僕の冬 #2018

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Years go by and each of brings new standards, new evolutions, in good or bad. Mine this year will be perhaps disappointing for those who enjoy reading this blog, because I will mostly stop posting game reviews on it. I recently joined VGChartz as writer, so this is a whole new challenge for me. VGChartz staff are great people and they gave me the warmest welcome I could ever imagine, so technically I could keep posting reviews here but at some point the amount of publishing between French and English is too demanding. January has already strained me quite a bit. So reviews should be found in the VGChartz review list from now on, although I might keep a few little ones for the blog. That doesn’t mean blogging stops here : I will replace with posts like this on anime, and I seriously consider translating my posts about my travels in Japan (although that might kill me completely given the extensive content). Opinion pieces will still be there, so it’s not goodbye or anything.

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I got PSVR for Christmas, mostly by curiosity about a few titles since the VR craze hasn’t really been convincing to me. Yet my short experiment of Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash in VR certainly was. I hadn’t expected such a deep level of immersion. I was at loss for words after getting the helmet off, stupefied by the scale of the revolution I had just witnessed. If such incredible result was achievable in 6 months of PSVR, just imagine what content will be available in 5 or 10 years ! The array of possibilities are staggering, this will be truly a human revolution if they become reality. Since then I’ve bought Hoshi no Kakera no Monogatari which is amazing as well.

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In a more classic way, Dissidia FF NT has come to warm the icy week-end of January. With all the efforts, raging and twitching, my body always end up feeling like burning. In short, the usual symptoms when playing a good fighting game. SquareEnix’s product is beautiful, the animations are incredible and it has a dream-like soundtrack for series fans. More than ever, the FF universe is recreated perfectly. Online play is really harsh though, which exacerbates some unbalance between character types. Terra, like all Shoot characters, is tricky to play as because far to slow and virtually defenseless. It’s exhausting to try to earn a few points and that’s a shame because so the rest of the game is so good. But enough of gaming and let’s talk other media.

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Kûsen Madôshi Kôhosei no Kyôkan is an old harem that was sleeping in my hard disk so I thought I could give it a try. That anime is about Kanata, a nonchalant military instructor who has been given the task to turn three lousy magical knights aspirant girls into tactical pros. Action scenes were under the par but for the rest it was fun nicely directed. Character management was pretty good, especially in the last episode because it breaks the rules of the genre and let the girls strike the final blow and not the hero.

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A spin-off about an interesting character is generally worth the time, even when the original work is poor. Aiz is the main character of Sword Oratoria and expectedly it’s a lot better than Danmachi, even though the writers couldn’t refrain from liking it to the main story, which is annoying. The Loki family is quite a entertaining group, composed of characters a lot more amusing and charismatic than the crybabies of the original anime. Battles aren’t jokes, there are serious confrontations and a real show. In fact, it has almost everything that Danmachi lacked.

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Classroom of the Elite was fairly interesting for its originality. 4 classes of highschoolers rival each other to get the best positions later, but the ranking isn’t just made of school marks. It involves points, the management of which is complex and only the best minds can get the most of it. Ayanokôji, the protagonist, is an expert in the field and will discreetly come up with plans to beat the other classes, despite the poor students of his class. Classroom of the Elite is one of those animes that invent complex but fascinating rules, and the mystery surrounding Ayanokôji is another reason to want more.

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Gamers made me think a lot. It shows the numerous misunderstandings between five gaming fans in love with each other. It kinds of busts the fundamental contradiction between love and gaming. It’s almost too well directed : the dream-like relationships between those otakus guys & gals is like advising us to look for a similar reality ourselves. Fun and moving, it was clearly a great show.

Chise aC

Masterpiece here. Princess Principal tells the missions of 4 spy girls in a fictional London split into 2 at the beginning of the 20th century. A unique universe featuring political intrigues, betrayals and admirable moral messages. That anime surprises you almost every time, especially in episode 8, which overturns the narrative so much that my brain made a system error : impossible to get a clear picture of what that meant for the rest of the story. Mind-blowing and best anime of the season.

