Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

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Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:04 am

This is probably going to be awkward coming from someone whose avatar is an image of Jessica, but here goes.

I've been doing some thinking on this, and it's really bothering me. For starters, let me go over the positives. Jessica has a very strong upbeat personality and spends a lot of time dressing down people for doing/saying stupid things throughout the game. Despite her fierce temper, she genuinely has a heart of gold and is willing to help those in need (even the Vile Tribe). In addition to being the best healer in the game, she's the only mage who can do combos, she has the highest defense, and she's only mage who is useful in dealing physical damage. When you regain her after the Black Dragon Fortress (assuming she's only a level behind the boys), her HP and MP are roughly on par with Nash's. This means she would have higher HP and MP than Nash if she were the same level. Most of her base stats are on par with Alex's, who is a purely physical attacker. Despite being a white mage, her defense and attack power rival that of the purely physical attackers. She even has skill piloting flying machines such as hot-air balloons (yes, she accidentally crashed it, but she showed aptitude before then) and airships. Considering her father was formerly a pirate, it's safe to assume she could steer a ship as well.

That being said, it feels like they didn't go far enough (or even know what to do) with her character. most of the scenes centered around Jessica are about building up Kyle instead of her or about her trying to rekindle her romance with him. Although she does have a conversation with Alex and co. at her mansion about not wanting to show her tomboyish side to her father, the game doesn’t go in depth on her dilemma over her struggle with identity after she joins you for the real adventure to save Luna. Honestly, one could argue that her relationship with Kyle is more closely tied to Kyle's arc since his arc is all about growing out of his fratboy phase and accepting some responsibility, which includes admitting he's in love with Jessica. Most of his key scenes has him saving her or coming close to admitting his feelings before brushing her off and telling her to leave him alone (Myght's Tower before Nash betrays the party).

The scene that bothers me is the Pao/Black Dragon Fortress portion of the game. Jessica gets sick along with Mia and Fresca, and you reunite with them just as they're about to go out looking for you, killing any agency they might have had.

All in all, it seems like the writers treated her as an afterthought compared at least to Mia and Nash, although Kyle's not much more developed than she is.

So, what are your thoughts on Jessica's characterization and/or in-story treatment? Do you think the writers successfully created a strong female character (at least for the period in which Lunar 1 was made), or did they not go far enough?

Sorry about this long-winded post, but, as someone whose favorite character in Lunar 1 is Jessica despite the issues I listed above, I really needed to get this off of my chest! ^^
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Nobiyuki77 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 2:02 am

1 vote for a missed opportunity. She starts as a strong female character but then they bring her down so that Kyle can be built up... if you can call it being built up. Honestly whenever I replay Silver Star I always find that Kyle is the weakest link story-wise. He not only adds very little other than just adding another male to the group, but ends up stealing Jessica's potential for kick-ass moments.

Eternal Blue handled this much better with Jean by dumping the forced love-interest, which allowed her to have a real arc of her own.
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Grefyrvos » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:03 am

Definitely in the "missed opportunity" category. In fact, despite the fact that Nash/Mia/Kyle do get some characterization and in-story treatment, I'd be willing to go so far as to say that the majority of them feel like missed opportunities for the most part. (And then you factor in Tempest and Fresca, etc.)

The game is fundamentally Alex's (and, by proxy, Luna's) story, and, despite the fact that the tale told in that department is one of the classic JRPG tales, it's kind of disconcerting that everyone outside of those two partially gets the shaft developmentally.
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:13 am

I was afraid of that...

Nobiyuki77 wrote:1 vote for a missed opportunity. She starts as a strong female character but then they bring her down so that Kyle can be built up... if you can call it being built up. Honestly whenever I replay Silver Star I always find that Kyle is the weakest link story-wise. He not only adds very little other than just adding another male to the group, but ends up stealing Jessica's potential for kick-ass moments.

Eternal Blue handled this much better with Jean by dumping the forced love-interest, which allowed her to have a real arc of her own.


While Kyle does accept some sort of responsibility at the end, one line that sticks out is his line that "The thief business always seems to pull me back in." This seems to suggest that he might go back to being a thief if nothing else works out.

