Lunar: Dragon Song. I’d say it’s garbage, but for the fact that festering carrion rats frequently use garbage as a squalid staging ground within which to uncontrollably breed both their rancid vermin spawn and the plague-ridden parasites that prey upon every filth-soaked inch of their scabby flesh, all of which gives said garbage a level of value to the world that Lunar: Dragon Song can’t possibly compare to. While it’s true that no one single aspect of this game is to blame for its being universally reviled (it’s more like every single part of the title works together in evil harmony to create its crappiness, like a twisted, masterfully horrible symphony of agony and human vice), let’s take a look at its characters for now.
Jian: Jian is of the Selfish, Bull-Headed Moron subgenre of RPG heroes. It’s a well-known fact that about 50% of all JRPG heroes are complete idiots by design, but not all idiots are created equally unintelligent. Most of the time, an idiot protagonist comes in the form of someone like Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia 1, a teenage simpleton whose heart of gold sees him through his adventure and makes up for the fact that reading his age backwards gives you his IQ. However, sometimes they make an idiot protagonist and forget to counterbalance his stupidity with a likable personality, leaving you with a self-centered dipshit like Jian. Yeah, Jian is all about racial equality and all (which is less wise and forward-thinking than it initially seems to be, when one considers that it’s HIS race that’s the one being looked down on as inferior; of COURSE the one being persecuted wants people to treat each other better), but more than that, Jian is about pursuing what HE wants and values, as impatiently and recklessly as possible. Aside from just hurling himself face-first into whatever his current objective happens to be without the slightest forethought whatsoever, he really has no personality to speak of.
And actually, I make it out like he’s stupid, but he seems to be the only person in all of Lunar who has figured out that hitting an enemy once is actually, incredibly enough, less effective than hitting them more than once. Jian is, in all seriousness, the deadliest fighter in the world simply because he thinks to kick his foe three times instead of just once. So as stupid as he is, everyone else in the game is apparently even dumber.
Lucia: Oh, yeah, great idea, Japan Art Media. Name the main female character of this Lunar game the SAME NAME as the lead female character of Lunar 2. Because THAT won’t cause confusion or anything. Jesus, people, this is not the Suikoden series, you don’t have literally dozens of female characters in each title that you have to come up with names for. This is not a huge RPG series like Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy, or Shin Megami Tensei; there are only 4 Lunar titles with distinct stories and casts! You guys could not think of ANY other name to give this character than the same one as an iconic former cast member?
Anyway, Lucia is...uh...boring. Like, really boring. You thought the first game’s Luna was a boring, lackluster character utterly devoid of personality? You ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen Lucia. Along with Goddess of Lunar, Althena must also be Goddess of Ultimate Blandness, because every mortal incarnation of her has all the personality of a moist block of tofu.
Jian and Lucia’s Love: AKA Sir Not Appearing In This Game. Seriously, this romantic subplot is so irrelevant, unconvincing, and for all practical purposes nonexistent, that it actually makes Lunar 1’s love story between Alex and Luna look wildly romantic and convincing.
Gabi: The writers’ strategy when making Gabi’s character seems to have been hoping that you’ll be too enthralled by the novelty of “OMG CATGIRL KAWAII” to actually read her dull, uninspired occasionally-plot-forwarding-but-mostly-just-pointless dialogue. Unfortunately, Japan Art Media forgot that it’s not the goddamn 1980s any more and catgirls aren’t the new, adorable anime phenomenon that they were 30 years ago, so the fact that Gabi is a super boring character whose only point of depth (that whole thing where she uses her brand new friends as the next wave of cannon fodder for her dad’s army) barely makes sense anyway does not go unnoticed just because someone glued a pair of feline ears onto her head. Sadly, she’s probably still the highlight of this cast.
Rufus: Considering that Rufus is shown more prominently on the game’s cover than Gabi (the character who is, aside from Jian, with the party the longest, and does the most of importance to the plot), it’s a little puzzling that he’s only in the game for one full dungeon before getting killed off. What was the point of having Rufus in there anyway? We never learn much of anything about him, he doesn’t do anything that really affects the way the plot unfolds, he doesn’t seem to have any particular influence on Jian’s character either way, and his position as a replacement for Gabi and Flora isn’t important to the story because Jian’s forcing Gabi and Flora away was meaningless; it didn’t develop any of them or show us anything important about their characters. You take poor Rufus out the picture entirely, and Lunar: Dragon Song would proceed virtually unchanged.
Flora: “Hi! Did someone here order a conveniently-timed, obligatory generic healer?”
Ignatius: Oh, hey, an arrogant, self-righteous semi-smooth talker who plans to control Althena and abuse her powers for his poorly-reasoned, quasi-misguided but mostly just evil-in-a-dumb-way villain motives. Just like Ghaleon. The villain from Lunar 1. Bit of a one trick pony there, aren’tcha, Japan Art Media?