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The first thing I do when coming back from Japan is always symptomatic. In October 2015, I had booted the PS4 version of Nights of Azure. In 2016, I had started Persona 5. In Spring 2015 I… … maybe it’s better not saying that. In 2017, I rushed to my TV to start watching the 2nd season of New Game, my favorite of 2016. Although it loses its originality, this show keeps delivering, especially in depicting rivalry and ambition. The shattered hopes of Aoba made an unforgettable scene. I also appreciated the renewed role for Hifumi and Umiko, and all the parodies of professional life were as true, and hilarious, as ever.

Ijosha no ai

I found that manga on a bookshop display in Fukuoka station. Pretty sure it shouldn’t have been there though… What Ijôsha no Ai tells or shows is absolutely gruesome, and certainly not for all audiences. Midô is your not-so-average middle schooler in love with a young boy called Kazumi. She’s so deeply in love with him that one day, she just stabs one her rivals in love in the classroom. Unable to erase Kazumi from or head, she’ll quickly come back to haunt her loved one, after years of isolation. Then starts a real thriller between Kazumi who seeks revenge, and yandere gold medalist Midô capable of doing the most horrible things to keep him for herself. The narrative, full of shocking scenes and amazing twists, ends up hooking. But I repeat, the level of psychological violence here is unprecedented.

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Most anticipated games of 2018

Fate Extella Link (PS4/PSVita)

Astolfo

How great to see Marvelous keeping Vita version for Fate Extella Link ! PS4 version obviously getting a huge graphical overhaul, it was far from guaranteed. But yes, we’ll be able to fight for the holy Grail in cross-play, with new fun or classy characters like cute Astolfo or sexy Sacthach. There’s even a full Mah-Jong game in the limited edition !!

Girls und Panzers Dream Tank Match (PS4)

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Girls und Panzers on PSVita already being a good adaptation, I’m looking forward to experiencing the same sensations in a prettier, smoother and richer PS4 entry. Girls und Panzers Dream Tank Match features all the characters, all the tanks and all the battles from the movie, all this also in multiplayer.

Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet (PS4)

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At long last ! Three years… I’ve been waiting 3 years for an SAO game taking place in the fantastic universe of Gun Gale Online, featured in the Phantom Bullet arc. I’m gonna be able to SNIPE at will as Shinon or the original avatar. Because Bamco finally understood that the player wants maximum choice : you’ll have Kirito and his friends plus an original character to create yourself, who’s gonna have its own story. Artworks looks extremely promising and multiplayer should be implemented again. It’s time for SAO to be back on top.

Senran Kagura Burst Renewal (PS4)

Yomi

Thanks to Senran Kagura Burst Renewal, we’ll almost be able to wipe the series history clean of Nintendo systems. The founding game telling the story of the first two ninja schools is being remade for PS4 in splendid 3D and 60 fps, with redesigned menus.

Shining Resonance Refrain (PS4)

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Clearly no one expected Shining Resonance to show up again. And when you think it’s coming back with a whole new scenario in which you have Jenuis and Excella from the start, the hype goes high ! The story would need to be re-written entirely, and I’m curious to see how.

Death End Request (PS4)

Shina

Compile Heart is in dire straits. Sales keep dwindling, new ideas and skillfullness lack clearly. Their last hope is Nanameda Kei, Compile’s new star illustrator, and the Galapagos RPG team. Taking place in an MMORPG from where the heroine Shiina cannot escape, Death End Request seems to be the innovative and deep title the company needs, not to mention it respects Compile’s spirit.

Caligula Overdose (PS4)

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Yet another remaster with additional content, but this one is interesting : adding to new friends and foes, Caligula Overdose includes an “if story” in which you’re gonna side with the opposing gakushi, and explore their personalities as you did for your allies.

