Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tales of Legendia's Shirley's Free Pass

You know, when you think about it, Tales of Legendia’s second half really, really glossed the hell over Shirley’s actions. I mean, this cutesy flower-crown-making dame was going to straight up murder every human being in the fucking world because the guy she liked didn’t like her back!

I love Tales of Legendia, honest to Palutena I do, but when I look back on this game critically, it is frankly astounding that no one, during the second half of the game, seems to take any issue whatsoever with the fact that Shirley was moments away from drowning the entire human goddamn species because her feelings weren’t reciprocated! I think there’s, what, a moment during the second half in which the party makes a lighthearted joke about it? Ha ha, yeah, good natured ribbing, nice one guys, ha ha, you made her blush, ha ha, she was going to murder you all over a teenage crush.

And hey, look, I’ll be fair about this. I know that the catalyst for Shirley’s deciding to go forward with Maurits’s plan* to annihilate the human species is, ostensibly, the death of Shirley’s friend Fenimore. It’s quite a tragic scene, and I myself was moved by her loss, even if she was often kind of a jerk. And I also acknowledge that the influence of the raging water god thing** that Shirley was connected to probably had something to do with the matter. It’s not JUST the fact that Senel rejected Shirley’s advances that galvanize her to go forward with Maurits’s scheme.

Nonetheless, even if there are mitigating factors, I feel that we can only logically conclude that the only truly important part in Shirley’s decision to drown the human race is her desired romance with Senel. Her guiding philosophy as the Merines is that humans and Ferines can’t live together peacefully; they’re too different and historically humans have treated her people the way white people historically have treated Native Americans. It’s an idea that’s catalyzed by Fenimore’s death, but maintained by Senel’s rejection, as evidenced by the fact that the moment Senel says, “Uh, you don't need to kill us, Shirley...because...I love you. Oh, yeah, baby! I feel like doing stuff for you, and stuff,” Shirley calls off Armageddon in favor of smooch time.***

And yet, despite the fact that Shirley’s way of dealing with rejection from her personality-lacking protector is less “write bad poetry in my room” and more “untold millions of innocents must die for no reason”, no one, particularly not her new boytoy Senel (who has, in the proud tradition of Legend of Dragoon’s Dart and Final Fantasy 8’s Squall, spontaneously flipped his brain switch to love her for no particularly credible reason), calls her out after the fact on this incredibly petty rationale.

And it IS petty. So very, very petty, and selfish, not to mention illogical and stupid. Because, you see, it’s not just that Shirley’s mind could be changed by seeing love between a human and a Ferines. She, specifically, has to be the one to benefit and get a beau out of it. How do we know that she’s holding millions of lives ransom for a boyfriend, and it’s not just a philosophical matter of not believing that peace can occur between the 2 species without there being proof that they can love one another? How do we know it’s purely selfishly subjective, and not general and objective? Because Shirley already knows that humans and Ferines can love each other. She was there to witness it! Before Senel settles for this whiny silver medal, he was in love with Shirley’s sister, Stella! In fact, we see far more convincing evidence of Senel’s devotion and affection for Stella in this game, even though it’s all in her absence and after her passing, than we do of his eventual feelings for Shirley!

Oh, and by the way, real fucking considerate on Shirley’s part to get so upset over Senel’s rejection of her confession when he just lost Stella, what, a week ago? A day? Stella’s loss is still fresh and painful when Shirley makes her bid for the guy’s heart. Dyntos forbid the guy take a fucking moment to mourn the loss of the love of his life before doing a forward half somersault dive into your panties, you insensitive cow!****

And that’s not all. Senel may not immediately return Shirley’s affections, but he has been there as her steadfast friend her whole life, and throughout the entirety of the game’s first half, he is throwing himself into dozens of life-threatening situations and running himself fucking ragged trying to take care of and guard her! Say what you will of Senel’s otherwise lacking character depth, but the guy is a loyal, unrelenting protector and friend to Shirley. Forget romantic love, his mere friendship with Shirley is MORE than enough evidence for any objective observer that humanity and magical water plot people can coexist with deep, meaningful bonds!

