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 Yeah, it's been a few days, give or take one or two. 

A reminder I will be at the Tulsa Comic Con this weekend. I'm aiming to attend Friday and Saturday. Of course, as of today, finances are a wee bit iffy, I won't have any copies of my books on hand thanks to Amazon only having one printing press in South Carolina . . . and it's hurricane season . . . HOWEVER, I will do what I can to be in attendance at Comic Con this weekend!

And! Well, it won't be 100% complete - could not find the right size interfacing for the shirt and pants nor do I have the material for the pants - but I will be in cosplay! It's a personalized costumed-variant of Fayt Leingod from a fanfiction idea I have where he ultimately becomes the captain of the Dragon Brigade. 

I am so looking forward to that!

The idea for today's conversation topic comes from when I watched all of the cutscenes on youtube for Till the End of Time. It's something I happened to notice about Fayt.

Certain people manage to attract and hold his attention.

Of course, this isn't to say he doesn't notice people. He most certainly does, but there were some who were just like an awed "whoa" with him.

Let's go through our list, shall we?

First up, natually, is Sophia. The two have known each other since childhood. If you head to Airglyph after gaining Sophia as a party member, you find out that the two of them met when they were children, and it was on a vacation to a place where it snowed. If I recall the conversation correctly, Sophia was either three or five years old at the time. It's been a while for me since I've played and got the two to talk so I'm not 100% certain who was five, but I do remember she was old enough to remember snow. She'd remarked on the difference between the temperatures of Earth and Elicoor II.  Due to this long-term relationship, Fayt does wonder about her and worry for her safety. Ameena's likeness to Sophia makes her a contender for memorable people for Fayt.

Peppita Rousetti is the second person Fayt encounters. 

Third is Cliff Fittir. Fayt's first encounter with the Klausian is nothing short of memorable. It was the fight with Norton, after all, and Cliff was the first Klausian Fayt had ever met.

The fourth person Fayt takes notice of is Mirage. In fact, in his recollection while onboard The Eagle is how he thinks she's beautiful. 

Nel Zelpher comes to Fayt and Cliff's aid when they're in the dungeons of Airyglyph, thus making her the fifth person Fayt encounters. Her abandoning her duties to save Farleen and Tynave bothers him because she's also admitted responsibility and duty towards Fayt and Cliff. Add in he's an only child with his parents hardly ever being around, and he's going to take note. However, he isn't the one to remark on Nel's appearance. (That would be Cliff.)

Albel Nox is the actual sixth person Fayt meets and that's after the rescue of Tynave and Farleen. 

Roger S. Huxley is the one that's hit or miss. If you don't find him at the right point, Fayt will never encounter him. 

Adray hears wind of Fayt and Cliff and rushes back to Aquaria to join them. Depending on the conversations the player has upon first arriving to the Sacred Kingdom of Aquaria, Adray joins either before heading to the Bequerel Mines or after. But either way you're getting him!

Finally, there's Maria, the leader of Quark. 

Everyone here has the ability of becoming a traveling companion of Fayt. Roger, Peppita, Albel, and Nel are the ones players can choose from to make up the final party.

Out of everyone here, only THREE get very major notice from Fayt. Naturally Sophia is the top of this list due to how much time he spends worrying about her through the game, up until she becomes a permanent team member.

Second is Mirage. After crashlanding on Elicoor and escaping from the dungeons, he asks Cliff a bit frequently about whether or not Mirage got out of the city okay. Even after arriving in Aquaria for the first time, Fayt asks Cliff about Mirage. It's after they've been assigned a room in the castle, and Fayt manages to play Cliff a little bit.

Nel gets some notice due to the fact she's been assigned a mission, and she forsakes it to help some comrades. Fayt finds it admirable, but, I think he's got some Kenny bloodline in him because he's really all about duty and responsibility. (Just my musings on Ryoko's side of the family.)

Finally, there's Albel. The first time the two meet, it's after Shelby's been defeated, and Albel's like, his mess, not mine, not taking any responsibility for this crap. Of course, we know that Fayt argues against that with the "he's your subordinate, you HAVE to take responsibilty for what he's done".  The second time, they actually fight, Fayt wins, and then walks away with Albel still breathing.

Here's where things with Albel get interesting. 

When it's clear that they will not be able to finish the Thunder Arrow in time and they rush to Arias to defend, it's noted that Albel is not in attendance, and Fayt wonders about that. Now some of Fayt's wonderings about Albel could be considered more of a "what the" type moment. Albel is the captain of the Black Brigade, and, to him, it would make sense that Albel would be on the front lines, seeking revenge. Duke Vox is there, Woltar is undoubtedly around somewhere, all three brigades are taking to the field, but not Albel? To Fayt's mind, that probably isn't logical. 

I do think it runs a wee bit deeper, though, with Albel. All because of the meeting with the King of Airyglyph and his terms of Albel joining the team to tame the Marquis (Crosell). Why wonder about an enemy's safety if Fayt never really saw Albel as an enemy in the first place?

In going through the number of playable characters and members of the party, it becomes . . . weird for me to really consider the number of pairings Fayt can be involved in when, really, there were few he took note of.

You see, for Sophia, I can explain her as being seen as the kid sister, and he's failed to keep her at his side and to protect her. After all, during the escape at the Hyda IV evacuation facility, Ryoko tasks Fayt with protecting Sophia. The only time it even seems like he might be interested in Sophia beyond a sibling-style relationship is at the end of the game, after everything's been deleted, and he has a montage of thoughts to bring him back, most of which are about Sophia. Why? Well, she has been a steady influence in his life for at least twelve years. Why he not think of her?

But Mirage and Albel are the trickier ones. All I can think is that there is something about their appearances and personalities that strikes a resonance within Fayt. Why those two, I don't know, but, when it comes to pairings, I personally can only see three that would make perfect sense.

But that's just me. ^_^
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 To start, for my fellow Star Ocean fans, if you're in the Tulsa area or are going to be in the Tulsa area October 21-23 for Comic Con, I will be in attendance there, for sure, Friday and Saturday. Sunday is the iffy day. I will be working all weekend, and Sunday's attendance will be determined by how tired I am by the time I leave work. I will be in cosplay as Fayt Leingod, Captain of the Dragon Brigage, a costume variant based on a fanfiction idea I'm currently hammering out (along with my original fiction and the 31 Days of Halloween Celebration). If you're in Star Ocean cosplay, too, look me up and you will get a free signed copy of any of my publications I have on hand. Promise!

Now, for the conversation topic, inspired by Charry. (<3 to you, Charry! Thank you so very much for the idea! <3)

When I started to play Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness, I had no idea that Victor Oakville was voiced by none other, Crispin Freeman. Didn't know but was more than pleased to find out. In fact, I think they got the same VA for Welch from SO4 to give her life in SO5.

Of course, I have noted similarities between SO5 and SO3 as well as SO5 and SO4. Mainly, it's the movements and the attacks of certain characters. Fidel moves like Fayt, has two of his attacks (Air Raid and Abyssmal Gate, which is the equivalent to Fayt's Dimension Door) and possesses some of Edge's attacks (Cyclone Blade, Double Slash). Get into Rush Mode with Fidel, and he unleashes Ethereal Blast. 

Victor is no different in this respect. He moves across the battlefield very much like Albel in that zigzagging motion. He also has Dragon Roar for an attack, along with Nether Strike and Diabolical Edge (which were attacks for Arumat - both Arumat and Albel have Dragon Roar). So, in this respect, Victor and Albel (and Arumat, sans the voice actor - Kyle Herbert voices our tank of an Eldarian) are very much the same. Tonal qualities in voice are what actually separate them. (Victor lacks that distinctive growl we all love about Albel.)

There is also one other difference between Albel and Victor, that I've noted. Well, a couple of things, actually. Victor doesn't get a magic, talking sword to save the universe whereas Albel gets the Crimson Scourge, but that's just story twist. Both are actually very straightforward and honest in how they view their worlds, how they feel, and in how loyal they are to their causes.

Rather, here is the huge difference I've noted between Albel and Victor.

Albel is not superstitious. He doesn't give a rat's behind about black cats crossing his path, which foot he set down upon getting out of bed, nor does he suspect old men are after him. Of course, we don't necessarily get a lot of Private Actions with Albel to find out exactly where he falls in this particular spectrum. My personal interpretation on Albel is he doesn't necessarily believe in ghosts, and, if he did, they're just a nuisance in his way. It's quite the contrast to Victor, who doesn't have a problem singing the praises of his subordinates. 

To put it this way, if Sophia (or even Victor) were to say she just got a lucky rabbit's foot, Albel would be the one to say it wasn't that lucky for the rabbit obviously.

Victor is what Albel could have been if Aquaria had been the aggressor over Airyglyph instead of vice versa. 

And Albel will always, always, ALWAYS have one leg up on Victor when it comes to character. Albel is far more fascinating and complex due to his past than what Victor will ever be. 

Those are my thoughts and plans for the upcoming few weeks. The 31 Days of Halloween are still on! (And I'm desperately playing catch-up!)
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 Title: The Veil Between the Living and the Dead

1 of 31

Prompt: fall colours

Prompt Summary: He sat alone, hoping to see something he’d never seen before. He received more than what he expected.

