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When I look into criticisms of the Tellius games, one of the points brought up is that people call is sometimes the games a Shonen series. I find that to be a quite interesting because I can sort of understand where is that point is coming from. With a emphasis on fighting comparing to other games of the series, and Ike grows from a kid to one of the greatest people in the continent, there is a large supporting cast of physically powerful people, and the end of the game has the most powerful people on the continent fighting one by one in the tower. I do understand these all these points are brought up in other games in the series. Or maybe I'm just looking into things a bit too much here. What are your thoughts?

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The only thing I know "shonen" is "shonen ai" which is "yoai" or gay male stories...could you explain what it means in this context? My knowledge on anime terminology is limited.

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12 minutes ago, Dragoncat said:

The only thing I know "shonen" is "shonen ai" which is "yoai" or gay male stories...could you explain what it means in this context? My knowledge on anime terminology is limited.

shonen means something like young man. Shonen anime/manga is targeted towards teenage boys. A lot of shonen series share similar tropes and themes. Think of Dragon Ball, One Piece, or Naruto.

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I don't understand. FE didn't really amp up the "anime" until FE12. Then again, there's Hasha no Tsurugi. Now that's shonen.

Coming of age stories are popular in a lot of genres. Regarding an emphasis on fighting, I don't know what you expect in a series about war. Tellius isn't different from the rest in that sense.

 

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9 minutes ago, Køkø said:

Coming of age stories are popular in a lot of genres. Regarding an emphasis on fighting, I don't know what you expect in a series about war. Tellius isn't different from the rest in that sense.

 

That reminds me of the Binding Blade section of Making of Fire Emblem book: 

The developers open by describing Binding Blade’s story as a “monomyth”, which is a form of story where a young hero travels to another land to overcome an ordeal and eventually returns as a great man.

In order to express this theme, the story was divided into two distinct parts; Chapters 1-12 focused on the hero’s “adversity”, while Chapters 13-24 moved towards the “counter-offensive”.

Within these two parts were multiple sub-phases. Chapters 1-3 were the “introduction” phase, where the hero escapes captivity and crosses the national border only to find his hometown in ruins.

Chapters 4-8 detailed a “life on the run”, with the hero attempting to gather support for his cause, eventually culminating in Chapter 8 where he has a fateful reunion with his allies.

The hero finally overcame the “adversity” in Chapters 9-12, the “search for a new home”. In this phase, it seems the hero travels to new lands and, after many battles, becomes crowned king.

 

And if Roy, a boy very much not like Ike, also classifies, then I think this could be said of a lot if not all of FE.

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@Ronnie Thanks!

But yeah, coming of age stories are common, as well as "hero's journey" stories.

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I don't see that as a bad thing if it is. Full Metal Alchemist is a Shonen anime and it has one of the best stories in all of anime. When certain tried and true troupes are used correctly, it doesn't necessarily make a story cliche, but good. The Tellius games are the hero's journey done well. Just because it has an anime power level spike at the end doesn't make it bad.

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1 hour ago, NPR said:

I don't see that as a bad thing if it is. Full Metal Alchemist is a Shonen anime and it has one of the best stories in all of anime. When certain tried and true troupes are used correctly, it doesn't necessarily make a story cliche, but good. The Tellius games are the hero's journey done well. Just because it has an anime power level spike at the end doesn't make it bad.

I see your point there, I suppose that the last bit of Radiant Dawn clouded my judgement on the matter. Where the story got very battle heavy. I'm just trying to draw a comparison between similar things.

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I hadn't seen the Tellius games from this angle before, but the comparison does make some sense. Compared to other lords, there is more focus on Ike wanting to become a stronger fighter (iirc, there's a base convo in RD where Ike muses that he would like to test his strength against Caineghis), there's the whole deal with Zelgius who is rather obsessed with fighting and surpassing Greil, there's a couple fights where Ike has to personally overpower the enemy (well, there's some failsaves for Ashnard, but he gets two 1v1 fights against BK and it has to be him who finishes Ashera), there's Mia (do I have to say more?)... There are certainly more elements of "I wanna fight strong guys" (i.e. Son Goku's modus operandi) or "I wanna be the very best" (like noone ever was~ - i.e. characters aiming to be strong with no further justification) than in other FE games, as far as I can see.

 

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The most shonen Fire Emblem game is TMS.

I don't have a ton of experience in anime, but I've heard enough to know the shonen tropes, and Tellius is hard to attribute in the same way. You usually have a rambunctious, young, immature character that doesn't undergo character development but has an impact on others, especially those that antagonize him. That's a miss on all counts besides being young, and Ike isn't aggressively young. Bonds of friendship are emphasized in stories such as this, and characters often profess how the protagonist changed them after they complete their character arc. "There's something about him that draws people toward him" the supporting cast will say when he's not in ear shot. I suppose Ike does change the hearts of Shinon, Gatrie, and Sanaki, but then in the next game they make fun of this trope as Micaiah picks on Sothe for being such an Ike fanboy.