If Shirley wanted any real evidence that humans and Ferines can come to live in harmony, she has only to look at the entirety of her fucking life for it. The love she witnessed all her life between her sister and Senel, and the intense devotion Senel has to her as a friend and would-have-been brother-in-law, should be far more than enough to convince her not to go through with Maurits’s genocide plans. But that’s only IF she were not just being a selfish, spoiled little twat about the whole affair, using the philosophy of Maurits as an excuse to lash out over a failed teen crush. Yes, the decision to extinguish an entire species of people comes down not to her people’s history, not to the death of Fenimore, not to a philosophical policy of “get them before they get us,” but rather the fact that her fragile feelings are fucking hurt and she’s got the opportunity to throw the biggest tantrum in history over it.

What a petty, stupid, selfish, and just outright horrible person Shirley is. At least when it comes to Fenimore and Maurits and the rest of the Ferines, their hatred for humans and harmful wishes are based on actual tragedy and atrocity witnessed by, and even inflicted onto, them. Genocide isn’t the answer, of course, but at least their lives have born witness to tragedies that you could understand leading to that kind of decision. Fenimore’s death catalyst aside, Shirley won’t snap out of her self-indulgently gloomy murder haze solely because she got friendzoned. Yeah, well, Shirley, you know what? The question of whether you can live in peace together with someone else should NOT have to depend on whether they’re willing to stick a dick in you!

I really like Tales of Legendia. Of the 5 Tales of games I’ve played, it’s my favorite, for its great cast and the terrific sense of family and home it creates among them. But the game’s not flawless, even in the areas in which it truly shines, and nothing proves that better than how quickly and inexplicably the entire cast is willing to completely forgive and forget about the fact that Shirley is a terrible person.

* Speaking of inexplicable free passes, how about that Maurits? He’s the guy who orchestrates the whole human extinction plan to start with, and unlike Shirley, there was no stage of the plan in which he wasn’t fully aware of what he was doing. And yet during the game’s second half, he’s still alive and well, and even being allowed to continue leading the Ferines village! Look, I know that vengeance is bad and many times harsh punishments don’t really solve anything, but maybe his intention to slaughter millions of people deserves at least a slap on the wrist, huh? Could we perhaps not let this guy keep a leadership role, at least? If Hitler had lived to see the end of World War II, we probably wouldn’t have reinstated him as leader of Germany, don’t you think?

** Not a euphemism for her period, I swear.

*** If anyone can actually find a link to a video of when Futurama’s Bender says this (the episode called Love and Rocket), I’d be grateful. It just isn’t as funny in text form.

**** I realize that Shirley’s also broken up about Stella’s loss, too, and I sympathize and allow her that, but that doesn’t really relate to this situation, so neither does my sympathy. Also, it doesn’t really fit in anywhere else in the rant, but I want to note--Stella’s death is not an adequate factor for Shirley wanting to drown humanity, the way Fenimore’s death is (in theory, at least). Stella may die because of human vice, but her last acts are to protect Shirley and (more importantly) Senel from harm. If anything, Stella’s death is a positive example of the love of a few outweighing the hate of many, and thus should be another reason for Shirley not to go forward with the genocide thing.


  1. Anime RPGs were a mistake. I swear, it's like most of these "writers" learned everything they know from these very JRPGs and low tier anime.

    I never played this game, so I took a Sparknotes course in ToL storylines. Yeah, Shirley alone leads me to think I didn't miss out.

    1. Oh, now, I think that's rather harsh. Yes, absurd non-human behavior patterns might abound in anime RPGs like this (culminating in the ultimate study of failure to understand human interaction and nature, Xenosaga 3), and even the good anime RPGs have a certain group of cliches and tropes they can't escape from, but Tales of Legendia is legitimately rad, and aside from this one (admittedly glaring) oversight, its cast's interactions and joined development are its best quality. And a substantial number of the greatest RPGs ever made are anime RPGs, like Wild Arms 3, Final Fantasy 9, SMT Persona 3, and, of course, the incomparable Grandia 2. I think this type of RPG has offered more than enough positives to justify its existence.

    2. define anime rpg. To a certain exstent, suikoden 2 is an anime rpg(It even has a fucking visual novel, which among other things, explain clearly why Luca Blight is so messed up).

    3. It was mostly a playful reference to that "anime was a mistake" fake Miyazaki quote. I loosely use it as a category based on how heavily the game runs on anime tropes and archetypes, too often a workaround to actually writing a serviceable script. I simply cannot imagine it being hard to bullshit a good plot relative to so much that gets sold for fiat.

      I hold most of the anime tropes I'm aware of in very low regard, and think games and franchises do themselves a disservice in going in that direction, if not bucking off large numbers of installed fans/customers. That said, it is very much a spectrum with a lot of exceptions, it being an arbitrary category and all.