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Ocean nor do I profit from writing this story.

Written for the 31 Days of Halloween Star Ocean celebration.

Fayt drew his blanket tighter around his shoulders to ward off the early morning chill. The sun had yet to crest the horizon, not that it would have mattered in chasing away the chill. According to his quad scanner, the day was October 1st on Earth, shortly into the autumn season, and, from what he’d observed from his time there, Elicoor II appeared to be on the same seasonal axis as his homeworld. Given the lack of expansive cities and congestion of traffic but an abundance of natural scenery, he’d made it a point to return to the planet and to view the fall colors. Some old-timers who had been to underdeveloped planets had always said a fall morning at sunrise (and sunset) made the world look as if it had caught on fire and such beauty was breathtaking. Since he’d made it a point to return, he’d also made it a point to rise early.

“It’ll be worth it,” he said, his teeth chattering a little.

The minutes dragged by slowly. Every so often, Fayt yawned, but he resisted the temptation to curl up on his stony ledge and fall back asleep. Instead, he rested his chin on his knees and kept his gaze forward.

Fayt awoke with a start and to a blanket of stars in an inky black sky. He blinked then rubbed his eyes. His quad scanner indicated only five minutes had passed, but the fiery red of the sun had yet to appear in the horizon. If anything, as he gazed about, a deep fog now settled over the land. Moisture kissed at his cheeks, and a chill stole over him. The hairs on the back of his neck tingled. An electric charge, like the one before the start of a battle, filled the air.

‘Something isn’t right. Time to get out of here. I’ll have to try another time, when it isn’t so dangerous.’

Fayt scrambled his feet . . .

Just as a hand grabbed him by the shoulder and shoved him forward. Startled, Fayt flailed his arms and tried to skitter backwards, to keep from going over the edge. He glanced around to look for whoever was trying to kill him - the outcropping was rather high up - but saw no one. His knees jerked forward at an invisible kick, and the same hand added to his velocity in going over the side.

Fayt didn’t even have time to think. The wind whistled in his ears, and he reached out to catch himself.

His right arm exploded into a world of pain as did his head the moment he hit the ground. The bone near his elbow cracked then shattered, and Fayt struggled to catch his breath. Blood dribbled thickly over his tongue and onto the ground. The world blazed into a bright swathe of red and orange as the sun leapt into view. In a twisted, distant way, the colours of the trees sprang to life, just as the old timers had mentioned.

Or so it seemed from Fayt’s perspective. Silhouettes of dragons and humans surrounded him. He recognized the fallen form of Demetrio, the Dragon Brigade’s second in command. Booted feet approached him.

“What do we have here?” Duke Vox sneered. Fayt gazed up at him through pain-filled eyes. The man’s form mixed with the fog. “Another piece of Aquarian scum coming to die. I remember you, boy. You put up quite the fight when we met last. Not this time, though. Now there’s no one here to assist you. I will enjoy watching my men hack you into pieces.”

“Your men?” another voice, a gentler one, asked. “Are you so certain of that?”

An indistinct murmur rose around Fayt. He tried to lift his head to see who had spoken. He wanted to see who had spoken. He wanted to make sense of what was happening. Vox was dead, as was Demetrio. He knew. He’d been there for both. However, he lay still, his head aching and his body unwilling to respond to his commands. All he could do was stare at Vox and Demetrio as their spirits hovered over him. More booted feet stepped towards him.

Vox’s transparent eyes widened in horror and disgust. His lips curled into a sneer.

“You,” he said in a near growl. “You’re supposed to be dead!”

“And you are not?” the man asked mockingly. “Of course, I am dead, no thanks to you and your machinations. As are all of these men. Only upon my death were you named the captain of the Dragon Brigade. In death . . . you are not so spectacular now, are you?”

“I . . .” Vox began.

“Glou is right,” Demetrio interjected. “He is our rightful commander. You are nothing.”

Their voices started to become distant to Fayt. His head had not stopped its pounding. His eyes drooped closed.

‘Let me just sleep,’ he thought. ‘ This is just a dream anyway. I’ll wake up and everything will be okay. Just a dream . . .’

“I will not let you have him!” Vox roared.

“You’re too late, Vox,” Glou said. “He’s already mine.”

‘Sleep . . . At least I got to see the colours, right?’

Fayt closed his eyes.

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 And I've only got one offering at this point. /cue me drooping like Fayt when he had to admit to Peppita that they were lost when they weren't really lost/

That's the downside. Only one offering, and it's for Star Ocean: The Last Hope with the writing prompt of Night of the Werewolf. A bit silly, a bit serious for the first entry of Fright Night Spectacular, Faize at least becomes a little bit more comfortable with himself, and Commander Kenny makes an appearance.

The tidbit will appear at the end of the entry. 

I actually want to discuss, now that I mention him, Commander Stephen D. Kenny, also known as Lightspeed Kenny. He is, perhaps, going to be one of my favorite NPCs to explore out of the Last Hope segment of the Star Ocean series, along with Eleyna Farrance and the young girl from the Black Tribe (Ameena).

Commander Kenny remembers what the world used to be like before World War III. Heck, he's old enough to serve as a fighter pilot during World War III and to become a war hero. He certainly someone Edge Maverick looks up to throughout the whole game play. 

Kenny is definitely an enigma. He bears a lot of weight on his shoulders, which is very clear the moment he first appears on-screen. He fails to show up to the departure ceremony. He knows about the Seeds of Hope Project. He dislikes the command Shimada has given about the SRF but follows the command anyway, up to a specific point. He wants to continue relations and the sharing of information and technology with Eldar and Morphus and to bring Roak into the fold but ultimately backs down when Gaghan, Giotto, and Heinz back Edge in his refusal to further explore and potentially colonize already inhabited, yet underdeveloped, planets. 

All of this makes me wonder what type of past Command Kenny had before World War III. Was he a city brat? Was he an only child? Was his mother single? Did he grow up in the country?

For my overall writing purposes (note: this is NOT official on the part of Tri-Ace by any means), I've connected Commander Kenny's line to a set of OCs I've had running amok in various storylines for some time now. (To note here: I use this particular couple in almost every fandom I write for, including Star Ocean.) It's something I will be exploring in fanfiction over the course of time simply because the concept, the lingering sadness within Commander Kenny is empowering. Here is a man, as I've stated, who knew what Earth, what life was like before World War III. How does that impact how he views this new world, this destruction he may have known was going to happen?

Again, it's fascinating. 

And now for the first entry for the 31 Days of Halloween for The Last Hope part of the Star Ocean Universe

Title: Fright Night Spectacular
1 of 31
Prompt: Night of the Werewolf

Prompt Summary: With the combined efforts of Bacchus and Welch, some old horror flicks are rediscovered. Curious about ancient Earth pop culture, the crew of The Calnus decides to watch them to gain a better grasp of what used to scare Earthlings.

In which Lymle doesn't get it, Meracle just wants cookies, and Faize is . . . unfazed.

Guest appearances: Stephen D. Kenny, Lt. Heinz

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Ocean 4 nor its characters. I do not profit financially from writing this story.
Warning: Slightly AU

"So let me get this straight," Faize said as he watched Edge and Bacchus set up a large monitor in the item creation lab, which also served as the crew conference room. And by conference, mainly the times when Reimi wanted to test a new recipe but no one wanted to be the first guinea pig to try something new. "This is so we can watch what you Earthlings call moo-vees, specifically scary movies?"

Read more... )
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 01. orange blinking lights
02. skittles and starburst
03. chocolate
04. apple cider
05. bobbing for apples
06. mask
07. costumes/dress up
08. invitation
09. the party
10. trick-or-treat
11. the veil between the living and the dead
12. fall colours
13. ghostly excursions
14. witch's brew
15. black cats and paper mache' bats
16. haunted
17. pumpkin carving 101
18. "That's scary!"
19. Friday the 13th
20. moonlight madness
21. popcorn balls
22. night of the werewolf
23. "I vant to suck your blood."
24. not suitable for young children
25. in the forest at midnight
26. paint (can be anything)
27. "the best kind of lawyer is . . ."
28. scream; zombie's fright
29. the magic behind it
30. Day of the Dead
31. Halloween
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 Last night, I added one more Star Ocean title to my belt of games defeated. That leaves me 3 of 3 - yes, I'm counting Blue Sphere, even though it was a Japanese, Nintendo Gameboy release only. I do hope it eventually gets released to a system here in the U.S., be it the PlayStation system (preferable) or the XBox system.

So let's do a real quick recap on the games in the Star Ocean series.

Star Ocean: A Space Odyssey - Super Nintendo, Japan only
Star Ocean: Second Story - Playstation
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - Playstation 2
Star Ocean: First Departure (Game One re-release) - Playstation Portable
Star Ocean: Second Evolution (Game Two re-release) - Playstation Portable
Star Ocean: The Last Hope - XBox 360; Playstation 3*
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness - Playstation 3 (Japan only); Playstation 4

* - I consider the Playstation 3 version to be a slight variant. Same gameplay overall but with different coding and different ways to do item creation.