Valkyria Chronicles 4 (PS4)

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Was it all a bad dream ? I kind remember playing a failed Action-RPG called Valkyria one year ago… Yeah, that was surely a dream. Valkyria Chronicles, the real one, is coming back like it has ever been, in an episode featuring the missions of the Atlantic Federation (you know, the diplomats trying to lure you in the first game) against the Empire in snowy lands. Game system, battle system… everything is inherited from the original Valkyria Chronicles (they understood that it was better not to change anything) and characters seem charismatic. This means a big 14’000¥ collector’s edition for me.

Soul Calibur VI (PS4)

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SoulCalibur’s return was sure desired, but less expected. But still we’re gonna be able to cross swords a 6th time. Namco has mention some ideas about reboot and “simplicity”. Quite not what I want to hear but they did a good job with Tekken, so that should go well…

Catherine Full Body (PS4/PSVita)

Rin

This wasn’t expected either, even less on PSVita. Thanks to that handheld version, I’ll be able to experience that strange dating/puzzle game. Vincent, a unresolved young man, spends his days in a bar where a girl called Catherine tries to seduce him. During the night, Vincent is trapped in his dreams, in which he must escape by climbing a sort of Jenga tower ! A clear UFO that will be perfect for commuting.

13 Sentinels Aegis Rim (PS4/PSVita)

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Let’s say it again, 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim has the potential to become the next 2D adventure masterpiece thanks to its incomparable atmosphere. A handful of high-schoolers must act before and after the end of the world, helped by strange mechas. With time and choice parameters, it looks absolutely outstanding.

Final Fantasy XV (PS4)

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Final Fantasy XV development is going smoothly according to SquareEnix, who publishes Active Time Reports on a regular basis.There will be an early access version on PC in a few weeks, with only 4 playable characters (not the best ones). Probably SquareEnix will polish the game at this occasion, before hopefully giving all the information on the final version.

Zanki Zero (PS4/PSVita)

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Quite austere Survival-RPG, Zanki Zero was back at TGS with new interesting hints. As developers had already shown, the characters should age, and there seem to be some strange resurrection mechanic… Well, the fate of those 8 survivalists is still shrouded in mystery.

The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel IV (PS4)

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Trails of Cold Steel IV is a nightmare for Western fans of The Legend of Heroes (you, actually). The first pictures are potential huge spoilers about Trails of Cold Steel III and they’re being shared everywhere in the world as we speak. But of course, for me and Japanese fans, those informations are highly valuable for knowing what to expect.

Granblue Fantasy Re-link (PS4)

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The gameplay video of Granblue Fantasy Relink surprised pretty much everyone. No one expected such high end graphics and exciting action. We should have though, because the people behind this are the geniuses of Platinum Games. Although the talented developer seem to stay on Nintendo’s side, we’ll gladly take such epic heroic-fantasy, especially since it will be in VR too.

I’m also waiting for Persona 5 Dancing Star Night (PS4/PSVita), Persona 3 Dancing Moon Night (PS4/PSVita), Project Lux (PSVR), Ace Combat 7 (PS4), Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (PS4), Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4), Ni no Kuni II Revenant Kingdom (PS4), Code Vein (PS4), Senran Kagura 7EVEN (PS4), World End Syndrome (PSVita) and Bullet Girls Phantasia (PS4/PSVita).

Unfinalized Fantasy XV

 

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We’ve come used to day one patches. Developers fix the problems in their games after release, benefit of the internet age. Although it leaves the door open to some lack of polish, it’s clearly a progress compared to the time you were stuck with a freezing disc. But when Hajime Tabate patches Final Fantasy XV, it’s a whole different story.

Final Fantasy XV started strong in Japan with more than 700’000 copies sold first week (digital taken into account), and 5 millions shipped worldwide. The always tired-looking producer could have boasted about those figures, if he hadn’t said a little too much. In the short term, he wants to re-balance the gameplay in the 13th chapter, said to be something horrendous according to GAF. The mid term objective is to enrich the narrative with new cutscenes, in order to explain the destiny of some characters better. Last but not least, in the long term, key-characters of the narrative will become playable, and character creation is thought about. Yes, you read that right : SquareEnix is going to re-develop Final Fantasy XV in 2017. The game wasn’t finished at all when it hit shelves on November 28th 2016.