      Persona 3 and Wild Arms 3 with fit the label and I love those games, while Tales of Symphonia and Rogue Galaxy do as well and lie somewhere between running on generic ideas and nearly lacking a single original thought(I was predicting almost the entire plot of Rogue Galaxy five minutes or fifteen hours ahead, down to many scripted lines).

      Mostly my reaction here was founded on the PTSD flashbacks of similar setups, if only similar mostly in apparent pettiness and blindness toward basic facts.

    4. Oh. Whoops. I totally misread your intent on that, my man. My bad on that. I ruined what I can now see was actually a pretty good job. Damn it!

      Ugh, ToS and especially RG. Yeah, you and me both on that one. The only thing unexpected to me about Rogue Galaxy was that there turned out to be absolutely no part of it that was unexpected.

      Anyway, this is me completely misunderstanding your tone and ruining your clever jibe, and I do apologize for that, sir. Very annoyed with myself.

    5. "nearly lacking a single original thought"

      What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

      Sorry. Couldn't help but quote Ecclesiastes 1:9 in reference to that, especially considering your handle.

    6. Much respect to the timely quote, though Rogue Galaxy is a bit of a deja vu lightning round. Your quote doesn't just apply to the game, it's essentially the premise.

  2. You forgot the fact that Shirley forgot becoming the Merines would actually do. She though it would only cause everyone to be happy and only remembers during the transformation.

    1. I didn't forget it, it just didn't seem particularly relevant. Yeah, she's initially misled by Maurits into attempting the Accession ceremony...BUT, as she herself says as she takes the power of the Merines, in the very same speech in which we learn that she had forgotten its implications, she failed the first time because of the sudden realization of what it would lead to. As in, she consciously CHOSE, the first time, to abort the ceremony. So, since she doesn't abort it this second time, but instead fully goes through with it, Shirley is 100% voluntarily accepting her role as bringer of genocide in this instance.

      And that means, as I say above, she's ignoring her lifetime's worth of personal experience regarding the possibility of humans and Ferines coexisting because it somehow doesn't stack up against the tragedy of Fenimore's death UNLESS she gets a boytoy out of it. Because just as she consciously completes this ceremony to become the bringer of watery Armageddon, she consciously (or at least, semi-consciously-based-on-emotions-she's-consciously-aware-of) backs out of the plan at the finale because Senel suddenly loves her, even though, again as I stated above, the possibility of love between magical water elf and human being was already proven beyond question to her by Senel and Stella. Which means that him saying he loves Shirley isn't snapping her out of her murder funk for any objective rationale based on philosophy of whether or not such love is possible, because that evidence was already available to her. It has to be strictly for personal, abhorrently selfish reasons.

      So ultimately, it doesn't matter that she's not fully cognizant of what's gonna happen as she begins to go through with this, because she becomes aware of the consequences before the point of no return, and keeps going. If I get in my car to go to the deli, I don't know, pulling out of my driveway, that I'll hit and kill someone crossing the road halfway to my destination...but once I get to the part of the trip in which I see them crossing the road, if I consciously choose not to hit the brakes and let them by, and instead decide to use that person as a speed bump rather than slightly delay my need for a sandwich, I am still 100% at fault. The fact that I didn't know what was going to happen the moment I turned the ignition key doesn't absolve me from the guilt of consciously doing wrong later, when I DID know what was going to happen and chose not to alter my actions.

  3. Wow, I wish I had found this earlier. This reflects a lot of my post-Main Quest issues with Shirley that no one ever bothers to mention.

    It always annoyed me how, even beyond Senel, during the many times she was kidnapped, once Shirley was rescued by Senel and friends for a brief moment, other party members tried to be amicable towards Shirley, who all but snubbed them. I understand the context of the Orerines-Ferines conflict, but that didn't stop her from loving Senel, as you said (which really kills the whole idea of Shirley doubting the two races can co-exist since she was all over Senel since her early childhood). While I'd understand being a bit wary of a bunch of strangers, I like to think knowing these people are directly affiliated with Senel (many of them just dropped what they were doing to risk their lives to save her) would have made Shirley at least consider being just a little inclined to thank these people and want to get to know them.