Star Ocean 5 remains a bit of a disappointment on the overall scale. Right now, for me, it doesn't even warrant a second play-through, but, because I do know I missed a few things along the way and kept running through various scenes, I will probably start a second one to do what I missed and to better get to know the characters. Well, at least to the best of my abilities, that is. Again, the gaming is very straightforward. I spent an hour the other day just on triggering private actions alone, which got tedious, but I did it to unlock a role.

Of the characters we get - there's only seven instead of the eight, like in SO3 and SO4 - I have to say I like Fidel, Victor, and Emmerson the best. Not in the yaoi sort of way, either. I have a hard time envisioning Fidel with anyone at this point, including Miki, who is very obviously crushing hard on him. (Which leads me to be really annoyed with her all over again.) 

Also, at the same time, I don't want to envision pairings. Rather, if I were to start writing fanfiction for SO5, I'd want to explore the characters on their own and delve into what could make them unique. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Anne or Fiore or even Relia. If anything, as female characters go, they're interesting and unique, which seems to be standard for non main female characters for Star Ocean. 

I will say this about defeating the game. I ran into something that really made my heart leap for joy, something I will not be giving away just yet. That would be a spoiler for those who haven't played the game, and, quite honestly, no one likes spoilers.

I will say this: This particular twist is not something that comes up in a cutscene. You absolutely MUST defeat the game and get through the end credits to see it. (For those who know what I'm talking about, please take your thoughts to the comments so we can discuss it without potentially spoiling it for others who have not played the game and want to or who are playing the game but haven't defeated it yet. Thanks!)

So. Do I recommend Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness for Star Ocean fans who have not played the game?

The answer?


While the time was not taken to develop a more complex and intriguing storyline and character development is sorely lacking, there ARE elements in this new game which expand upon the Star Ocean universe and add an interesting dynamic, ESPECIALLY where SO3 is concerned.

With that said, have a lovely Wednesday, my fellow Star Ocean fans. I'm going to do what I can to resume playing Star Ocean 3. That's the game I truly want to play right now. Until the next time!
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 First up, Ask the Star Ocean Character.

I found my original list of the Till the End of Time and The Last Hope cast (with blank spaces to compensate for First Departure and Second Story/Evolution upon playing). 

I'll just revise the list as each game is played.

What does that mean? It means when I finally get around to getting the reboot underway, Integrity and Faithlessness characters will be in the mix, including some of the NPCs. (Integrity and Faithlessness doesn't offer much in the way of NPCs at this moment, but I'll get something figured out.) Some characters, like Albel, Fayt, Edge, and such will be more towards the end, as originally intended. Unless, of course, I decide to do a special edition for whatever reason. I am allowed. ^_^

So the first character lined up for Ask the Star Ocean Character will be Reimi Saionji. I'll be looking at my calander to figure out which Friday her segment will appear. In the meantime, think up any questions you might want to ask her. Be as silly, be as personal as you want. Just be respectful and no profanity, please. Deadlines will be announced along with the segment re-appearance.

Second, and this is a reminder for people, too, starting on October 1 is the 31 Days of Halloween. It isn't a competition but something designed to get creative juices flowing. 

For each day in the month of October, post ONE Halloween-themed or inspired piece, be it one of the following: fan art, fan fiction, cosplay, collectibles, self-created items, or even baked goodies. Theme prompts will be posted for those who wish to use them. Participation isn't mandatory. If you do choose to participate, please at least try to do something every day. If you can't, it's okay, too.

There are some rules.

1 - Please do not post sexually explicit and/or artwork or fiction. If you want to write it, that's one thing, but post such things to the appropriate websites. For the purposes of Facebook and deviantArt, keep it clean. Anything of explicit nature posted to the pages and groups I manage on either site will be automatically down and a warning issued to the poster. Repeat offenses will get you banned. 

2 - Keep the profanity and violence down to a minimum, or, better put, keep everything within the PG13 to R range. I've said this before. I really do not want my pages and groups shut down due to complaints by overly concerned parents whose children figured out how to get around the parental controls on their web browsers. Also bear in mind, again, this event will be conducted through this journal, on deviantArt, and on Facebook. Again, I don't mind if you want to write it but post to the appropriate places. 

3 - For the cosplayers: Costume variants are welcome. I know Till the End of Time (from that point to the current game) offered in-game costume variants for the playable characters. Just please make sure it is still recognizable as Star Ocean. All games welcome in that respect.

4 - For the artists: Links to your fan art are more than welcome. Facebook participants can post directly to the pages themselves. 

5 - For the writers: Links to your fanfiction are equally as welcome. Facebook participants are encouraged to link to their stories rather than post the stories themselves. Acceptable sites are deviantArt, Archive of Our Own,, and basically any functioning fan fiction website, though the three mentioned are preferred (staying power).

6 - For deviantArt participants, please post directly to the Star Ocean groups. If you're not a member of the groups, please consider joining.

7 - Have fun!

Fans are not restricted to posting their creations to one site. Crossovers with other fandoms are also welcome. And, a reminder, there are Star Ocean birthdays for the month of October, some official, some unofficial. Since Integrity and Faithlessness hasn't assigned official birthdays, I will come up with some designations (for the purposes of the Star Ocean Universe/Project only - I encourage my fellow Star Ocean fans to choose the days they feel best correspond with their favorite characters in the instances where birthdays have not been assigned).

Starting with Game 1 through Game Four, here are the October babies, playable and non-playable characters

Ronyx J. Kenny – October 12
Chisato Madison – October 21 (Official)
Albel Nox – October 30
Robert Leingod – October 24
Steven D. Kenny – October 27
Eleyna Farrence – October 1
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 I haven't defeated the game just yet. I do work, and I do utilize the TV and PS4 of others in order to play. I think my sister has surpassed me on events. I don't know. I don't care. The only thing I've "spoiled" for her are the hidden gems in the game that actually make it somewhat interesting.

So far, I'm more than a little disappointed with this particular chapter in Star Ocean history. The characters are not all that interesting when they could be. Fidel has some of the same attacks as Fayt Leingod from Till the End of Time and Edge Maverick from The Last Hope. Miki, the potential childhood love interest (depending on how you play out your Private Actions, of course), has some of the same mannerisms as Reimi Saionji from The Last Hope (basically, in my estimation, treating the so-called "hero" of the game like he's incompetent in battle without her and thus needs to tag along) but not completely. 

It's interesting to note that, while Fidel has some leadership experience (he takes over the guardianship of his village when his father heads to the country's capitol to be a military advisor), he doesn't really have enough compared to some of his compatriots, like Victor and Emmerson. Yet, by default, they follow him around. I can only surmise that it has something to do with his charisma as a person in addition to leadership skills because, when it comes to experience, both Emmerson and Victor have Fidel beaten. Of course, Emmerson defaulting to either Victor or Fidel is understandable since he's in a unique position, much like his predecessors in 1 and 2, that of being a Kenny and roaming around on an underdeveloped planet. 

Also, interesting to note and I've posted about this before to here and to facebook, Crispin Freeman makes a return to the Star Ocean world. He's the English voice actor for Victor. Till the End of Time fans will note he also voiced Albel Nox. 

What I haven't posted is some of the Easter eggs that have popped up in Integrity and Faithlessness. It's just kind of like a tip of the hat to American and geek culture. Emmerson has a backpack with Barbie's picture on it. In at least one cutscene, Miki's staff has a Dragon Quest slime hanging from it (kind of like how Sophia has a cat on her staff when you finally get her as part of the team), and Relia has two of the ghosts from the Pac-Man series on her backpack. What other little tidbits there are in that game, I'm not sure, but I'll find out.

Some of the music is the same from both Till the End of Time and The Last Hope, some of it is new. 

Here is one thing that I do like about what they're doing with Miki.

She likes to eat and is not ashamed of this fact. 

To me, that's awesome. Now if only they hadn't started her out as the annoying kid sister type who feels the hero can't do a thing without her presence. Even Sophia wasn't that annoying.
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 Seems like the Star Ocean fandom has gotten much smaller. There was quite a good run back in the day. The first game appeared on the Super Nintendo System back in 1996 with Second Story/Evolution coming out in 1999. Till the End of Time came out in 2004 (I keep thinking 2002 because I'd played it at a friend's house first before getting my own copy in 2005, but the 2004 release year is accurate.) So it was three years between releases then five . . . then another five . . . and now seven years. Of course, Till the End of Time was buoyed by the release of Blue Sphere on the Gameboy in Japan. 

Why do I stick with such a small, obscure fandom that only a select few seem to continue to love? Why am I making plans to do projects and events for something that may not garner much interest in the first place? Why do I run these blogs when no one else seems to have found them and jumped out to say, "Hey, I love Star Ocean, too! Thanks for running this blog!"

Well, the blog has suffered over the last couple of years, to be honest, and it's much to my chagrin and dismay. So much came at me, I hopped into other fandoms . . . I even thought of giving it up because no one else was around, but I've never truly left Star Ocean.

I won't leave Star Ocean.

I know it's not the biggest name from Square Enix and Tri-Ace - that's most definitely Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.