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All this is disastrous of course. Lots of outraged players consider having been mocked. They’re right on this : they could live only part of the experience planned by the developers. They might start it again when the changes are in place, but nothing will replace the delight of experiencing a game for the first time. Some said they would stop playing at once, others congratulated themselves for cancelling their preorder, and some simply said they would “wait”. The latter, and that’s my case, are the big winners in this whole FFXV mess : next year, they’ll have the full Final Fantasy XV experience for half price, whereas day one buyers paid full price for half the content. In other words, they paid 60€ to be beta testers. No wonder many are screaming in anger today. It’s a huge blow dealt to SquareEnix’s brand image, and to Japanese gaming in general. A true national shame. After that, people will still be surprised that the Japanese gaming market digs year after year. How can it be otherwise when it creates its own deflation? Indeed, because of apparatchiks like Mr. Tabata (or Mr. Futami for Sword Art Online) who rush unfinished games on the market, the best thing to do is always to “wait”.

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But all this is also, at the same time, absolutely wonderful. To be the true heir of the series, Final Fantasy XV lacked more playable characters, and gender equality. You’ve never heard of a main Final Fantasy that would have only one playable character. You’ve never heard of a main Final Fantasy where women would have a walk-on part. Can you imagine even one second Final Fantasy IX without Dagga or Final Fantasy X without Yuna? The setting of Final Fantasy XV is obviously freakin’ dumb as it is now, an abnormality usurping its name. The very good news is that now, we know that this was not the objective : Final Fantasy XV wasn’t doomed to be simply bromance stuff, SquareEnix just wanted to get the money earlier. I’d rather imagine that the key-characters include Cidney, Iris and Aranea. The developers were saying last October that they would “tackle the question of [playing as a female character]”. Character creation might also allow us to revive Stella or make Luna something else than a fleeting narrative object. That still leaves the problem of Gladio, Ignis and Prompto, only playable via paid DLC… … … hum, actually not a problem. How cares about those three? The deal is now fair and square, Final Fantasy will be Final Fantasy again, even though we’ll have to wait the “long term”. This pain in my chest, I feel it vanishing.

This day is the worst day, and yet the best day for Final Fantasy in recent memory. Tabata and SquareEnix have been deceiving people to get the bucks earlier. They discredited themselves in front of the world, public thunderstruck that they could sell them a game that wouldn’t be complete before months. Still, while the publisher didn’t lose its marketing tricks, it also hasn’t lost sight of what is a JRPG, and what makes a Final Fantasy. The looming clouds in the series’ horizon have cleared.

But where do those names in JRPGs come from? (D)

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Daeva

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Final Fantasy X-2 : Deva is a demonic-looking monster.

Origin : Zoroastrianism

In Avestan language, generic term for demon.

Daigoro

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Final Fantasy X : Yojimbo’s dog

Origin : Manga

子連れ狼 (Kotsure Ôkami, Lone Wolf and Cub in English) is a manga by Kazuo Koike published in the 70’s. It tells the vengeance of Ôgami Ittô, a high-rank shogunate officer, against the Yagyû clan. One day he comes home, he finds his wife assassinated next to their 1-year old son Daigoro. The father then gives him the choice between a ball and a sword. If the boy catches the ball, Ittô would kill him. But Daigoro gets close to the sword, and his father considers he’s chosen the path of the warrior. Hence he takes his son along in its crusade.

Dante

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Project X Zone : Dante is one of the numerous guest characters

Origin : History of Italy

Dante Alighieri is an Italian author of the 13th century. He’s often regarded as the greatest poet in Italian language, notably for its masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. He also had an important political role for he was appointed high magistrate of Florence in 1300. However, because of internal strife at that time, he was banished of the city in 1302. Banishment that was lift in… 2008!