    Because seriously, during the MQ, who other than Senel who isn't of her race does Shirley have anything to do with? Actually, I'll go one further: what can be said about Shirley as a character that doesn't involve Senel, her race, or her position as God of her race? Even post-Main Quest, I honestly cannot think of a single thing that qualifies as a hobby of Shirley's. With the other PCs, they have established hobbies or ones that can easily be inferred from their behavior and backstory. Shirley doesn't even have a defining trait of being a great or terrible cook (as far as I recall).

    Everything about Shirley in the Character Quests is focused on trying to make it feel like Shirley fits in with this group when I never felt she did. She can't take a joke about Senel without nearly getting violent about it, most CQs I recall her doing little more than just saying "Senel..." at times that really didn't call for it, her "friendships" with the likes of Chloe and Norma felt forced as hell, she laughs/giggles at a really inappropriate time (during the Will CQ I think, after Harriet's legitimately upset and attacks Senel before running off) making equally inappropriate comments that are never questioned.

    The most Shirley gets in the CQs is a bonk on the head from Will that she practically begged for anyway for the sake of fitting in. Given the timing of Jay's CQ, I really don't think Shirley was the only one who could have brought Jay back to this senses (it was just plot convenience for her to be at the right place and right time).

    But yeah, it REALLY bothered me how she (and Maurits, who I still want to know how the hell he even survived past the MQ) is absolved of all her crimes and no one but Thyra questions it (and Thyra's made into a strawman on top of that). Regardless of what got Shirley in the situation, she was seconds away from committing global genocide and only halted that because Senel had to kill his own dignity by letting Shirley have him. Not only that, but there are quite a few prominent NPC deaths Shirley is indirectly responsible for.

    I feel like they inserted a time gap of a few months between the main quest and character quests to avoid putting effort into making Shirley truly fit into the status quo. A lot of the family-like bonding that built up from the PCs happened while Shirley wasn't even there. And there wasn't any point in the game where I felt Shirley truly belonged with this group. Again, maybe if they gave Shirley some characteristics beyond her Senel fascination and Chosen One dilemma, she might have stood a chance at having some organic character growth.

    Towards the end of the game I remember her saying something along the lines of "I've learned to accept the things I hate about myself." ... like, really, that's what she got out of this whole experience? To acknowledge she's a selfish, short-sighted, possessive and jealous tool, but not strive to CHANGE any of those things? Just... wow.

    1. (Remainder of my reply since I broke the character limit!)

      (And hey, it's really hard not to compare the Ferines race with the menstrual cycle - the game clearly describes them in a manner that matches the symptoms to a tee, which only tells me these people have no business being in a position of power - GENOCIDE could occur from this race feeling cranky for all we know...)

      But yeah, this is refreshing to see after so many people rant about how anyone who hated Shirley's character is bad and should feel bad.

    2. Good point on Shirley's initial reticence to trust the others. As you say, there's reason for her to be cautious, but considering how much (and how willingly) they risk themselves for her, she could sure as hell stand to smile and shake hands a bit.

      Shirley's role in the group past the Main Quest is, indeed, quite forced, and suffers from the fact that, as you point out, she doesn't have a whole lot of a character beyond Senel. I took a lot of this in stride, however, because, well...oddly enough, that in itself made it feel more natural to me. I know that doesn't make any sense, but think about it in real-world friendship circle terms. Shirley is have a group of tight-knit friends, and 1 of them gets a new girlfriend, and he really wants her to be a part of their activities, so they let her start hanging out with them, even though she'll never have their history. It's always gonna be awkward and forced, for a good while; any inclusion of and spotlight on her is going to almost surely be a case of someone actively trying to make her more included. Additionally, to this group of friends, the only defining characteristic of this newcomer's existence IS, in fact, her connection to their actual friend. I can't say I really liked it, mind you, but it seemed normal enough (aside from the odd forgiveness of her near murder-spree, of course) that it kinda just rolled over me as I focused more on the rest of the characters and the events they dealt with.

      There are people who strongly defend Shirley? Really? I can see there being some people who like her to some extent because they haven't really contemplated her adequately, but I'm surprised to know she has adamant supporters out there.

      Anyway, glad you enjoyed the rant! Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

    3. I get what you mean about the “one of these things is not like the others” scenario with a new friend inserting their self into a circle by virtue of being a significant other to a friend who does fit in. I understand it, but considering I’m the type of person who had a very tiny circle of close-knit friends irl and did not take well to outsiders trying to butt in, that’s probably why I had a harder time accepting Shirley as “one of them”.