And I won't be giving up the journals, the facebook pages, the work on deviantArt anytime soon. Yes, there will probably be bouts of silence. I am working, I am writing, and I am busy with some cosplay plans to try and enact next month for Tulsa Comic-Con, but I will not abandon these journals.

I will not abandon these journals for this very reason alone: I remember what it was like to feel like I was the only one out there. You see, my fellow Star Ocean fans, I'm a long-time Bangles fan. I was born in the late 1970s and grew up in the 80s and 90s. The Bangles struck a chord so deep and profound within me that they remained my favorite musical group long after they'd disbanded, long after their popularity had faded into memories. I never found a band that created such a resonance within me as they did. And I felt so very alone in that little world for a long time. The internet introduced me to other fans, connected me with people who loved the same band that I did, and sent that loneliness running.

This is for all of the Star Ocean fans out there who haven't given up, who feel like they're alone. You're not alone. :)

Fun Fact!

Sep. 15th, 2016 03:13 pm
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 Crispin Freeman has worked on two Star Ocean projects. In Till the End of Time, he gave voice to the Wicked One, Albel Nox. In Integrity and Faithlessness, he gives voice to Victor Oakville(? - I forget the guy's last name already! He cracks me up, though!).
Yes, I want to see Crispin at a convention. I have plans, my friends. I have plans!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
A Testament to Faith by monochromemarionette and RottenAdel
Story Location: Archive of Our Own

Only one chapter is up. The authors are about in the same position that I'm in - you know, other works biting on them and demanding to be written - but, in the comments section, more is promised to be forthcoming.

This story is based on something stated in one of the guides for, I believe, Star Ocean: The Last Hope. It could very well change how everything for the previous games are perceived and for Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness.

According to the authors' notes, what this guide said is that The Last Hope exists outside the Eternal Sphere. For me, it's kind of mind-boggling and contradictory to how everything has played out. I've played and defeated both Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. (I'm currently in the middle of my first play-through for Integrity and Faithlessness.) I will save that discussion for another time. In the meantime, I'm posting the link for the story so fellow Star Ocean fans can read it and let the authors know what they think. If you do not have an AO3 account, you probably will not be able to view the story. If I recall correctly, the story will eventually have adult themes and will definitely ask the reader if he or she wishes to continue. AO3 does allow for anonymous commenting and kudos giving.

Also, fair warning, the story is yaoi, i.e., male/male pairings. If you do not care for such things, please do not follow the link and harass the authors.

If you wish to contribute a fanfiction link, be it to your own or one you've enjoyed, post the link in the comments section. Thanks!

Without further ado, the link to A Testament of Faith!
star_ocean_fan: (Albel Nox)
 I'm back. A lot came my way in the past few weeks. I ended up buying a car (I named her Sigyn, after a Norse deity), and I helped a friend move from one end of the country to the other. All of these things had preoccupied my mind, kept me distracted, but I have not lost focus, not for this, not for my writing career, or other life goals. 

And, though it seems silly in the grand scheme of things, in the grand scheme of life, I want to keep the flame, the love for Star Ocean alive. Despite how some people have ragged on it, it is an awesome game, an awesome series that needs better story, better character, and better playability treatment. 

On a collection update, I have added the latest installment, Integrity and Faithlessness, to my collection. I am making my way through the game in chunks. I may play later; depends on how much writing I get done on some of the novels and fanfic pieces.

One thing I'm going to note. As I helped my best friend move, we talked video games. Specifically, we talked about Star Ocean (the three games I have played - I own all but Blue Sphere at this point) and Final Fantasy. When it came to Star Ocean, we talked mostly about Till the End of Time, my favorite of the series. It isn't the first time we've discussed the game, but she's given me plenty of ideas to converse about and present to my fellow Star Ocean fans, including today's topic about Albel Nox.

Some things I will be bringing up in the course of the next few weeks, in addition to rehashing old conversations, posting fanfiction, and revisiting the projects list I created for myself in the beginning. Yes, I dearly want Luther and Fayt as ball-jointed dolls, and I want to resume learning how to crochet so I can make me some fantastic items, maybe even do trades with others. We'll see. Oh yes, and I want to make plushies. 

That's all for the next couple of weeks. To note, conversation topic ideas are always welcome. 

So here's what's coming up for conversation topics. I will be rehashing Luther and his motivations. I found an old fanfiction that presents Luther in a very different light, and I had a thought about him myself when watching the cutscenes on youtube. I also have a thought or two on Robert Leingod and his motivations upon finding the Time Gate. I even have a thought about Stephen D. Kenny and my initial impression of Star Ocean 5. 

That's what's coming up over the next few weeks, along with the Thirty One Days of Star Ocean Halloween Fanfiction. Now, it isn't going to be limited to fanfiction, but, as I can't draw worth a smeg at this point (I just don't sit down and practice. I could always improve, if I want), for myself, it will be fanfiction. 

At the end of September, I'll post 31 prompts for Halloween, for fellow Star Ocean fans to utilize if they wish, to write their own fanfiction, draw their own comics, draw, or cosplay. My goal is to post one-shots and drabbles as a means of celebrating Halloween throughout the month of October. I'm considering the same for the month of December. (For people on deviantArt only, there will be a deviation listed in the groups specific to Star Ocean for this - that way you will not have to search journal entries for the prompts.)

Starting October 1st, I will post fanfiction pieces for Star Ocean to celebrate my most favorite holiday in the world. I'll even look for my birthday list to remind people which characters have October birthdays, either officially or as designated by me. Fanfiction entries will appear in the journals, on dA, Archive of Our Own, and Links will be provided on the facebook pages.

One more reminder before I get into the (very brief) conversation topic on Albel, I do wish to remind everyone that the Star Ocean contest giveaway is still in effect. Any photos of Star Ocean cosplay from the last nine months will receive a free copy of my first publication, Portal to Gaming. Doesn't matter which game, doesn't matter if it's a convention setting or not, send me the picture to email or post to dA and to the specific pages of Arc of Fantasy, Elise K. Ra'sha Author, Dragonfly Moonlight, Star Ocean Project and Star Ocean Universe on facebook then a PM with your mailing address, you will receive a free paperback copy of Portal to Gaming. You don't even need to pay for the shipping. There is no deadline for this giveaway. 

Onwards towards everyone's favorite anti-hero, Albel Nox.

This is going to be quite brief. As mentioned before, I have discussed Star Ocean with my best friend, who really has not played the game. Everything she knows is based on what I've told her, what she's looked up, and what I've shown her in terms of video and artwork. She presented to me an idea that actually might make sense but will be quite controversial to all Albel fans.

Albel Nox - Is he male or a masculine hermaphrodite?

Personally, I can see this particular nugget swinging either way, but I'm going to bring up what my best friend, the non-player, noted when I linked her to official Albel artwork from the video game packaging. I even have an idea for fanfiction fodder on this, but I digress.

Here is what was noted about Albel in the official artwork.

For being such a skinny guy, he has some manboobs. Now, most artists tend to draw them as well defined pecs for Albel, giving him a muscular physique with his lithe form. This is something I can see. 

He also has some very girly legs, or at least the one sticking out of the slit in his covering so appears to her. 

This is not to say Albel is a girl. Hardly, though I have seen doujin for sale on eBay for femme!Albel in a relationship with Cliff Fittir. After all, Albel has quite the manly voice, for both the English and Japanese versions. (Or so I presume on the Japanese. The voice album is what gives me that idea.)

Now, if this particular tidbit is true and he is actually both genders rolled into one, this would present a very interesting and tortured character in the Star Ocean universe. Albel lives on a backwater planet with a low level of technology. He also lives in a region that focuses very much on the manliness of manly men and their ability to be warriors, as opposed to their neighbor, the Sacred Kingdom of Aquaria. This would also add to his inherent nastiness towards others, an effort to keep other people at bay so they will not find out his "shameful" secret. Who would want to be with someone who isn't completely one gender or the other, based on how everyone else looks and acts within their society?

And, finally, this would make Albel one of the most unique characters in the Star Ocean universe. Hands down on that. I'm not saying this is true, but I'm not saying it isn't true, either. I leave it up to my fellow Star Ocean fans to decide. To me, either way of looking at Albel will be quite correct. Seeing him as a perfect hermaphrodite would also add something to love even more about Star Ocean, the idea of inclusivity. Albel isn't a main character, but his gender identity certainly would not be an obstacle for someone like Fayt. I think it's been established pretty clear Fayt is incapable of really hating anyone.

So, there's the nugget on Albel Nox. Discuss it, ignore it, or run with it as fanfiction and fanart fodder. That's what we Star Ocean fans are really good at!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 My last living grandparent passed away last night. It isn't that it's so much of a shock - when a person gets to be her age and gets the diagnosis she did and makes the decisions that she did - as it hurts. I've rationalized a lot of it, I'm okay with her death - it's hard to begrudge someone who lived a happy life - but it still hurts. And, due to when the funeral is, I will not be able to attend it. Most of my family resides in Northern Michigan, and I'm here in Oklahoma. 

I will be continuing to work on the Arc of Fantasy series, but I need to decompress and allow everything to process.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 This post comes from Wednesday, January 31st, 2012, the second day of the Star Ocean Universe's launch.

