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby ShugoHanasaki » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:40 pm

I've often thought of SSSC and EBC being or TSS & EB being the most canon as well.
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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Alunissage » Fri Jun 22, 2018 3:16 am

I tend to keep the things I like from the non-games (meaning, the things I think could fit into the games' continuity) and ignore the things I can't. That's just my personal approach, used for when I think about trying to fill in the less-specified parts of Lunar history.

I know I had something for how the prologue of SSH could fit in, but at heart: we're watching a visualization of a story being told to Alex and Luna as kids. It could have been embellished a bit. Still, it does somewhat fit with what the students in the lefthand Vane academy tell Alex about the Four Heroes (that Althena's human form grew weak and a demigod arose.)

While I think Dragon Song's story needs some fixing up, there are a couple of interesting ways that it relates to the other games. One, it might be Althena's first time living as a human -- and the naivety that both she and the dragons show in selecting Ignatius could be a thing she thought further iterations as a human would help mitigate. That is, she's better at selecting Dragonmasters by the time of the Four Heroes (in TSS, and maybe in SSSC, a NPC says that they heard that Dyne and Ghaleon competed with each other to become Dragonmaster, and Dyne won by a narrow margin). She understands humans better.

Two, there are definite similarities between Ignatius's actions and Zophar's. I'll have to find my notes to expand on that, though.

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Temzin » Fri Jun 22, 2018 4:03 am

Shiva Indis wrote:But what if I told you that my Lunar 1 canon of choice is the novelizations, in which Kyle is a pirate captain with his own Dragonship?
This is the only true Lunar canon! And wasn't Magic City Althena some sort of space rocket? It's so nutty that it must be authoritative.

I'm going to muddy the canon discussion with a different proposal that's centered on the games as individual pieces of art, rather than as part of a "franchise" that a given company tells us is unified based on the idea that they continue to publish it: the only true canon can be drawn from the original creators. This pushes any post-Studio Alex production out of the picture (sorry (I'm not sorry), Genesis and Harmony of Silver Star). Much like a Star Wars book or the post-Lucas movies, everything else is just glorified fanfiction if you're looking at it from a position of artistic integrity.

And the only fanfiction I have any time for involves the Mysterious Masked White Knight (who is not Leo), Ramus' buddy Fulari, and the irritating Kakaar.

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Re: What is Canon?

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:08 pm

Kizyr wrote:
Shinto-Cetra wrote:Royce could be a random encounter in the Grindery, as for Phacia: it's possible she never joined Ghaleon and Xenobia's war. She and maybe some like minded not-Xenophobic kin left or were exiled, then after the war they settled down with Humans, which is how Alice was born. That is how I retcon CE into the SCD continuity, which I prefer. Obviously my explanation itself is not canon, but it explains how they can be integrated.

Honestly that's a really good retcon... I'm tempted to adopt it myself for the sake of internal consistency. Definitely less headache-inducing. KF

EDIT: Wait wait wait wait wait... I just got to thinking how much heavier it makes everything if you go with the "Royce could've been a random encounter" line. Like, you waste some randomly-encountered demon in the Grindery and turns out they're really a critical character with a huge backstory you just never got into because of time. So any random character could have the same tremendous backstory. And really, that probably should be the case for every random encounter, right?

I remember a fanfic way back like 20 years ago, where the writer made the "cute sidekick" character an Ambush monster. I like the decision, but then, well, that kind of implies that any Ambush you ran across could've been tamed and become a loving pet for someone else.

(Point of note: I keep doing this while playing Shadowrun now, since the vast majority of enemies you fight are other people.) KF


I haven't written a non-comedic fanfic in years, but you've inspired me to get back to it and write one describing the events of TSS from the viewpoint of a random Mazoku shocktrooper/warrior/mage (basically a random battle enemy.) Actually maybe I could make it comedic. "All Quiet on the Vile Front" sounds like a good title lol. I'm going to try at the very least.

ShugoHanasaki wrote:I don't want to discuss the "what ifs" and "coulds" though...I want to discuss what we already have available. The facts and what makes canon with those facts. We could discuss "what ifs" and coulds" all day lmao! We are the most popular LUNAR fans out there! :P


That's not the point. I'm describing *one way* Childhood's End can be compatible with the SCD games canon. The theory itself is just an example, I'm sure more can be thought of. And unless GameArts comes out and says "XYZ Lunar work isn't canon" Star Wars style, it's canon. Multiverses exist in many forms of fiction, eg DC comics, Transformers, etc. And even they did, Studio Alex has since disbanded, so I wouldn't believe it anyway. That's how I rationalize my personal canon of Final Fantasy VII: I don't care what Square-Enix says, most of the original staff is gone, so the original FF7 and the Maiden who Travels the Planet novella are all I consider canon, the tone of everything since has been different and worse.

Remember when the Roman Empire conquered the Egyptians, Greeks, etc, and their deities joined the Roman Pantheon? That's retconning right there! They acquired the "rights" (through military prowess rather than money) to use Isis, Osiris, Zeus, etc. Some names were changed, Zeus became Jupiter (or equated with him the very least), Isis was originally Aset from what we know of ancient Kemetic, and the Romans depicted her completely differently than the Egyptians. Nowadays money and corporations haves replaced military prowess and Civilizations as the instrument of retconning. But its all meaningless in the end as far as I'm concerned. People can believe what they want, don't let empires or corporations dictate what you think is canon.


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