Incidentally, the original plan for Lunar 2 was to bring back Lunar 1's characters, and if the storyboards in the Lunar I and II art books are any indication, Kyle hasn't changed at all. He goes to a bar and gets drunk despite Jessica's protests. Maybe it's for the best that we never saw any more adventures of Alex and co.

It's also pretty egregious that Lunar Legend and SSH did nothing to rectify these issues (and actually made them worse like I said in my original post), and it's probably one reason why Lunar has become kind of irrelevant in the current video game scene. Making more changes for the better to the story and adding more depth to the characters would probably help it.

All this aside, I'm now more eager to check out Lunar 2, especially Jean's arc. And from what I understand, the other party members in Lunar 2 have their own arcs as well that aren't tied to romances (well, I've heard Ronfar has a girlfriend, but she never joins the party, so that shouldn't be an issue).

Grefyrvos wrote:Definitely in the "missed opportunity" category. In fact, despite the fact that Nash/Mia/Kyle do get some characterization and in-story treatment, I'd be willing to go so far as to say that the majority of them feel like missed opportunities for the most part. (And then you factor in Tempest and Fresca, etc.)

The game is fundamentally Alex's (and, by proxy, Luna's) story, and, despite the fact that the tale told in that department is one of the classic JRPG tales, it's kind of disconcerting that everyone outside of those two partially gets the shaft developmentally.


I agree that Kyle, Tempest and Fresca count as missed opportunities, but I felt Mia and Nash were pretty well-fleshed out. My biggest reservation about Mia's arc is that it's largely dependent on Nash, the arrogant but cowardly mage who betrays the party temporarily, supporting her (she admits this to him after they lose to Ghaleon). It's worth noting that Kei Shigema's favorite character is Mia**, which is probably why she gets proportionately more development than Kyle and Jess.

*Lunar 1 has this problem in spades. Women are usually presented as one of the two: damsels and nags. Luna definitely suffers from the latter moreso than Jessica (in Jessica's case, she's dressing down people who deserve it), since she comes off a boring bossy parent to Alex. It's kinda sad that Lunar 1 has such a paternalistic view of women, especially considering it seemed to think it was being pro-woman. Kind of a "have cake; eat cake" situation.
**I hope I'm not the only one who gets the impression that Mia was intended as the game's equivalent of the perfect little Japanese waifu, what with her completely mousey and passive demeanor.
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Alunissage » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:01 am

You haven't played TSS, right? The characters are slightly different there. I don't recall Mia being nearly so shy and introverted, and Nash betrays the party only as part of a plan to gain intelligence from Xenobia. Kyle is well-respected by Mel as well as his men. The characters are all less fleshed-out, of course, because there's just less text in the game (and only one character portrait per person except for Alex/DM Alex), but they're less, I dunno, angsty. More grown-up. This may be why the issues you describe with Jessica haven't bothered me, because my conception of the characters already existed from years of TSS. (Disclosure: I haven't played most of SSH in English yet, so only saw the cooking scene in Japanese, a language I do not read.)

I don't like boiling characters down to type in any case. Of course, it helps that TSS was the first RPG I played (and I don't watch anime), so the characters were always individuals to me rather than types.

Also, you may not be aware that various backstory was created which didn't always make it into the games. Jessica and Kyle go way back, for example, to childhood when Jessica snuck out of the mansion disguised as a boy and scrapped with Kyle before making friends. There are allusions to some of this, I think in a scene in Legend and some bits of dialogue, but most of it isn't in the games. (It's in the notes in the Japanese TSS guides.)

Incidentally, I never thought of Jessica as a "mage", probably because, as noted, I didn't come to the series after playing other games that established roles for characters. Priests in Lunar are healers who draw on Althena's power (this is made fairly explicit in Lunar 2) , not mages, and there's nothing preventing them from being fighters as well. One of the most annoying changes from TSS to SSSC (and consequently propagated to LL and SSH) is the extreme curtailment of magic spells to a maximum of 8 per character, which also forced some "redistricting" of magic. The escape from dungeons spell was Mia's, not Jessica's, in TSS, for example. Mia and Alex also have healing spells (Alex is explicitly a magic-user) and so Jessica is as likely to fight as to heal. The magic system in SSS (which was based on EB's, but EB's has more flexibility) is streamlined and organized, but it forces characters into roles that were not necessarily part of their original character.