Updated Video Game List
Now for a list of the Star Ocean games and their available platforms:

Star Ocean                                                          Super Nintendo; Japan only
Star Ocean: Second Story                                    PlayStation
Star Ocean: Blue Sphere                                      Nintendo Gameboy; Japan only
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time                            PlayStation 2
Star Ocean: First Departure - remake                     PSP
Star Ocean: Second Evolution - remake                 PSP
Star Ocean: The Last Hope                                   XBox360; PlayStation 3
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness
                 PlayStation 3 (Japan only); PlayStation 4*

*-I've not seen where the game is available on the XBox system. If it is available for the XBox, I will update accordingly.

Now for the conversation rehash.

This was the original post from January 31st 

If I'm not mistaken, the point of First Departure is to defeat the Archfiend Asmodeus while I know for sure the point of Second Story/Evolution is to rid the universe of the Twelve Wise Men. Of course, in Till the End of Time, the one to defeat is Luther, who is also the Creator of the world in which all of the other characters live, and finally, in The Last Hope, the object of the game is to defeat the Apostle of Creation/Satanail.


Addendum: I still have not played the first two games. I have read up on the Star Ocean wiki page, but it's been a while. For those who have played the first two games, please let me know if I'm correct in the objectives.

These are tidbits players of Star Ocean know, and one might think that, because he is the Creator throughout all of this, Luther is masterminding and orchestrating all of the events that lead up to these final fights. In thinking about this, I'm very inclined to say it isn't quite so simple.

See, those who've played Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, who've not only reached Luther in his WorkSpace and have actually defeated him in both battles, they know that Luther is trying to destroy the anomalies, these viruses that are rapidly taking over, that he feels are threatening this perfect world he's created. His creations are starting to head in directions he doesn't want them taking, and it alarms him when some of them have not only discovered the Time Gate, the one thing that can connect his world to theirs, but have found a way to enter his world as well, something that had remained physically impossible since the beginning of time (for the Eternal Sphere).

Now one thing to understand about the world Luther lives in is that it's backwards from what we know in our daily lives. Only the privileged can work and do work, and Luther is one of the privileged. Information is power, and he's one of the few that knows how to master the flow of information around him. He rises through the ranks at Sphere 211 as a computer and gaming programmer, the creative genius behind the world of the Eternal Sphere. This is something most Star Ocean fans already know because the Eternal Sphere is where most of our game play takes place. Even if a player hasn't reached the Spiral Tower leading to Luther's WorkSpace, those who've reached Gemity, a place in the four-dimensional realm, know that, because competition is fierce with companies like Sphere 211, no one can travel freely to the Lost City. This makes me wonder what that city looks like. :) Playing video games all day long is the only way to keep the general population in the 4-D realm under control, and, since it's free it seems like, no one seems to mind, either.

Addendum: It does make me wonder how gaming companies like Sphere 211 remain in business. Or perhaps my theory about the games being free is wrong, and the people receive a stipend from the government in order to take care of necessities like bills, food, clothing, and shelter with enough to go around to pay for luxury items. Come to think of it, my original theory is, in fact, incorrect since the Arena in Gemity charges you for taking on other combat teams.

I'm not sure at what age Luther obtains the coveted title as Owner of Sphere 211. I know he's managed to snake the title away from the original owner's son. Truth be told, I truly believe Luther displayed some kind of care and love for the company and the games created by them whereas the owner's son, Belzeber, really is only interested in the money and prestige that comes from owning what could be considered a Fortune 500 company, and Luther, at the peak time where he's starting to lose his grip on rationality, is twenty-six (or so that I've heard). He isn't old by any means, but it's kind of hard to figure this out since there is no notion of time passing in the 4-D realm. He's also a very brilliant man, especially if he's able to sway the original owner into handing over this Fortune 500 company and to create something as intricate and complicated like the Eternal Sphere.

The Eternal Sphere is something that Luther isn't out to destroy right away. Star Ocean fans who've reached him know he's thinking like a computer geek, thinking in terms of anomalies, bugs, and viruses. Things like that can wreak havoc on a system, and Luther's livelihood is invested in this. It's because of his thinking that I don't believe he's the one responsible for the Grigori that appear in Star Ocean: The Last Hope.

Before I continue further, for those who haven't played Star Ocean: The Last Hope, the game doesn't take place after Till the End of Time. It actually takes place before all of the other games, and the idea is the Earth is in so much trouble, it can no longer sustain human life.The Grigori are out to destroy the universe as everyone knows it by causing rapid evolution in species that aren't ready for things such as language, computers, and space travel. This in terms creates energy for some unknown force in a separate dimension. The idea behind the Grigori is to cause such rapid evolution and destruction to keep feeding this unknown source, labeled in computer terms as The Missing Procedure. In essence, the Grigori are causing anomalies, disrupting this perfect flow that Luther so desperately desires.

Some might argue that Luther is the one behind the Grigori. After all, the Eternal Sphere continues to live on after he's deleted the entire programming that's brought this gaming universe into existence. What better way to get rid of it by trying to destroy it at the start of mankind's ventures into space? He is an entity in a separate dimension. It'd be like him to want a blank universe in which to start over.

I will admit. That is a very true thing. It does sound like something Luther would do, sending something like that into the past. He is a control freak that way. Yet, I find the whole Grigori scenario as being Luther's masterminding to be very implausible. I can't see him sending something that will cause anomalies, bugs, and viruses into his precious program in an effort to destroy it. It, to me, doesn't make any sense to send in bugs and viruses to wipe out bugs and viruses.

What I am thinking is happening, from beating Till the End of Time and the Last Hope, is that somehow one of Luther's competitors has infected the Eternal Sphere data. As the game play for the Eternal Sphere pretty much is running side by side - at the same time Edge and Company are facing the Apostle of Creation/Satanail, Roddick and his friends are facing Asmodeus, and Claude and his group are facing off against the Twelve Wise Men while Fayt and his friends are preparing to storm his Workspace - it would be entirely possible for anomalies, bugs, and viruses to be appearing more rapidly than what Luther can fix them. However, since he's more focused on the year 772 S.D., he's not seeing that the vast majority of his problems are appearing in the year 10 S.D.* He's trying to get rid of the problematic data, whom he truly and honestly believes are in the forms of  Fayt and his friends. They're the one who crossed over from 3-D space into 4-D space, having the technology** to do so. Remember, Till the End of Time players who have defeated the game, in a last ditch effort to get rid of all problematic data, Luther deletes everything related to the Eternal Sphere. In that essence, in that Hail Mary effort, he's won over his creations.

* - Correction here. Edge and company take down the Grigori in the year 11 S.D. My error here.
** - They also have the symbological input as well.

So how would one of Luther's competitors manage to infest the Eternal Sphere universe with things like the Grigori? Well, Till the End of Time players who've reached the planet Styx, have reached the Time Gate and crossed from 3-D space into 4-D space, know they don't land in the Lost City. They don't land anywhere near the Lost City, but in another town called Arkives. They're coming out of this huge monitor that really isn't heavily guarded. In fact, if I'm recalling correctly, it isn't even guarded until after Fayt and Company jump through, weapons drawn and ready for battle, and do damage at a private residence. The Time Gate itself doesn't directly connect to Sphere 211. If that huge monitor isn't guarded until after the fact, what would stop a competitor from sending someone to it and planting the program of the Grigori into the Eternal Sphere? Even if there were guards there to keep competitors away, what would stop said competition from paying off the guards? Yes, it would mean crossing Luther and losing a job, but if the pay was right, it isn't entirely out of the question.

Nor is it impossible to think that perhaps Belzeber could be behind the Grigori, either. He isn't an unintelligent man, and it would be like him in an effort to overthrow Luther as the head of Sphere 211. By birthright, the company should be his. I'm still more behind a competitor placing the Grigori virus into the Eternal Sphere simply because the energy created from the rapid evolution and undeniable destruction of those like the Cardianon feeds the Missing Procedure, giving it more and more strength to keep producing Grigori. For me, and not just because I'm biased towards Luther, it seems far-fetched to hold the notion he's behind the Grigori when such things are the cause of his misery.

Addendum: I am adding in that, because it's a game, it's very much like a massive and multi-timeline MMORPG. I'd mentioned such a thing in another entry. 

For those of you who haven't played any of these games but have read through this entry with patience, you might be wondering what could cause someone who calls himself (appropriately) the Creator to want to destroy his creations? The simple, canon answer is Luther is a genius, bordering on insane, and is thus pushed over after Robert Leingod and his research team discovered how to cross over. One of the many problems he failed to account for when creating AIs is their curiosity about the world surrounding them. Robert and his research team meant no harm when they figured out the right combination to get the Time Gate to work and to find a way to crossover. (It doesn't mean the Pangalactic Federation wouldn't have tried something, but that isn't what set Luther off in the first place.) It was Luther's gut reaction to proclaim death to the research team. Why he didn't kill them right then and there, we don't know. It wouldn't have been much of a game if that had happened. :) Still, it's that proclamation that has sent events into motion, and the other thing Luther fails to realize, as he's looking at everything from a programmer's point of view and not as someone who's created life, is that his AI programs have adapted and evolved to their current circumstances. If you find the right house in Arkives, there's a girl at a computer, and she's creating a character so she can game in the Eternal Sphere program.

