Favorite Character Arcs/Stories?


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Jan 11, 2021
I've been playing through Xenogears and I just finished up the storyline in Shevat. Maria's storyline/arc is probably my second favorite so far (second to Billy's) mostly because of the god-tier music and just how well they ramped up to the point where you get playable Siebzehn and feel just how powerful it is in combat.

Billy's storyline is my favorite mostly because of how it advances the religious discussion that's been taking place. Sucks that he won't have any more screen time ;-;
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My favorite was always Emeralda. I know she was given very little screen time overall, but I just liked her short arc. She's just a kid who was brought into the world by two loving parents, who was meant to help save humanity. That was obviously cut short, but she eventually got to be reunited with her parents and know that they remember her and still love her, and she does still get to help save humanity by powering up and becoming an insanely strong party member who gets to help finally stop Deus.
My favorite character arc/story arc is Citan's because while you have to read between the lines and have a little bit of context outside the game itself (which is a huge problem with it for a lot of Westerners who've never watched or read another piece of Japanese media in their lives or at least one with samurai/their concepts involved and/or who go in with an American Christian mindset and miss it all, which is where they often get thrown and are like WTF BIGGEST ASSHOLE EVER) it's one of the deepest of the game in a sense, touching on everything from interpretation of religion to the meaning of loyalty and duty (and changing said allegiances), and more.

If you go into it with an understanding of Japanese culture - ESPECIALLY samurai tropes which he's very much based upon - and a view of him *as* bound to obedience/oath/duty per samurai tropes - and an understanding of the concept of Satan as a once loyal yet pragmatic and aware servant of God that can no longer withstand the contradictions of "God is good/good God just committed genocide, so is God actually Bad God or is genocide good" and can't decide whether to side with God or humanity before choosing humanity (basically the antithesis of the American Christian teaching) -

*that* view really makes Citan's arc one of the most poignant of the game, as you realize, when he finally does take back his sword and turn it against Solaris to save everyone and eventually against Deus/YHVH himself... yet having had to both do horrible things and suffer a Pyrrhic victory in the end as a result... that you were, all the while, watching that aforementioned progression from servant of God convinced God is absolute good to enemy of God on realizing absolute power corrupts absolutely, from loyal samurai to free ronin... and that his choice to free himself and help free humanity from servitude to Solaris parallel's Fei's to save humanity and free the Wave Existence from servitude to humanity.

tl:dr Citan isn't just about making Fei do all the work and forcing people into cannibalism for the sake of being a traitorous dick, and if that's anyone's serious non-shitposting view of his arc, I *highly* recommend at the very least reading Paradise Lost and a few history books on samurai :)

EDIT TO ADD: Also, one other thing I like about Citan is, again because this is actually handled better than the named disorder in the game but the signs are definitely there if you look - he and Midori both seem to be on the autism spectrum, and neither are lesser for it. (In fact, Citan's portrayal really holds up even now as a portrayal of an adult autistic man not as Rain Man/inspirational yet pathetic, but as valid in setting) I could only wish Fei's condition had been written *half* as well and half as sensitively, but I think part of that is that there's enough people on the spectrum in gaming that it just naturally appeared for whomever was writing him, whereas the amount of out plural people in Japan or in the games industry at all is pretty few even today, and was likely 0 in 90s Japan.

And one final edit: One reason I like going with my endgame party as Citan and Billy or Citan and Chuchu backing up Fei is for me it actually completes the allegory to finish the story that way: with Billy, it's all three of the people that Deus's existence and dominance have directly affected the most finally settling matters, and with Chuchu it's like an anticolonialist concept - the survivor/goddess of a genocided indigenous culture that Solaris and Deus (and everyone else to be honest) sees as a joke gets to fight and win against the being that tried to stomp her and her people out for good.
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Another character arc I absolutely love (at least having read Liquid Sky) is Sigurd's - how he takes his power and control over himself back, overcomes the trauma that his life has been, and instead of just being someone who hurts others because of his pain and suffering, becomes someone who protects others and recovers from the awful hands his life has dealt him - from oppression to a forced drug addiction - even in a world where there were no therapists, no guides, no resources. He would have had every reason to become just like Id - instead, he somehow did the near-impossible task of not only helping himself but others, of being someone that others could rely on.

That could be seen as problematic in some views of it (e.g. if you view him in an "up by the bootstraps" way, which would be really bad), but I like it in context as a contrast - that he was both lucky and obviously had a deep well of resilience to draw from, that not all who are traumatized and have undergone intense suffering will be doomed to displace that hurt onto others, even in the absence of structural and official supports.
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I love Bart for being a genuine friend to Fei the whole way through. Everything's such a complicated mess that the group is trying to navigate, but he's resolute in a steadfast show of support that really taps into human kindness and a commitment to equity/justice that really speaks to me. Love that dude.
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That one part where soylent green was made was one of my favorite moments of the story lmao