Divine Comedy

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Final Fantasy : the name of Ifrit’s attack (French version)

Origin : Italian literature

Very famous and long poem by Dante Alighieri that tells the road from Hell to Paradise. Dante puts himself in hard trials by which he will atone for his sins, helped by the poet Virgil. Dante starts in a dark wood symbolizing its worst sins, where Virgil tells him to take a long a tiring side path, presumably through Gool and Evil, so as to avoid the sins. Then he and Virgil go down deep in Hell, witnessing the suffering of sinners and traitors (notice that the traitors, considered as the most evil humans on Earth, are tortured at the deepest level), and then exit to Purgatory and Paradise.

Djinn

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Golden Sun : summon beasts in this series

Origin : the Koran

Djinns are invisible creatures said to be born from fire. They can be of various forms (animal, plant, antropomorphic…). Like humans, they have free will and can be inclined for good, evil or neutrality. 

Dullahan

dullahan

Final Fantasy VI : boss depicted as an undead chariot driver

Origin : Irish legends

Dullahans are said to be spirits that can take off their head, which they generally bear under their arm. Travelling in a chariot which is in fact a coffin, they drive a black horse with a whip is is no other than a human backbone. When the Dullahan stops, it means that someone will die. It calls that person, who dies on the spot.

Durandal

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Final Fantasy X : a blade for Tidus

Origin : French literature

In Roland’s Song, epic of the 11th century telling the glory of knight Roland, Durandal is the sword that he wields during the battle of Ronceveaux moutain pass. Injured to death by the Vascones, Roland tries to smash the blade into pieces on a huge rock to avoid that the enemy seizes it, but the rock was destroyed instead.

JRPG, for a change of power

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Despite having a limited importance on the market, JRPGs still maintain themselves in the spotlight. It is still the king of Japanese gaming : every manufacturer, publisher or developer wants its own JRPG to express their talent and influence. It’s a genre that has been captivating players for 25 years, there’s a lot at stake for Japanese companies.

In this long-running struggle, Final Fantasy had long been a unquestioned leader : its extreme refinements at each episode, its overwhelming content, its emotional power had crushed the competition for a long time. But lately, its leadership has been contested by outsiders like Tales of or Xenoblade. Final Fantasy XV’s motto “reclaim your throne” echoes the necessity to take back the crown. But the returning king could very well be robbed of its throne by a malicious thief.

March 30th, May 5th 2016, two dates that might change the balance of power for JRPGs worldwide. Two events aiming at striking the heart of the people, but of opposed style. More than that, a clash of ideologies : Final Fantasy XV and Persona 5 don’t offer their JRPG experience in the same way. Absolutely not.

Final Fantasy XV went for a lavish show : fashionable soiree, large audience, funny MCs, CG movie, commercial partnerships… SquareEnix actually held that in Los Angeles, sign that they’re dropping the original spirit. Uncovered Final Fantasy XV feels terrible by its locked communication and flowery articles in the mainstream press. The publisher seeks to widen its marketing target, but distances itself from players in the same process.

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The case of Kingslaive, animated movie that tells the events that occurred before FFXV, is interesting : the short film sure has a energetic pace, but it show a western way of making entertainment, we still aren’t in the JRPG sphere. It’s just like SquareEnix was going back to an approach similar to Final Fantasy The Spirits Within, and we know how that finished… And there is that Audi R8, which almost jumps out at your face, which ultimately suggests that pretty everything went awry in rotten business plan and a movie shot with a bugdet it doesn’t even have. And fuck, why is the gameplay trailer ending on Stand by Me!? This is truly the end, the RPG Final Fantasy XV is not Japanese anymore.