If you've ever created a character for a game, like Dungeons and Dragons (especially for Dungeons and Dragons and you're at a kitchen table with a group of your friends), it's very tempting to create the most powerful character imaginable. You want the perfect stats every time. High wisdom, intelligence, constitution, etc . . . The thing is, those high stats actually make for a very boring game play. If you have a Game Master who doesn't care for the all-powerful characters, he or she adapts the game play accordingly so that it's more difficult to beat that Level One goblin or that Level Two undead bovine. The same holds true for the AI programs and situations in Luther's Eternal Sphere. The girl in question is creating this powerful character so she can be seen as a Goddess by the Eternal Sphere denizens and thus be worshiped as such. Being the Owner of such a powerful company and thinking more in terms of 0s and 1s instead of actual living beings, Luther can't see that, and that is why he panics as quickly as he does when Robert Leingod and his research team make their discovery.

So why like Luther at all? What is it about such an obvious villainous character that appeals to someone like me? Well, for me, Luther isn't the typical cookie-cutter villain type. He really is trying to do the right thing, but in trying to do the right thing, he's creating all kinds of unnecessary chaos and havoc. If you stop and think about it, he really is doing his best to try and protect the one thing that means a great deal to him. He's put a lot of effort into creating the Eternal Sphere and building Sphere 211 into its current juggernaut status. That doesn't come about without effort or hard work or without a great deal of love for what he's doing. For the most part, villains, like heroes, are complex creatures, and I feel certain that, once his haze of insanity is lifted, Luther could see the error of his ways. It won't make him any less of a control freak and schemer, but he could still the error of his ways and somehow make it work to his advantage.

Parts have been amended with additions.

Now, in theory, if we think of the timeline of the Eternal Sphere as 100% linear, then, yes, it's entirely possible Luther is behind the Grigori. If he can destroy the past, he can prevent the future and start all over again with Faize as his energy conductor. Certainly for the denizens of the Eternal Sphere, time is linear. It moves straightforward, and they cannot undo the past. 

And even then . . . I still don't buy that Luther is behind the Grigori. If he wanted to change the past, all he'd have to do is make the death counts higher for Earth when World War III takes place, wiping out all of humanity instead of the majority of it. I don't think, until he tried to delete the Eternal Sphere, that Luther lost all connections with his creations. The anamolies happened too rapidly, and, like I'd said the first time around, it was easier to attribute the anamolies to Fayt and friends than it was to sort and sift through hundreds of thousands of lines of code in order to find the actual problem. In other words, Luther got a little lazy.

With that said, what do you guys think?
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 I've remembered what I wanted to discuss last week when I posted the rules for the Ask the Star Ocean Character. I'm going to hold off a little while longer for that as I want to play Games 1, 2, and 5 first. So please be patient a little while longer on that. ^_^

And I am so looking forward to getting my paws on Star Ocean 5. New conversation topics! New characters to analyze! And it'll be yet another game where there was a character with the last name of Kenny playing a significant role in the game's outcome. ^_^ I love it!!

Also, I want to remind everyone that these are called conversation topics for a reason. You are more than welcome to add to these thoughts at any time or even disagree with them. I created the Star Ocean Universe and the Star Ocean Project for the following reasons.

1 - To allow Star Ocean fans to interact with each other and to connect, to build a community
2 - To promote Star Ocean conversation. 
3 - To compile a list of Star Ocean memorabilia
4 - To encourage fans to display their custom-made creations

Anyway, today's topic is about The Last Hope and one of the promises it failed to deliver upon in the course of the game play. Let me start somewhere near the beginning.

As we players all know, upon landing on Roak and meeting Sarah for the first time, we hear the word "Muah" once more. The Cardianon leader referred to Edge and Reimi (and Crowe) as descendants of the Muah, but they are from Earth. On Roak, no one has forgotten about the Muah, but the origins are still shrouded in some kind of mystery.

Exactly who are the Muah here?

Unfortunately, we don't learn the answer to this question. We know that Earth and Roak are now connected to each other by way of the Muah, that the Muah are ancient. Beyond that, though, well, we get nothing. We don't even get the chance to explore that.

It's what's called a tease. We get hints of one thing but nothing further. And it isn't that the story of The Last Hope gets waylaid. Far from it because the story progressed as it needed to - remember, these are games about saving planets and then, eventually, the entire universe.  It's just the formula the game writers use for each game. It might be a different "villain" each time, but it also makes no less for interesting game play.

Still, I'm disappointed that the origins concept ended up ignored after Edge and company discover the destruction of the exploration base on Aeos. There definitely needs to be a second part to The Last Hope with a return to Roak for this AND with Crowe as the main playable character. I love Edge, but I want to know more about Crowe and his powers as a descendant of the Muah. (This is where I wish I could write fanfiction and publish it for pay. How many would love to read this, I wonder!)

With the release of Star Ocean 5, what do you think the chances are we could ask for more games with Edge and company, and Fayt and company, and actually receive them?
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 A day late and a dollar short. That's about how it goes anymore.

Anyway, a reminder of the rules for the Ask the Star Ocean Character segments.

1 - No profanity, no lewd comments and no disrespecting the character in question. You may not like the character, but there are others that do. Also, this is a public page, public blog. It means anyone old enough to get onto the internet can find it and read it. I'm not having my blog shut down because some parent threw a hissy fit over the language used. While I can't control what kids find on the internet, I can control whether or not I keep this going. Any questions and comments that break this rule will NOT be used. 

2 - As mentioned above, there is currently a three question limit. Ask what's most pressing to you. If you want to ask more, save them for a later date because I will cycle through the characters and start over again.

3 - Dont' ask me about when your favorite character is going to appear. I know you Albel Nox fans love him. I did one with him already as a birthday gift for a fellow Star Ocean fan, but he's not goin to appear until way later in the series. Fan favorites like him and my personal favorites are reserved for last. 

4 - Questions must be in no later than midnight of the Wednesday night before the Star Ocean Character segment is to appear. Ask the Star Ocean Character is reserved for Fridays, something fun to start your weekend. Questions can be left in comments, or sent to me as Private messages or in emails. You can email the questions to me at

5 - Please let me know what name you want me to use, if any, when I write the segment or if you wish to remain "anonymous". If you don't, I will use the name that appears with the inquiry. 

6 - Most of all, let's just have some fun with this. 

I will be revisiting the original entries for Reimi Saionji, combining it with some previous questions from the first reboot attempt, and will be taking questions. The date will be announced soon. 

I was going to do a conversation topic, but I forgot what I was going to write about yesterday. It was inspired by watching the cutscenes from The Last Hope. I'll definitely be revisiting them.

Happy Wednesday!
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 Ooooh, so quiet here. So very, very quiet.

The reboot is still underway. I do need to revisit the older entries, and one of them is whether or not Luther is the reason behind the Grigori. When I get to a certain point in the game again, I'm going to pay very close attention to what EX says about the Grigori's origins. Or at least pay attention on the youtube videos I've discovered with all of The Last Hope's cutscenes. I've not even made it through the first video yet!

Anyway, there is something of interest to note here, and it's about Commander Kenny. I don't know if it's something that doesn't quite trigger in the brain when it's first viewed. This is during the launch of the five SRF ships. He's just taken over command from Shimada, and he tells Heinz in very specific wording (an obvious form of forshadowing) about them. He doesn't say any names, just the Seeds of Hope. 

Now, if you've got the subtitles on at this point, you know the phrase "Seeds of Hope" is written exactly like that. Due emphasis, right? As the clueless beginner, you're probably wondering who the Seeds of Hope are or you're just expecting it to be the crew of each ship being sent out. Of course, you learn later the truth of it all.

The Seeds of Hope are Crowe, Reimi, and Edge, each attributed with a specific genome in order to survive super intense situations.

In watching the sequence again, I know Commander Kenny knows about the project. A high-ranking officer doesn't make that type of remark without some type of previous knowledge. What I wonder is whether or not he's actually met Edge and Reimi, but they were just too young to remember it. Was he there, overseeing the procedures with Arnold Maverick and the Saionjis? Or did he just read the reports but still know who they were due to their names and attached pictures?

That would be a fun story to read. I plan on tackling a one-shot for this in the near future.

Anyone else up for that challenge?

And it's coming back! Ask the Star Ocean Character! First character up will be Reimi! Rules will be reposted tomorrow.
star_ocean_fan: (Edge Maverick)
 To start here, I love The Last Hope. The Last Hope has a running theme that's very concurrent with the basis of Star Trek and what we're actually facing in our current economic, social, and political climates. As an author, I find the themecraft of the fallout of World War III to be fascinating in what life can be like. How far south can we go, right?

I'm not going to discuss what could have led up to World War III in the Star Ocean universe. I'd rather save it for another time and a different blog entry. Instead, I want to talk about how totally screwed up the SRF was the moment it was implemented.

Here is the basic rundown of the SRF mission and status.

There are five ships total for space exploration. We know from character conversations that they're heading to worlds that are human friendly. This is not a reference to indigenous life. 

I repeat, this is not a reference to indigenous life. 