I feel I had more to say, but have forgotten it now in the interest of looking at stats tables.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:47 am

I haven't played TSS, but from watching gameplay videos and looking at Lunar.net's screenshot gallery, there are certain things that come off better than in the remake. Mia actually seems more assertive (she calls Nash a jerk while they're in Meryod), and Jessica smacks one of the creeps in Meryod (as opposed to just running to Alex for help in SSSC). Also, the Pao curse scene is slightly less egregious because although Jessica eventually succumbs to the sickness, she remains conscious at first and says she'll tend to Mia while the boys are gone, rather than collapsing before anyone else. She comes off a little stronger that way. Also, she and Mia do end up participating in the Black Dragon boss fight (although the way the story plays out is way different than in SSSC).

I like the idea of Kyle having enough of Mel's trust that Mel would put him in charge of the Nanza barrier. It would provide some explanation for why his men would look up to him as a leader.

I have read the character backstories you mentioned, and I really wish they had worked more of them into the script. I remember in the Lunar novels Jessica asks Kyle at one point if he remembers the promise he made when they were kids (to take her on adventures around the world iirc). Maybe they could have had Jessica use that memory to bring Kyle out of his depression after the party loses to Ghaleon the first time instead of her just nagging him and calling him weak ("Remember that childhood promise you made about traveling the world? If Ghaleon has his way, we won't have a world to explore."). It honestly would have made for a touching moment.

I only use the term "white mage" because I've heard it applied to healing classes in some games, like Final Fantasy. Giving Alex healing spells definitely would have helped in the Black Dragon Fortress. I guess they wanted to streamline the amount of spells for each character, but it sounds like they made each character too overspecialized. Nash definitely suffers from this problem because he's dependent on lightning spells for damage. I am at least glad they kept the combat medic aspect of Jessica's character for SSSC, since it fits her personality well and it's one of the positive attributes she has despite getting shafted so often.
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Angelalex242 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:55 pm

Jessica was trying to be Jean and never quite gets there. She's supposed to be the badass female of the first game. Kyle's maturity post game is also abrupt...(Then again, the idea he's still in bars in Lunar 2 is actually quite realistic of alcoholics and would set up grounds for a Kyle/Jess divorce.)

It's not what the developers intended, perhaps, but if you look at Jessica as a girl struggling with her boyfriend being an alcoholic who will not go to AA meetings thank you, perhaps she comes off a little better.

Meanwhile, Lunar 2's books suggest Nash and Mia basically spent the rest of their lives trying to rebuild Vane...and failing rather miserably. That must've been a fairly depressing life.

It makes some sense that Luna's so parental though. That's the Goddess friggin' Althena in mortal form, with the experience and wisdom of millennia, who apparently retains enough foresight to know Hiro's going to be the man for Lucia. So yeah, she bosses Alex around...cause hey, being the Goddess is bound to give her some natural bossiness. Althena shows some of the same bossiness as Lucia Collins, so Dragon Song was consistent with this. Also, she's got this thing about humans being 'too dependent on her', which sounds much like a mom wanting to kick her kids out of the house and go be grownups. You might also be forgiven for thinking the job of the 4 Dragons is to act as a dating service for Althena. "You must be at least this awesome in order to be Althena's man." Between Dyne and Jian (possibly even Ignatius as abusive boyfriend?), their job seems to be 'find her a date.'
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:31 pm

It's funny, because despite the writer's attempts at sidelining Jessica, she still comes off as a stronger character and a better person than Kyle. I get the feeling she's still the one calling the shots in their relationship, since he can't seem to commit. She never loses her feisty side, and still continues to dress people down for being jerks/idiots and even trash talks bosses pre-battle (like the fight with Xenobia).

Well, I guess Mia never really built up any confidence after all. So much for her moments of awesome (slapping Nash and destroying the Grindery's shield). And now I actually feel bad for Nash. Now I'm even more glad they didn't make Lunar 2 about Alex and co, since it probably would have been showing how all their lives had gone to crap. Based on the concept art in the Lunar I & II art book, only Alex and Luna have gotten better (having more or less grown up to be Disney prince and princess couple respectively).
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Alunissage » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:29 pm

I think you're reading too much into the artbook illustrations there. I mean, there are several showing the girls as performers or pageant contestants, and I'm pretty sure that wouldn't have been in the game. The only drawings that really show what future versions might be are the ones of Alex, Luna, and Mia.