      I always felt Shirley would have been better off character-wise as a villain. Her appearance and demeanor are neat subversions of the trope and her lack of interest in anything other than Senel or her race would’ve made her a shoe-in for the spot, if only she wasn’t so quick to flip-flop on Senel’s word. I also fancied a what-if scenario of Shirley dying instead of Stella; it would no doubt give Stella a mental breakdown that, combined with her extended time in stasis, make her a more compelling story of her descending to the dark side. Shirley dying at that point wouldn’t have impacted any of the other PCs at that point. Plus, I would have loved to see Chloe interact with Stella post-MQ. Unambiguously being Senel’s girlfriend might have made things with Chloe way more interesting and organic.

      And some accuse Stella of being a Mary Sue and even less interesting than Shirley, but I don’t see it. Stella has an actual character trait that went unexplored due to story circumstances: she’s the only Ferines who proved to defy the will of Nerifes and wasn’t a total racist. I feel like Shirley was being more of a follower and going along with her sister without really thinking about it, plus the crush on Senel solidified it. But outside of Senel, I had a hard time seeing how Shirley was truly different from other Ferines. Mostly we just saw how jealous and selfish she was - I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Stella was the true rebel of her own race. Considering how flat and racist the likes of Walter, Fenimore, Maurits, and Thyra were, the Ferines definitely came off as a race with a hive mind mentality with little to no ability or desire to break out of the mold. But Stella did. And that alone made her more interesting to me than Shirley ever could.

      Anyway, what I like to do is apply some headcanon to make Shirley more interesting or possibly bearable. I think it’s safe to say that objectively, Shirley as a character was not well written. How else can so many people perceive her in vastly different ways?

      So I like to make the best of it and perceive her as a passive-aggressive emotional manipulator. Because making her honest-to-god a sweet little cinnabun angel bores me.

    4. (Reply Part 2!)

      As for the fandom... yeah. Shirley had a larger hatebase during Legendia’s early years, but there was a vocal minority that had no problem harassing real-life people to defend a fictional character. As far as I recall, those who hated Shirley didn’t track down Shirley fans and hounded them on how could they dare like her. But the other way around ... it’s very much a thing, and to a degree still is today. I’ve had Shirley fans wish bodily harm on me, stalk me, and harass me when I never instigated any sort of conflict. To be fair this has happened to me outside of Shirley and Legendia too; society’s really screwed up these days.

      But I’ve befriended people who like Shirley without issue; they’re the people who respect differing opinions and can understand why she’s disliked. Some like her for the issues surrounding her character, and that’s all well and good for me. If you Google anything about Shirley, you’re likely to find both the conflict and the fans who take fictional character matters way too personally. The main pet peeve I have when they aren’t attacking me is how often they go “How can anyone hate Shirley?!” ... because answers to that question are so freaking easy to find. Even people I’ve explained my reasons to will pull this.

      —whoops, didn’t mean to go on a tangent there. I don’t want to imply everyone is like that. Legendia’s fanbase is pretty small, but there are several varying dimensions to it; many of which can be extreme.

    5. Hm, you're probably right, it would have been a lot more interesting, I'm sure, to have Stella awaken and survive and Shirley be the one to die.

      I don't think one can really say that Stella was a Mary Sue character. She was really more of a plot device than a character, so to speak. That said, that still means she had the potential, if they were to have tried to make her more than that, to have been better than Shirley. That said, I highly disagree with the idea that Stella, in being a decent person, was the 'rebel' of her race. 1 must remember that the prejudices and rage of the rest of the Ferines comes from experience and history, not just some dogmatic egotism (like, say, the elves in Tales of Phantasia). Theirs is a race that's abused and killed for no reason by humans, viewed and treated as animals and obstacles by an invasive, conquering race that has stolen their own planet from them. To say that they have a hivemind mentality with little ability to think outside the box when all they're doing is reacting the same, completely understandable way to a world that views them as second class citizens at best...well, I'd say that's pretty damn unfair. Not saying that they're right to fight hate with hate and murder with genocide, mind you, but certainly their mindset is very human and understandable.

      I'm still just extraordinarily surprised that Shirley can have such rabidly devoted fans. Bizarre. Mildly positive fans, sure, I can buy that. But staunch, hostile support of her? Even taking her at the value the game wants us to, I wouldn't think she'd inspire any such fanaticism. Well, if you ever wish to do so, feel free to link this rant to any of them you encounter, if you think it shall help get your point across.