For terms of gameplay, human friendly simply means the gravity tolerable, the air breathable, and the environment hospitable. That's it. On Aeos, they get lucky in that there are no humanoid settlements that they can completely muck up with their technology. Lemuris and Roak? Yeah, not so much. 

I'm digressing.

Okay, so the goal of the super secret SRF that very few people on Earth know about is to explore planets that can host humans. Five ships with a crew of five. Seriously. Five people per ship, that's twenty-five people who have been trained not just as astronauts but as anthropologists, botanists, and whatever else they think they're going to need in order to establish a colony or at least contact with whatever local civilization. That's four crew members and one captain per ship.

No medical officers, no medical bays to treat the injured because somehow we . . . overlooked that when we were establishing the USTA and the SRF. No biologists, no physiologists, no zoologists, nothing else of great importance here. For entymology, we have Faize and eventually Arumat. For engineering and robotics and mining, we have Bacchus. For compounding/medicines, we have Myuria. Our ornithologist is Meracle, and our zoologist is Sarah.

Does anyone see the resulting issue here? We have two humans who have studied anthropology (Edge) and Reimi (botany), but everything else is going to the alien races that we're befriending. While there is nothing wrong with the game's diversity, it makes me feel like the game's writers were more interested in creating eye candy in Reimi, Meracle, and Myuria than actually applying what an actual space exploration team would need.

Let me break it down as to what every space exploration team is going to need. I base all of this on watching reruns of the original Star Trek series, the Star Trek movies, and the highly beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation.

To begin with, we have our intrepid leader, the captain of the ship. Everyone knows what his job is - delegate responsibilities to those who are most suited for the task at hand. Very self-explanatory at this point.

Second-in-command: The person who can take over in the event the captain is incapacitated or killed. 

Medical officer: The person who puts the band-aids on the scrapes and basically keeps everyone alive.

Communications/Linguistic - Not only are we sending out more than one ship on this space exploration mission, we run into the possibility of encountering an alien species, one that's either equally intelligent or more intelligent than our own. Keeping in contact with our sister ships is important. So is making sure that the aliens we've just met are friendly and not about to shoot us.

Botany - Studying the indigenous life on another planet is a bonus and comparing it to known Earth samples so we can determine what's safe and what isn't is a major bonus here

Anthropology - Studying humanoid creatures in the event they're going to attack us is a bonus because we're on a mission of, not only exploration, but survival. 

Mineralogy - Yes, this is an actual word. I googled it. Having someone who knows the chemical structure of minerals like iron and silver is a very valuable asset. 

Engineering - We need someone to keep the ship from breaking apart. Otherwise, we can't do it, Captain. We just dun have the power! (Gotta love Star Trek)

Biology - And here I'm going to break it down simply because there are many aspects to biology to be covered. There are the following sub-categories: Environmental, physiology, zoology, herpatology, microbiology, evolutionary biology, marine biology, the aforementioned anthropology, entymology, and I'm sure there's a few other things I've missed in this vast field of biology. Some people could probably cross-train, after all, because all we really need is notice similarities and do the required studying of the new life flourishing on the planet stretching out before us.

Compounding/Pharmaceutical Technology - We're aboard ships with a limited amount of resources. Eventually, we're going to run out of what we have onboard our ship in order to tend to the sick so knowing how to actually compound medicines from local resources is a MUST. Absolute MUST. 

Geologists/Seismologists - We need to determine if the land we're thinking of inhabiting is not only stable for the construction of homes and eventual businesses but for the eventual mining that we're going to need to do. We are coming from a resource-strapped planet. Having ships ferry resources to us is completely out of the realm of possibility. We'll have better luck taking everything back to Earth than we would to the new home.


Now, mind you, the SRF is just an exploration group. They're eventually going to pave way for more people to come once it's been determined that the planet is safe for us to inhabit. That's the whole point of the exploration group in the first place, and, like I said, some people could possibly cross-train in order to save on the numbers being sent out into deep space. Still, the lack of a decent medical bay and having a doctor onboard each ship is very disturbing. I may have to blame this one on Deputy Director Shimada being one cheap S.O.B. because the ships were ridiculously small and really could only hold upto eight people. 

A quick rundown of the SRF ships - there's the bridge/command center, the local lounging around area, a conference area with two storage rooms to either side and upper portion to the ship with a battle simulator, two bathrooms (one for guys, one for gals), and four bedrooms with two beds to each room.

That's it. 

When the ships crash, all of the injured are taken into the bedrooms while someone tries to work on the injuries, someone who, upon talking to him/her, doesn't seem to be trained for such an event. This is bad planning on the part of the SRF.

Also, all five ships are heading for the same planet. I'm going to try and break it down on the logic on this. 

Aeos is our first planetary stop on our adventure. Our command people at home have sent out unmanned drones throughout the vastness of space and have reported back on Aeos. We have the life-friendly atmosphere that we need - breathable air, tolerable gravity, temps and plantlife reminiscent of the Jurassic area, and, most importantly, no large scale life forms. We have chosen this planet as our first stop so we're sending all five ships to this planet.

One way to justify this is we have small crews to start with - 25 minimum, 40 max. They're not going to be remaining in orbit over the planet upon arrival, they're going to be landing and exploring immediately before moving on to the next planet. Thank goodness we're not reliant on fossil fuels for this endeavor. 

Five ships to one planet tells me that they're trying to cover as much ground in as little time as possible because we have other planets we want to explore. And if one ship gets in trouble, the crews from the other four can immediately lend a hand.

This is both wise and foolish. This is putting all of your eggs into one basket and hoping none of them crack. This is counting your chickens before they've hatched. You're just not going to know what you're going to get by sending that many people to one location and by having them land immediately when there may not actually be a suitable landing place.

It's also clear at this point that the crews are meant to live on the ships while they're on the planet. They have no means of constructing any type of shelters nor is there anyone aboard that has knowledge of how to construct a shelter. It's like the excitement of the exploration project overrode the basic necessities of what the crew would need. 

Again, there is a logical way to look at this - they're not meant to be there that long, but they also were not meant to crash land due to some unforeseen circumstance. Three shipps slagged, one immobilized but completely repairable, and one lost to the vastness of space. Yes. One huge muck up of a mess.

Now, I will give the SRF this - they did train the crews on defense. They have weapons in the event they do find unfriendlies, and that obviously happens when the crew is attacked by insects taller than they are. 

They just didn't train them enough. It's like no one truly expected to encounter hostiles along the way. Reimi's capture on the alternate Earth clearly tells me they didn't expect their crews to be caught and interrogated. It's a sad thing when we look at it this way: Fayt Leingod is a college student. He and Reimi, if we put them in the same timeline, are the same age. He has no military training whatsoever, but he holds up better under torture than what Reimi did upon her capture. As he told Cliff in their cell, "What could I say? It's not like they'd believe I'm from outer space" (or something to that effect). 

By contrast here, due to her training with the SRF for space exploration, Reimi should be the more calm and collected out of this particular comparison. Yeah, we can say it's apples and oranges, we can also say Reimi doesn't have the UP3 guiding her, either, but she's touted as being an intelligent woman and a "level-headed navigator" (guidebook that comes with the game). She has more training and more education than Fayt for this exploration mission. She truly needs to be on par with someone like Maria Traydor, but she's not, and that's because the SRF training program has ultimately failed her. At the beginning, one of her favorite things to do is to tell Edge "don't do anything stupid". 

Now, honestly, I don't know how long the training program for the SRF is. Edge Maverick (MMC) is 20, and Reimi (FMC) is 19. The guidebook says she was chosen at a young age, so that could put either of them anwhere from 13-14 to 15-16 to begin their intense training and education. 

The only ones who know about the fact that there are aliens in this game are the captains. The crews are told nothing until the friendly alien race, the Eldarians, show up. There is a complete lack of trust going on here. Yes, we humans are trying to do this on our own, but, hey, we're on Aeos. Giant insects who are immune to laser blasts! We need help, and we have no medical facilities.

Once more, in the defense of the SRF, things on planet Earth are not so great. We all know the atmosphere is compromised. We're in the aftermath of World War III and the massive fallout from the nuclear weapons. Our planet is dying, and we have got to do something. NOW. The fact that we've taken steps to build ships and train young people to head into the stars should be more than sufficient because we have millions of people who can't even live on the planet's surface anymore.

The rush to get into space, while doing so in secret, is the SRF's biggest downfall. No medical teams, no eventualities in place for encountering alien species, and then, the biggest thing of all is the three genetically modified humans they've sent into space.

I don't know what Crowe's genetic modifications are. He isn't a playable character for any of us so, at best, we're just speculating. Maybe he was given the same properties as Edge - superior speed and strength in a combat situation - but I highly doubt it. The ones involved - Reimi's parents and Edge's father - didn't see fit to do the same thing with Reimi, and, as an archer, being gifted with speed and the ability to calculate where an enemy is going to move to and still hitting the mark is a vastly useful trait. Of course, what they gave her is vastly useful, too, but only to Reimi herself. She's also the actual loose cannon. 