I wouldn't say that Nash and Mia failed to restore Vane. They didn't get it to float again, that's true. But I don't think that reflects badly on them -- it almost certainly floated from Althena's power (and it took Althena's power to knock it out of the sky, too), and they wouldn't have access to that. But they would've rebuilt the city and the Guild. Lunar 2 takes place 500-600 years (or 1000 years, in the US version) in the future; that's plenty of time for people other than Nash and Mia to let things go.

And I really don't think there's reason to consider Althena as needing a consort as SOP. Really, Angelalex. :P But I think we've argued about this before.

N.b., I'm pretty sure Jessica enjoys a beer (or peach soda in LL) as much as Kyle. I think the implication is that he only actually gets dead drunk when they've had a bad falling-out. And Jessica does refer to him as her "former boyfriend" in her Lann introduction scene, so it's no wonder he's upset. Have you talked to him before his intro scene? He's all maudlin with things like "But I only held her hand, Jethy..."

Here's something from my really sketchy notes on TSS:
After Pao is healed, Kyle tells a NPC that "as long as we're around, the bad dudes had better watch out!" If Jess is not yet in the party, Nall inquires if Kyle's including himself in that category; after Jess joins, she's the one asking "Um...Kyle...have you forgotten that most people consider thieves 'bad?'" Similarly, the family of mother and two sons in the lower right tent has slightly different dialogue: before Jess rejoins, the formerly sick brother asks where the nice lady is; after she rejoins, he declares that he'll never be scared again and Jess kisses him, while Kyle complains that he doesn't get attention like that.

I always read that last bit as Kyle just being relaxed and jocular about their relationship. But then, he only has one character portrait, so of course he's saying it with a smile.

Oh, and here's the text from when Jessica talks him back into fighting Ghaleon:

Jessica: Kyle, this is not the Kyle I know! The Kyle I know would never bury his problems in a drink! This is the lowest… I wish I'd never met you…
Kyle: How can you say that? I've helped you get this far!
Jess: Only to turn your back on us when it really counts! / ...You make me sick!
Kyle: You know…hiccup…you're right! Death or no, I've got to see this thing through!
(joins)
No problem…hiccup...I just need…hiccup…some coffee!
Nall: I think he's well beyond the point of being helped by a pot of coffee…

So, yeah, if she's to be believed, he's definitely not as prone to getting drunk in that game as in SSSC. Well, SSS borked a lot of characterization. >_<

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Alunissage » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:39 pm

Here's a link to a thread of similar discussion, which might be of interest:

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=3313

(It's kind of funny to realize that G1 and Kizyr have both gotten married since then... especially since the proposal the latter refers to was a months-long April Fools' joke at the time, which became real a couple of years later.)

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:47 pm

Alunissage wrote:Here's something from my really sketchy notes on TSS:
After Pao is healed, Kyle tells a NPC that "as long as we're around, the bad dudes had better watch out!" If Jess is not yet in the party, Nall inquires if Kyle's including himself in that category; after Jess joins, she's the one asking "Um...Kyle...have you forgotten that most people consider thieves 'bad?'" Similarly, the family of mother and two sons in the lower right tent has slightly different dialogue: before Jess rejoins, the formerly sick brother asks where the nice lady is; after she rejoins, he declares that he'll never be scared again and Jess kisses him, while Kyle complains that he doesn't get attention like that.

I always read that last bit as Kyle just being relaxed and jocular about their relationship. But then, he only has one character portrait, so of course he's saying it with a smile.


I think Kyle and Jessica's relationship in SSSC would have benefited from more playful teasing and less "at-each-other's-throats" moments like their argument after the encounter with Xenobia in the Talon Mines.

On that note, the way the Pao arc plays out in the remakes is a lot more problematic. In TSS, Mia collapses, but Jess doesn't. The latter offers to look after the former until the men get back, which makes sense because she's a priestess. She comes off a little bit stronger and altruistic here because she's willing to stay behind and help an ailing friend even though she's already in danger of succumbing to the illness herself. When the men get back after beating the Inca god, both girls have unsurprisingly taken a turn for the worse and have to be revived.