    6. I should have worded that part about the Ferines better. It's also been nearly a decade since I personally played the game, so some finer details might be lost on me. By the hivemind mentality, I was referring more to the will of Nerifes. Unless I'm totally misremembering it, it felt like the will of the sea didn't just heavily influence the Merines, but the rest of the race as well. At least I'm thinking that was how Maurits hijacked the power after Shirley changed her mind about killing everybody, though I still think that was DEM-level crap for the story and plot. And the endgame portion of the MQ is one of the most anticlimactic segments I've ever seen. In most games, including the Tales series, we'd be tasked with literally beating sense into misguided villains and the like. It would've been cathartic for me to actually battle Merines Goth Shirley, and the "shadow" you battle of her and Senel in the actual endgame just didn't do it for me.

      Might be nitpicky on my end, but I really didn't like the plot twist of the Orerines being the actual aliens to the world and being the stereotypical dictators. I remember even while I played the game thinking "Oh, so this is the Ferines' get-out-of-jail-free card for being douches". Yeah, the hate and racism isn't entirely unfounded, but the whole thing about following the will of the ocean is something that made the Ferines come off as a hive mind.

      I think that's what intrigued me about Stella. Not only did she get together with Senel despite him being of the race of her natural mortal enemy, but the reason she ultimately ended up dying was also profound. She basically sacrificed her life to save the Rexalian Empire, even though its destruction wouldn't have endangered Senel's, Shirley's, or her entire race's wellbeing in the least. She had nothing to gain and everything to lose by doing this, and the only logical reason I can think of why she'd do this is because she truly believed the two races could coexist, and that the Orerines as a whole don't deserve to be mass slaughtered. And after years of having pseudo-omnipotence with the Legacy, I think Stella was aware she'd likely die doing this. The full scene is still fuzzy in my memory, but it seemed like Shirley wasn't in the mindset to throw her life away at a moment's notice. Plus, and this is probably my headcanon discrediting any mildly decent intent Shirley has, but Senel being there might be a huge influence in almost everything she does. Not so much with Stella, given her only recently regaining full consciousness of herself and clearly takes initiative, Senel or not.

    7. (because apparently I don't know how to be concise...)

      I believe that's the lead-in to my what-if of Shirley dying; if her Merines powers didn't short out and her desire to be useful to everyone to make up for being such a burden made her go into overload where her Teriques is the one that breaks stopping the Nerifes Cannon. That in turn would give Stella endless guilt, and so on.

      All in all, what I find inexcusable in a meta sense is that the alleged "heroine" of Legendia barely qualifies as a character, given that she has virtually no identity beyond "obsessed with Senel", "Jesus of her people", and... maybe "wanting to fit in" by the CQs, though I feel that largely falls under the Senel-loving aspect of her character, especially seeing she clearly wants nothing to do with the PCs until after she has Senel firmly under her grasp. And... Senel looked so out of it during that alleged "Rite of Feriyen" cutscene at the MQ's end. It came off to me as the equivalent of Shirley getting Senel into a drugged out stupor and then taking him to a drive-thru wedding. Might be a stretch, but again, that's the only way I know how to make her even vaguely interesting.

      I should note that in the official Legendia manga, Shirley is actually a million times better. Within the first chapter, I think she actually risks her life by diving into the sea to save a random drowning boy. A truly noble, selfless act that we'd expect from most heroines! On top of that, she doesn't get kidnapped immediately, so Shirley has scenes in Werites Beacon where she actually talks to Will and Chloe (and Jay, I think) independently! It's a very bizarre experience, but at least one medium of Legendia depicts Shirley in a way that makes her likable.

      And yeah, I've been meaning to share your post at least on my tumblr or something. I don't think there's a convenient share feature on this site, but if nothing else I can still link to it! I really am grateful you took the time to write this and reply as well! ♥

    8. Hm, it's been a little while since I played the game myself, but I think the will of the Raging Nerifas was only manifested in and manipulating Shirley; the rest were fully conscious of what they were doing.

      I can't say I entirely disliked the idea that the "normal" humans were alien invaders. I mean, it's not an elegant plot point, in that it barely accomplishes anything more than just having them be different natural inhabitants of the world would (it only makes it more normal that the Raging Nerifes would hate them, but that could have easily been accomplished just by the Nerifes being disgusted at the horrible things the humans have done to the Ferines; don't need the alien angle for that). But elegant or not, it adequately draws the parallel between the game's situation and what has happened (and is STILL happening, for that matter) in our own world's history over and over again between indigenous people and imperialistic invaders. So it works for me, albeit in a way I wish was a little better written.