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On the other side of the planet, Persona 5 (which tells the adventures of a Arsene Lupin-like master thieves) declares that it will “steal Tokyo Tower”. Original and clever way to make the buzz : the lights of the famous red structure indeed went off on 5/5 at 10pm. The commentary is given by some old Japanese lady no one knows where she comes from, and by the characters who run the prison in the game. An anime will air in September for the launch of the game, and it can only be better than Brotherhood, the tasteless attempt of Final Fantasy XV to go media mix. In short, Atlus shows a better symbiosis with its fans than SquareEnix, less business, more fun and passion. Cooler, closer to the people… Doesn’t that ring a bell? Yes, that is Sony’s strategy with the PS4, and it works.

PLATINUM DEMO – FINAL FANTASY XV_20160514170440

But that was just the appearance of things. On the content presented, the gap is even wider between the two. Final Fantasy XV hardly shows anything new, since the trailer is just a patchwork of super short sequences that refrain to show precise gameplay or any bit of consistent narrative. True, there was the Platinum demo. But this trial version in reality doesn’t represent the FFXV experience and in fact, dodges the question of gameplay by conjuring up spin-off content. And that’s fortunate, because gameplay in the Platinum demo is atrocious : there is one button for attack and one to maintain for both defense and counter. Confusing, rough, even Duscae was more exciting than this. Evasion has magically vanished and the poor QTEs don’t give much hope for deep gameplay. Surely that was some secret experiment from the publisher that was recently saying in a Famitsu interview that half of the Duscae poll respondents wanted it less complex… Unavoidable consequence : between Duscae and Platinum, gameplay got nothing but worse and the hype for the story deflated.

Persona 5 does show lots of gameplay, serious gameplay. Stealth, joint assaults, dungeons, magic, interface, time management… you have to watch the trailer several times to pick up everything. You know more about Persona 5 after 4 minutes in video than you know about Final Fantasy XV after 2 demos. It also communicate an excitement on the storyline that Final Fantasy XV has barely shown. The master thieves are up to some unbelievable stunts and have the entire world against them.

But Atlus will strike its competitor when it hurts, on characters. No need to remind you how unappealing Noctis’s group is : JRPG players in the world are split between anger ad hilarity, SquareEnox failing to notice. Final Fantasy betrays and 25-year long heritage by refusing the very idea of a permanent playable female character. The series constructed itself by respecting parity to deliver the best in terms of story, emotion, art and visuals : the sloppy setting of Final Fantasy XV cannot work, and Atlus is fully aware of that.

P5 girls

While Persona 5’s team was already flattening the other in charisma even before May 5th , the dev team doesn’t just add one, but THREE heroines. Parity is totally rebalanced in Persona 5, loud and clear message send to its opponents and to the players worldwide. The role of the girls is heavily underlined in the trailer, way of showing that no, Persona 5 doesn’t have double standards.

All those elements show that Persona 5 wants to restate its commitment to the JRPG genre, and to its audience. It can be considered part of “the Final Fantasy spirit” which Bravely Default failed to inherit. With Final Fantasy itself being so far from its roots, Atlus’s series has a historical chance to reign over JRPG.

But where do those names in JRPGs come from? (C)

Cid dans la baston

Let’s have a pause during this Easter week-end before resuming the busy release calendar. The third letter, strangely enough, revolves around a small region of Ireland.

Caduceus

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Final Fantasy X : A staff for Yuna with the Pharmacology ability, which boosts the effect of healing items

Origin : Greek mythology

The caduceus is Hermes’s staff in the legends. Apollo is said to have given it to him in exchange for a lyre or/and panpipes. The scepter is represented with two snakes curled around it, facing each other, and a pair of small wings on its top. The wings illustrate the role of messenger : Iris, Hera’s messenger, holds the caduceus in some works. The snakes symbolize either peace or desire depending on the stories. The caduceus is said to be able to bring a gentle death to living, and revive the dead.

Caith sith

CaitSith

Final Fantasy VII : Strange cat mounted on a big stuffed animal

Origin : Celtic legends

In Scotland, it is said that ghostly black cats haunt the Highlands. Caith Sith are said to steal souls.