In SSSC, however, Jess is the first to collapse, followed by Mia. Considering it was a remake, couldn't they have let at least Jessica stay in the party?
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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Kizyr » Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:02 am

Wow thanks for reviving the spirit of deep Lunar conversations {^^}. It's been a while. ...and unfortunately since I'm short on time right now, I might have to wait before offering a longer response.

Most of what I have in mind has already been said, but I do want to point out one thing: both Jessica and Ronfar follow something of a "cleric" archetype (similar to the US, D&D influenced a lot of Japanese fantasy, and worked its way into RPG setups from Final Fantasy onwards). That is, the classic cleric is someone who can heal, but also take hits like a tank and deal out strong one-shot damage if they get into close range.

But, that just describes the game mechanics. Everything else about the deeper aspects of Jessica's character -- her relationship with her father, tomboyish personality, interactions with Kyle, etc. -- are another thing entirely. I do feel SSS shortchanged her a bit, mostly in the sense that it started down the path of really expanding her characterization beyond what it was in TSS, but stopping short of really fleshing it out. Namely, what it felt like she really lacked was an arc, a change -- she's kind of the same person at the end as she was at the beginning.

Wish I could go on, but it's late right now. If I have more thoughts I'll chime in later.

Alunissage wrote:(It's kind of funny to realize that G1 and Kizyr have both gotten married since then... especially since the proposal the latter refers to was a months-long April Fools' joke at the time, which became real a couple of years later.)

Oh wow... Yeah that is actually really funny. KF

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:10 pm

Kizyr wrote:I do feel SSS shortchanged her a bit, mostly in the sense that it started down the path of really expanding her characterization beyond what it was in TSS, but stopping short of really fleshing it out. Namely, what it felt like she really lacked was an arc, a change -- she's kind of the same person at the end as she was at the beginning.


How do you feel about Jessica's conclusion that she's never had to hide who she is from her father because, as she says, she inherited the blood of both her pirate father and her noblewoman mother? Do you think she's telling the truth or was this just badly worded? The part that bothers me is "I've never had to hide anything from him," even though she expressed concern over him knowing about her rough side.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Alunissage » Fri Dec 25, 2015 1:17 am

I don't remember the line in context, but if it's to be read as it says, it suggests that she's realized that she didn't have to live this double life all this time, that her father could handle it. I mean, she's realizing now that she didn't have to do it then.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:39 am

Alunissage wrote:I don't remember the line in context, but if it's to be read as it says, it suggests that she's realized that she didn't have to live this double life all this time, that her father could handle it. I mean, she's realizing now that she didn't have to do it then.


For context the full quote is:

"My dad has never forced me to do anything, not once... And I've never had to hide who I am from him! When I'm outside, I run wild and free ...and when I'm inside, I behave as a lady should. My father was a pirate, and my mother a noble woman... I have inherited the blood of both my beloved parents! My father understands this...and so do my friends! No one has ever held me back from being myself!"


The parts that throw me off are "I've never had to hide who I am from him!" and "My father understands this."* I guess she's saying that the polite and ladylike act she puts on in front of her father is really just the side she inherited from her mother and also part of her true personality? Then there's this exchange from the novels (possibly questionable/contradictory parts highlighted):

Mel: Besides, you're the only one who could ever take care of a tomboy like Jessica.
Jessica: Huh? But... how...?

Jessica was surprised by her father's words. That was the first time Mel had ever let on that he knew about Jessica's adventurous spirit; she'd always put on a perfectly innocent manner in front of him. But...

Mel: Don't think light of your old man, Jessica. Gah hah hah!

Mel gave a joyous laugh from the bottom of his heart.

Mel: There's no use changing. You really are the daughter of one of the Four Heroes. I don't mind at all! Hah hah hah!

Kyle shrugged his shoulders, and let out a little laugh.

Jessica: Ah hah, so I guess I don't have to act completely innocent anymore.


Is this contradicting what she said earlier about her polite and ladylike side being part of her true self, or does this just mean that she'll still be a "proper lady," only she won't have to play the Daddy's girl anymore?

And how does she know her father understands her inheriting the blood of her pirate father and noble woman mother? If you talk to her enough times at Mel's mansion at the end, she expresses surprise at her dad knowing about her having adventures behind her back. So does this mean everything she said before the fight with Xenobia was one big lie?