      Yeah, Shirley's just a very bland, non-faceted character. Not a new development in RPG love interests by any means, but still annoying. She has a few okay moments, I suppose, but overall, this game has a case of what I call Love Hina Syndrome, wherein almost all the cast is interesting and engaging, but have the spotlight stolen from them by the only 2 individuals who are completely banal--who unfortunately happen to be the main characters and whose romance unfortunately happens to be the major focus.

      I'll have to check out the manga some time.

      Anyway, you're quite welcome, I'm always happy to converse about RPGs and my rants. Thank YOU for taking the time to read and reply! Feedback and comments like these always make my day.

  4. I hear that her reception is much more welcoming in Japan than in the West. But even they have their own faults with her. And they more support Chloe instead. I agree with a lot of what you said. But you and everyone here gotta realize that not only is this based on like some weird Japanese animu human psychology, but you gotta realize that the kind hero/main group trope is a thing in a lot of animes. Even if the villain/2ndary villain or whatever did something bad? It don't matter. They are forgiven. You think that's bad? You should see Granblue Fantasy. We have a person who literally tried to destroy the entire world and disrupt balance because he found out the secret of his existence and his meaning to the guy he was trying to please and get along with for much of his life. And yet he was popular enough in Japan to get a redemption story, even they originally planned him to be essentially a one-time villain. That's kinda the problem here. It's not only due to the whole main group being to saintly (ESPECIALLY THE MC), but it's also due to the whole husbando/waifu factor. You can never kill off the people who are popular, even if they are written as pieces of trash originally. In fact, if you watch any animes, play any J-games, and come across a former-villain-turned-good-character, not many of them are likeable at the beginning at all. It's only until you start bonding with them and they stopped acting crazy is when you start getting better opinions of them.

    For Shirley, she's nothing new. Even in Suikoden 3, you got a best friend who seemed like a cool guy at first, but then under the wrong circumstances and string of events, he turned into a real douchebag. And when you bring him back in, he gets pretty much forgiven. This is how anime works. Villains, you don't trust at all until they pledge their allegiance to you and time has passed for a bit. While once-friends-turned-villains? They try to forgive no matter what they done in the end, cuz "that's what friends do". I mean, look at motherfucking Naruto. Sasuke went on dark hell bent ways and even tried to kill some people, like Karin or whatever her name was. And yet he gets forgiven. And the two girls who were in love with him before his redemption STILL loves him. One even married him. It's all about the redemption story for Japan. Or reserving love/friendship for someone. Like I once heard a wild rumor that Kishimoto didn't allow Sakura to marry off with Naruto because he didn't want to NTR the true MC (coughSasukecough), despite the articles/interviews of him saying to his wife that he saw his wife in Hinata. Bull fucking shit.

    1. (Part 2 due to text limit)

      Anyways, I don't have much hate to Shirley because even though she's kinda boring as the stereotypical kind and shy imouto trope. Since that's kinda pretty typical in a lot of main heroines. I almost hate that role for much higher reasons than that altogether. What really deserves my hate is Senel. He's about as stereotypical MC as they come. Especially as a motherfucking dense af one. He never realized his "sister's" feelings until it was too late. He still doesn't even realize Chloe's feelings either. And he didn't care about romance until Stella came back into his life. So I'd say it's his fault for staying "single" and leading girls on. If he had been claimed already by Stella, then this wouldn't have happened. Shirley would've accepted that type of reality already and dealt with it as she went along. But nope. Fag MCs like him don't know about romance or girls until at the very end, when suddenly they realize their companion is a female! It's a fucking Xmas miracle!

      And this is why I fucking hate MCs these days, especially beta male cuck MCs. They are one of biggest reasons why I turn to NTR. Fuck vanilla romances.

      Oh and funny you mention her giving everyone the cold shoulder treatment, when that was exactly Senel's problem at the beginning of the game. But suddenly after realizing he's so powerless by himself and he needs friends in his life, that's when he stopped being such a cold douchebag (moreso in his NA voice) or a hotblooded douchebag (moreso in his JP voice). It's like they couldn't figure out whether to make him like 90s stereotypical shounen MC or Cloud Strife.... So they just went with fucking both. Two of the worst combination EVER.