Caladbolg

Edward

Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn : Caladbolg is a sword for Edward.

Origin : Ulster cycle

The sword of Fergus mac Roich. Fergus uses it to wreak havoc on the Ulstermen during the attack of Ulster.

Carbuncle

Carbuncle

Final Fantasy : a cute summon beast with a red gem on his head

Origin : Book of Imaginary Beings

In his work, Spanish author Jorge Luis Borges mention a strange creature with jewel on its head. The Carbuncle is said to live somewhere in South America. Besides, the word appears to qualify a red gem in some translations of the Bible.

Caligula

Caligula ca

Caligula : title of a new RPG for PSVita by Furyu

Origin : Roman history

Roman emperor who reigned from 37 to 41 AD. After a benevolent start of reign, he progressively turns himself into a merciless tyrant, sentencing several members of the senate to death. He is murdered by the praetorian guard in January 41.

Chimera

Chimaira

Final Fantasy X : monster with three heads of various animals, and a snake as a tail

Origine : Greek mythology

The Chimera first appear in Homer’s Iliad as “a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire”. Later, the poet Hesiod counts in Theogony how the hero Bellerophon slays the Chimera with the help of the flying horse Pegasus.

Cid

Cid

Final Fantasy : God or bad, scientist or soldier, there’s always a character called Cid in Final Fantasy.

Origine : History of Spain

Rodrigo Diaz is a great figure of the Spanish Reconquista. Opportunist, he sides with the Moors (Muslim tribes that controlled the south of the peninsula then) when the King stops supporting him. His contribution to countless victories earns him the title of El Cid (“the master” in Arabic). By forming various alliance but still against King Alfonso VI, he fights in the siege of Valencia from 1092 to 1094, city which he will rule until his death in 1099.

Conall Curach

Conall

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles : Conall Curach is a very dangerous marsh.

Origin : Ulster cycle

The troublemaker Bricriu invites Cuchulainn, Conall Cernach and Loegaire Buadach to a feast, promising to each of them the champion’s portion. Despite Cuchulainn clearly being on top, everyone of them claims the champion’s part. To settle the conflict, the three have to take a last challenge. A giant churl appears and asks that someone cuts its head, and to come to get his head cut the following day. Conall and Loegaire cut the head of the churl but disappear the following morning. Cuchulainn does go back the following day, but the churl spares him, making him worthy of the champion’s portion.

Despite being rivals, Conall and Cuchulainn swear that they shall avenge one another should one of them be killed. Conall therefore kills Lugaid after Cuchulainn’s death.

Cuchulainn

Cuchulainn

Final Fantasy XII : Cuchulainn is a ugly creature living in Rabanastre’s sewers

Origin : Ulster cycle

Young Cuchulainn is so beautiful that Ulstermen fear he will steal their wives and ruin their daugthers. Thus they go find the most beautiful girl in Ireland, Emer, to marry him. Her father, Forgall, refuses tough until Cuchulain is fully trained by the swordmaster Scathach (secretly hoping the young man would die in the process). Cuchulainn indeed finds his match in Aife (a wowan rumored to be his half-sister in some versions). He narrowly defeats Aife but lets her live provided they have a child, which they do. Cuchulainn claims Emer’s hand once returned, but Forgall still won’t listen, so Cuchulainn kills everyone in his castle and abducts Emer.

A the age of seventeen, Cuchulainn plays a great role in defending Ulster from the army of Connacht, led by queen Medb. Although allowing the enemy to enter the city at first because he was with a woman, Cuchulainn prevents them from advancing further by calling the right of single combats and fords. He defeats several opponents but ends up severely wounded. The god Lugh puts him to sleep during three days so that his wounds heal. When we wakes up and realizing that Ulstermen were slaughtered, he transforms into an hideous and shapeless monster unable to distingiush friends from foes, and kills hundreds.