Or am I just overthinking all of this?

*A few LPers have actually written Jessica's speech as one big lie because of these statements. It's worth noting the novels omit these two statements.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Kizyr » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:28 am

Greco12 wrote:
Kizyr wrote:I do feel SSS shortchanged her a bit, mostly in the sense that it started down the path of really expanding her characterization beyond what it was in TSS, but stopping short of really fleshing it out. Namely, what it felt like she really lacked was an arc, a change -- she's kind of the same person at the end as she was at the beginning.

How do you feel about Jessica's conclusion that she's never had to hide who she is from her father because, as she says, she inherited the blood of both her pirate father and her noblewoman mother? Do you think she's telling the truth or was this just badly worded? The part that bothers me is "I've never had to hide anything from him," even though she expressed concern over him knowing about her rough side.

That does sort of bug me. I mean, the arc they were going for was that Jessica finally accepted who she was, and that she shouldn't have to hide herself anymore -- that much I think is where she's telling the truth, and is a good development for her as a character. The part that I think is poorly-worded is where she doesn't draw the distinction between acting ladylike and hiding who she is in front of her father -- a good resolution for her arc is for her to drop one (hiding who she is) and accept the other (acting ladylike) as part of her character, alongside the determined and tomboyish nature, of course.

In other words, she has three things: a fighter personality, a noble personality, and a side that hides one of those two (the fighter) from her father. Her character arc should resolve in that it accepts the first two and drops the third ("I don't have to hide who I am anymore"). But a lot of the games -- and I actually think Lunar: Legend is the worst at this -- get confused on that point and can't decide if she "doesn't have to hide who I am", or if "who I am in front of my father is also part of my personality". So, I don't think her character arc was bad so much as it got a little muddled in some of the dialogue. (Those are also the same parts that you say throw you off, it seems.)

Greco12 wrote:Is this contradicting what she said earlier about her polite and ladylike side being part of her true self, or does this just mean that she'll still be a "proper lady," only she won't have to play the Daddy's girl anymore?

And how does she know her father understands her inheriting the blood of her pirate father and noble woman mother? If you talk to her enough times at Mel's mansion at the end, she expresses surprise at her dad knowing about her having adventures behind her back. So does this mean everything she said before the fight with Xenobia was one big lie?

I looked it up, and the original line that I translated as "Ah hah, so I guess I don't have to act completely innocent anymore." is 「あははっ、いままでネコかぶってて損しちゃったわ。トホホ」. The phrase implies that she was mistaken in pretending like she wasn't doing anything wrong/mischievous (or behind Mel's back), so it isn't about her acting ladylike. I think the novels are a bit more consistent about her character arc (which is odd, because honestly the novels are weird in how they change the characters).

It really doesn't seem like everything she said before was wrong because of this, however. I mean, Jessica is supposed to be a teenager, and really teenagers often underestimate how much they're keeping successfully hidden from their parents (speaking from personal experience here). It actually wasn't surprising to me that (a) Mel knew what Jessica was up to, and (b) Jessica mistakenly thought she was keeping everything successfully hidden from Mel. By the end, Mel can be honest with Jessica that he knows, and Jessica can be honest with Mel of what she's up to when she's out of the mansion.

...I actually don't get why people would think of Jessica's speech as a lie, though? KF

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 6:17 am

Kizyr wrote:The part that I think is poorly-worded is where she doesn't draw the distinction between acting ladylike and hiding who she is in front of her father -- a good resolution for her arc is for her to drop one (hiding who she is) and accept the other (acting ladylike) as part of her character, alongside the determined and tomboyish nature, of course.


The "I've never had to hide who I am" part was indeed what was throwing me off, and your post has definitely helped to clear up the issues I was having with her speech. I think her speech could have been better worded as something like "I don't have to hide who I am from him anymore!" and "My rough side and my ladylike side are the real me."

The other part that was throwing me off, "My father understands [that I've inherited the blood of both my beloved parents]," is probably her way of saying her father could in fact handle her having a tomboyish side in addition to her ladylike one.