At this point, I'm going to mention I will be cross-posting this to the Elise K. Ra'sha writing blog as part of the Words of Wisdom Wednesday/Writing Tips entry, so I'm going to sound redundant to all fans who have played the game. For this, I apologize, but a bit of a refresher might help.

Reimi's genetic modification is that she will never die of any type of sickness. She has a super-enhanced immune system, one that led to her survival from radiation poisoning while the same thing cost her the lives of some friends. This, in and of itself, is not a horrible thing in that, should she encounter some type of alien sickness, she won't die from it, and she'll recover faster upon given the cure (providing there is one). 

What makes this the bonehead move? No doctor to study the disease and the cure and how they interact within a human body and the great, great, GREAT potential for the disease to mutate and infect someone else, be it a member of her own crew or a member of the alien population they happen to be visiting.

The basic story behind The Last Hope is one of very hopeful adventure and survival so it doesn't really differ from any other epic fantasy adenture out there. It capitalizes on the human spirit for survival, but doesn't take into account some of the very real things that an exploration crew faces. It isn't a horrible game to play. Not in the very least. Hey, I have my favorites, and I utilize them almost all the time when I get the chance to sit down and play. It also explains how we got the UP3 and why we're not supposed to a) engage with less technologically advanced species and b) what should happen in the event we accidentally time travel. As a writer, though, and one of science fiction and fantasy, it's a cautionary tale of what to keep in mind when writing about space exploration and what a crew is actually going to need in order to‚Äč survive.
star_ocean_fan: (Edge Maverick)
 Most people who know me know a thing or two about me when it comes to the female leads of the Star Ocean Universe.

1 - You know I've only played two of the games, Till the End of Time and The Last Hope. I own all but Blue Sphere and the newest game, but getting to play them hasn't been possible at this point.

2 - Of the games I have played, I tend to not like the main female characters for one reason or another. Maria is too extreme in her course of dislike for those who have wronged her, but that can be attributed to the fact that, from age 10, she was raised on a ship, a more nature than nurture environment. Sophia is too naive, but that can be attributed to the fact that her ordeals have not been on a game-changing level. She's been able to maintain her cluelessness, despite learning she'd been genetically altered to fit into a bigger picture. 

And then there's Reimi Saionji in all of this with her apparent jealousy of other women whenever they get too close to Edge and her constant crying of perv whenever Edge freezes up on something or says/does something that the player has ultimately commanded. (Anyone else remember her initial reaction at the Citadel on Lemuris?)

It isn't because I dislike female characters. Far from it, actually. From Till the End of Time, I favor Mirage and Nel of the playable characters and find Tynave, Lady Elena, and Farleen to be fascinating. From The Last Hope, I absolutely adore Sarah, Lymle, and Myria of the playable characters and Lady Elayna (anyone notice what they did there? ^_^). I'm disheartened with the treatment of Meracle. Yes, it's awesome that she's maintained a cheerful and upbeate attitude despite all she's endured, but, to me, that didn't give the writers right-of-way to treat her as nothing more than comedic relief upon introducing Sarah and for antagonizing Cerebrus. Peppita, I'm a bit annoyed with as well, but the reasons for my annoyance with her can also be attributed to having such a hopeful nature and positive attitude about where she's going in her life. I won't touch on other games as of this moment, but others are more than welcome to chime in and point out the pros and cons from the first two games. Let's just leave the newest game off the table until I can get a chance to play it. ^_^

That said, what is it about Reimi that makes her the more susceptible of the female characters I've listed so far? Reimi has discipline. She's mastered two styles of archery (no easy feat, either, I might add, to do one, let alone two). She's studied botany as part of her SRF training. She's the first officer of The Calnus. She has discipline.

Reimi's problem is that she doesn't exert enough of her training in intense situations. She possessed knowledge that her captain did not, knowledge that was beneficial for him to knwo from the beginning. Let me run down the brief list here.

1 - Alternate Earth
Reimi is captured by the U.S. military in basically what is an Area 51 type scenario. Area 51 is one of many favored subjects every science-fiction fan loves to read and talk about. Naturally, the people there are going to jump on the chance to get their hands on a spaceship that has oh so foolishly landed right on top of their base.
Now, it's absolutely no guarantee that Reimi would not have been drugged at Camilla Bachtein's request, and this is a bit more of an indictment against the SRF and its training than it is against Reimi. 
There is one thing that is sticking out with me that Camilla said that must be considered.
She told Edge and the crew she'd drugged Reimi to keep her calm. This, to me, implies that Reimi had gone into fight/hysterics mode in order to get away from them. It's entirely possible that Camilla lied - she wasn't above using Edge's emotions against him in order to obtain the crystal core of the engine drive from him. She wouldn't be above lying about Reimi's behavior in order to justify drugging the poor girl. I personally didn't interpret Camilla's words about Reimi as being completely false. I'll get to that in just a moment.

2 - Roak
Here is where her silence on the Seeds of Hope project could have cost her, not her life, but that of her friends and that of the Roakians. Yes, she has an amazing immune system. Her body will never develop cancer, and her immune system will agressively attack anything that tries to make her sick. 
But, what if in her body's efforts to rid itself of the stone sickness, it mutated the virus and it spread to the others? Bacchus himself would be immune to the disease, but that's because he'd already contracted the disease and it mutated on him. 
This is where Mr. and Mrs. Saionji lose brownie points for bad parenting and Reimi loses respect from me. 
She knew about the genetic experiments done on her due to some stupidity on the parts of her and some friends. They died from radiation poisoning, she lived. Mommy and Daddy told her the truth, not just about her but about Edge and Crowe. This is the same yet completely different scenario that played out between Fayt, Maria, and, eventually, Sophia. Maria learned the truth about herself, much like Reimi did. The knowledge caused her to hate herself, hate her body, much like Reimi hated herself. 
Here's the difference: Maria is not a childhood friend of Fayt's. They don't meet until they're both 19. Sophia doesn't even know a blessed thing about her powers until she's at Moonbase with the rest of them and finding out at the same time as Fayt and Maria. There are no secrets in this particular group. 
Reimi keeps quiet on the whole matter. For herself, I kind of understand. For most people, someone who is genetically different is quite obviously a so-called freak. That's how our society has behaved since the stamping out of the Pagan cultures. Her fear of rejection is quite understandable.
With the person in question was anyone other than Edge. These two, upon his father's death, grew up together. The Saionjis technically adopted him. Why did it take Reimi contracting the stone sickness for that particular truth to come out? And Reimi had plenty of opportunities to tell him the truth, from the time they crashed on Aeos (they had plenty of alone time) until they secure the cure and her body heals itself. 
This isn't just a lack of trust and faith in a trusted, childhood friend. It's a lack of faith and trust in her commanding officer. For this mission, trust is key to survival. 

3 - The Collapsing of Nox Obscuris
This is actually a very pivotal moment right here. Faize, as Sataniel, has been defeated. Nox Obscuris can no longer sustain itself, and the crew needs to get to safety. Reimi is the second in command. It should be obvious by now that Edge is not going to leave a man behind, no matter how severe the betrayal is. Edge has a great capacity for kindness and compassion here. He's being, not just a good leader, but a damned good leader, one who is leading by example and buiding his crew up instead of tearing them down.
Reimi's focus is solely on Edge rather than ensuring the rest of the crew gets to safety. This is gross dereliction of duty here, one that, in our current times, could get her court-martialed. 
To put it bluntly, Reimi has the responsibilities of Maria but the emotional nature of Sophia. She's not fit to be on any type of an expedition, not if she's going to ignore her training to remain calm and collective and to put the lives of the crew before hers, before Edge's. 

To me, this is actually quite sad. Reimi gets a stereotype depiction that's unbefitting of everything she's accomplished. Even Sophia, who is two years younger than her, has enough sense to remain calm in a stressful situation. Sophia has no training whatsoever, and she, too, endured captivity. If the writers had gone in a slightly different direction with Reimi, I might have been able to find her more tolerable as a lead female character. Instead, we get a young, 19-year-old who's infatuated with a guy who is, in a sense, her adopted brother, and allows her emotions to rule her. She is not a strong female character. Meracle, for the poor character treatment she's given, is a far stronger female character than Reimi. 

When it comes right down to it, Reimi (along with Meracle, Maria, and Sophia) gets shafted as a potential strong female lead. Perhaps some character exploration is in order. We'll see what happens.
star_ocean_fan: (Default)
 Back on January 30, 2012, the inaugural entry of The Star Ocean Universe, I wrote about the reasons of why Fayt Leingod and Maria Traydor's powers manifested in the way that they did and the differences between the two of them.

Here is the original entry.

"As most people who've played Till the End of Time know, the characters of Fayt Leingod, Maria Traydor, and Sophia Esteed are the ones chosen by a group of scientists (their parents) to save the universe. They are given the following powers: Destruction - Fayt, Alteration - Maria, and Connection - Sophia. I'm leaving Sophia Esteed out of the equation due to how and when her powers manifested in the game. Unlike the situations for Fayt and Maria, Sophia's situation for manifestation isn't severe. It's more of getting to the right point in the game when her powers trigger. The reasons for her power manifestation are completely different from those surrounding Fayt and Maria.
Read more... )


star_ocean_fan: (Default)

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