Saturday, July 18, 2015

Guest Rant: Energy Breaker's Ties to the Lufia Series, by Humza

Whoo! Guest rant! Interesting new perspectives, AND less work for me! What's not to love?

Today's guest rant is authored by one Humza, a frequent reader here who I am particularly fond of, for the fact that he called the attention of one of my most revered game industry heroes, Chris Avellone, to one of my rants, which resulted in Mr. Avellone calling it “brilliant.” Yup, one of the highlights of my life right there. And now Humza does me another solid with a guest rant! What a fine gentleman he is.

Anyway, disclaimer: I make no pretense of ownership of Mr. Humza's words here, and this guest rant does not necessarily reflect my own opinions and perceptions. That said, though, I wouldn't publish it if I didn't think it was at least worth reading and contemplating, so check it out.

Energy Breaker’s Ties to the Lufia Series

July 13, 2015

This won’t make sense to anyone that’s not familiar with at least the first two installments of the Lufia series, so reading this would be a waste of time; no previous knowledge of Energy Breaker is required, though.

So there are a couple of references in Energy Breaker that relate to the Lufia series. The first of these is a quest in which the party takes a request from an NPC in order to progress the plot. The details of the request involve planting a genetically modified seed and bringing the flower to the NPC. This turns out to be the Priphea Flower, which some might remember as the type of flower which Lufia likes so much (maybe even being one of her character’s defining traits*).

This is pretty straight forward – but what’s so special and interesting about finding the origins of a flower that’s barely related to the overarching events of the series? To answer that question, we must look back at the character that loves the flowers so much. One of the game’s more memorable aspects of the character Lufia is the fact that she is Erim, the Sinistral of Death. In the opening of Lufia 2, it’s clear that Erim believes that Sinistrals are far superior to humans, and the theme of Humans vs. Sinistrals often recurs through the game.

This, I think, demonstrates the purpose of the aforementioned quest: Sinistrals can also benefit from humans, and the differences between them may not be as stark as Erim originally thought. This can also demonstrate Erim’s character development as she gradually became more accepting of humans from the beginning of Lufia 2 the end of Lufia 1 (to the point that she enjoyed their creations to a great extent).

The other reference to the Lufia series in Energy Breaker is the Dual Blade, the legendary sword that seems to have a mind of its own (as it stabbed Lufia against the protagonist’s will at the end of the first game and has the ability to choose its wielder). This, admittedly, is shakier than the first point, but it’s also more interesting.

The Dual Blade’s appearance in Energy Breaker isn’t connected to the plot like Priphea Flowers are, but it makes an appearance as one of the strongest weapons in the game. This raises a number of questions, such as why it isn’t as strong as it was in the Lufia games, how the Dual Blade gained the strength it holds, as well as where the blade’s almost-sentient qualities originate from.

In Lufia: The Legend Returns for the GBC, Milka states that the Dual Blade was not made by humans and implies that Sinistrals could not have made the weapon either, so there must have been an event to change the Dual Blade if it turned from a strong (but not special) sword to what it is in the Lufia series.

In Energy Breaker, the only character that can wield the Dual Blade is Leon, since it fits with the weapon type he uses. After the game’s credits, Leon is shown sitting (seemingly dead?) at the bottom of an ocean, and Selphia’s spirit appears to do something to him before she teleports. My theory is that she sealed his spirit or mind into the Dual Blade, which I’ll admit is quite farfetched. But it fills the ambiguities relatively eloquently – Leon was a strong character in the game, so sealing his spirit into a sword would most likely make it stronger. It also answers the question of how the Dual Blade is able to stab Lufia on its own, or how it is able to choose the person that should wield it. The Dual Blade is also found in an underwater shrine in Lufia 2, and we last see Leon underwater. The absence of his body or its remnants can be attributed to decay or fossilization.

You would be able to poke some holes into this theory by inquiring why the Dual Blade chose Daos at first, but Leon was not always in cahoots with the party, and there’s the possibility that his mind degraded either due to time or due to the process itself.

Both of these are probably simple cameos that weren’t bestowed with any special meaning since the writer for the Lufia games didn’t appear in Energy Breaker’s credits, but canonical or not, it's still interesting to think about.

* The RPGenius Says: Yup. Admiring Priphea flowers, making cinnamon tea, and fawning over the mostly unresponsive lump that passes for a protagonist...these are the defining, and only, traits of Lufia.


  1. Just finished Energy Breaker today, and I have to say, your Dual Blade theory definitely holds up. Also, the potential hole you bring up about the Dual Blade's first choice for a wielder isn't necessarily a hole at all; for most of his life, Leon was a follower of Pope Oriales, whose ambitions for the eradication of humanity are not wholly dissimilar from those of Daos. He has to be convinced by Myra and company that humanity is worth opposing Oriales for, and as 1 of the Dark Generals, he was created for the sole purpose of serving Oriales's ambitions. As such, between Daos and Maxim, Leon's first instinct would be to serve Daos, who is far closer to Oriales. Just as Leon had to be convinced by the words and will of Myra and her companions to turn away from Oriales, so, too, does the Dual Blade, holding both his own and Selphia's souls, need to be convinced by the words and will of Maxim to turn away from Daos. If anything, this 'hole' you bring up in your theory actually strengthens it from the perspective of narrative consistency.

    Fun thought: what if the Sinistrals' Doom Island is, in fact, the island upon which the entirety of Energy Breaker takes place?

    1. Thanks for the comment! Hopefully, you enjoyed the game, even if it was unfinished.

      Your interpretation ofthe "hole" I mentioned is a good point. I didn't consider that Leon probably did a lot of bad stuff under Pope Oriales' command since his objection to Limitz killing people in Pioneer Town was so strong, but the straw might've broken the camel's back at that point, or his objection might've been partly because of who was responsible for the killing rather than the act itself. Your interpretation makes a lot of sense, though, since Leon's is a story of redemption and character regression is always a possibility.

      The idea of Doom Island being the continent Energy Breaker takes place on is a neat idea, too. I think it's possible The Legend of Heroes series was influenced by Energy Breaker slightly, since the continent names are only a single letter apart ("Zamuria"/"ザムリア" in Energy Breaker and "Zemuria"/"ゼムリア" in The Legend of Heroes), and because of the uncommon gameplay system (both involve walking around in an overworld, but switching to a tactical battle field during encounters; this could be attributed to Live A Live, though). There aren't many similarities, though, since the stories don't share much in common than any other two random JRPGs.

      I wanted to watch Trigun since I was looking into the game's staff and saw that they share the same artist (and I heard that Trigun is good after reading about it), but I ended up forgetting about that. Your comment reminded me to put it back on the list of things to watch, so thanks for that!

    2. I saw that note, actually, heh. But thanks for sharing it in case I hadn't.

      It may not even be that Leon's necessarily done evil stuff or consciously regresses. He'd just have an instinct, since his fated purpose was as Oriales's stooge, to initially follow Daos. Additionally, given that the transition from dude to magical anti-god sword entity is not too specifically laid out, it's reasonable to say that the Dual Blade's consciousness doesn't necessarily have to be anything more than based partially on Leon's subconscious.

      Yeah, I feel like Ze/Zamuria is a hard name to come up randomly twice. Chances are good on that influence.

      Definitely check out Trigun! 1 of the best animes ever made, and also 1 of my absolute favorites.