Kizyr wrote:I looked it up, and the original line that I translated as "Ah hah, so I guess I don't have to act completely innocent anymore." is 「あははっ、いままでネコかぶってて損しちゃったわ。トホホ」. The phrase implies that she was mistaken in pretending like she wasn't doing anything wrong/mischievous (or behind Mel's back), so it isn't about her acting ladylike. I think the novels are a bit more consistent about her character arc (which is odd, because honestly the novels are weird in how they change the characters).


Skimming through the novel summaries, I noticed the novels gave her more opportunities to be ladylike outside of her time spent in her father's presence, so if nothing else, it does manage to help drive home the point that her ladylike side is part of who she really is. In the games, she doesn't show it as often (at least not outside of Mel's mansion). However, one could argue that her extending a helping hand to those in need (the villagers of Lann and the Vile Tribe in the Talon Mines) and her berating Kyle for his crude behavior (belching loudly in public and making sex jokes) are part of her noble woman side.

Kizyr wrote:...I actually don't get why people would think of Jessica's speech as a lie, though? KF


I'd say it's misinterpretation of the "I've never had to hide anything from him" line as meaning "I've never hidden my true self from him."

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:32 am

Just for further reference, I managed to get some screen grabs of the Japanese script of Jessica's speech (in order from left to right, top to bottom) off a play through I found on niconico.

Image

And reposting for further comparison, the quote from the Working Designs localization.

"My dad has never forced me to do anything, not once... And I've never had to hide who I am from him! When I'm outside, I run wild and free ...and when I'm inside, I behave as a lady should. My father was a pirate, and my mother a noble woman... I have inherited the blood of both my beloved parents! My father understands this...and so do my friends! No one has ever held me back from being myself!"


I think one thing that threw me off about the speech in general is that Jessica's earlier interactions with her father and her concerns about her father finding out she was wild like him gave the impression that her ladylike side was just an act and that she would ultimately reveal her rough side to him in the end, but her conclusion amounts to her accepting both her role as a trash-talking fighter and as a proper lady as two parts of her true personality. So when she says, "I've never had to hide who I am from him," I guess she's saying that the ladylike side she demonstrates in front of her father was just another side of her true personality all along (or at least she's now accepting it as part of who she is). This is the part that sometimes gets written off as her way of lying to herself, especially considering all the character bios and supplemental materials for the game seem to support the idea that her ladylike side is just an act as well. Even the novels refer to it as an act (I believe in the second book). So, does her in-game conclusion still work or should her conclusion have been something along the lines of "My father would accept me for who I am because my friends do?"

If it helps to support her speech at all, the Lunar I & II art book mentions in her character bio that she does have a gentle side inherited from her mother. And as you prepare to get on the boat to go find the fake Dragonmaster in the PSX, she tells you her dad taught her everything she knows and "that's a lot." In the Sega CD version, she mentions learning to healing magic while working as a deckhand on her father's ship, so maybe that's why she concludes that her father understands her mixed lineage (pirate father and noblewoman mother). It's more than likely he was the one who taught her how to sail/commandeer ships, since she's always the party member to steer large vehicles like the hot air balloon and the airship later in the game.

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Kizyr » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:43 am

Huh.
...well...
......believe it or not, the Japanese version makes things a little more confusing...

Instead of "I've never had to hide who I am from him!", she says "I've never once hidden myself (or been deceptive about myself)."

I mean, it can be taken in one of two ways:
(a) Same as the English version, where she says that she (past tense) didn't hide who she was from anyone, including her father, or
(b) She means that the noble ladylike act she puts on in front of her father isn't actually hiding who she is, it's just showing a different side of herself, because she's both the noble lady and the adventurer.

I think that the purpose of her lines is (b), which would be a lot more consistent. But, the confusion or poor wording exists in both the English and Japanese versions, if you ask me. KF

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Re: Jessica: strong female character or missed opportunity?

Postby Greco12 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:59 am

She means that the noble ladylike act she puts on in front of her father isn't actually hiding who she is, it's just showing a different side of herself, because she's both the noble lady and the adventurer.


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*"?

*As you're about to get in the boat and go fight the fake Dragon Master, she tells you her dad taught her all she knows and "that's a lot." This would explain how she knows how to pilot flying machines. She also tells Xenobia before the boss fight that her father was her guide and that she'll use the skills her dad taught her to "expose the inferiority of [Xenobia's] ways."


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