Shonen anime also thrives on fan service, and I'll grant you that Tellius has a tsun tsun cat girl that's introduced a few hours in. But few of Tellius' girls are drawn with the express intent to titillate young boys. There are actually some good armor designs in Tellius as well, if you're willing to ignore the Black Knight lacking a peripheral field of view. Tellius is the first - maybe only set of games to have pegasus riders wearing pants instead of a skirt. There's no hot spring or beach scenes in Tellius. Ike DOES have a signature move that nobody else can perform, but in PoR you have to discover how to unlock it, it's not some crucial power upgrade thrown at Ike at a critical moment.

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I wouldn't say shonen anime thrives on fanservice. DBZ is as shonen as it gets, and while I haven't watched much of it, I'm pretty sure I've watched entire episodes that were completely free of fanservice (mostly because they were free of women in general. I don't like DBZ much).

Tellius does have some shonen elements that I don't really care for. As mentioned, there seems to be constant comparison of who is the "strongest", which is very much a shonen thing. The game makes direct comparisons of fighting ability between various characters on a regular basis and several characters (among them Zelgius and Ashnard) border on obsessed with it. The fighting ability of rulers is also keyed on repeatedly and it's even stated that this is how the laguz choose their leaders (which is crazy, but I digress). The Ike vs Zelgius duels are also extremely shonen affairs, right down to both being obsessed with others not interfering with the duel. (This also shows up with Zelgius vs Skrimir as well.)

I still feel Tellius has the most interesting overall plot in the series, largely because it has such a rich, coherent setting, as well as a large variety of actors with their own agendas (rather than the usual monolithic good vs bad), but I do think the criticisms the OP cites are justified.

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2 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

Tellius does have some shonen elements that I don't really care for. As mentioned, there seems to be constant comparison of who is the "strongest", which is very much a shonen thing. The game makes direct comparisons of fighting ability between various characters on a regular basis and several characters (among them Zelgius and Ashnard) border on obsessed with it. 

This is a series about war. How this a "shonen" thing? I can't explain exactly what Zelgius' motivation is but it seems he just wants to serve and protect Sephiran. In regards to Ashnard, they call him the Mad King but some of things he says actually make sense. His priority on strength his directly related to his dream of creating a meritocratic society. He's even opposed to anti-laguz racism, which is especially prevalent in his country. It not there just because he's the villain of the game. 

2 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

The Ike vs Zelgius duels are also extremely shonen affairs, right down to both being obsessed with others not interfering with the duel. (This also shows up with Zelgius vs Skrimir as well.)

Well Zelgius did kill his dad. Ike has every right to be the one to strike him down, and Zelgius is shown to a very honorable and prideful man. The entire reason he killed Gawain was because he wanted to see if he had surpassed his teacher. Given how easily Gawain was killed, he felt like he was denied his assurance. So he wanted it through Ike.

Skrimir is Skrimir.  

 

2 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

The fighting ability of rulers is also keyed on repeatedly and it's even stated that this is how the laguz choose their leaders (which is crazy, but I digress).

Because it's a direct contrast to the beorc way of doing things. This serves as yet another rift between the two races. 

That's actually how it works in the animal kingdom, so again, how is this "shonen"? 

The only "shonen" thing I can think of is Radiant Dawn's depiction of Ike's appetite. 

Edited by Køkø

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19 minutes ago, Køkø said:

This is a series about war. How this a "shonen" thing?

Are you serious? This may surprise you, but war is not about how "strong" any given individual soldier is, not even remotely. (To the extent it's about individuals at all, it's about the best generals, who usually don't even fight... although geopolitical and resource concerns are more important still.) Shonen anime, on the other hand, very much is about the strength of individual fighters. Also, every other Fire Emblem game (except Blazing Sword to some extent) is just as much about war, and none of them are obsessed with the relative fighting ability of their various characters in the way Tellius is.

You mention Zelgius' motivation in the very next paragraph: he wants to test to see if he's stronger than Greil, and later Ike. It's a major aspect of his character, and it obviously ties in to what I'm talking about here.

 

28 minutes ago, Køkø said:

That's actually how it works in the animal kingdom, so again, how is this "shonen"? 

Animals don't have rulers the way humans and laguz do. The most notable kinda-exception I can think of are social insects, but their "rulers" are chosen via genetic differences - queen ants are biologically different from workers, etc.

 

Again, obsession with relative strength of one-on-one fighters is not something which is terribly important or relevant to real life, nor is it important to most media, even media that deals with war. However, it is very important to many shonen anime series (I googled "shonen anime" and it immediately turned up DBZ and Bleach, so... yeah), and the Tellius games take after that to some extent.

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25 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

Are you serious? This may surprise you, but war is not about how "strong" any given individual soldier is, not even remotely. (To the extent it's about individuals at all, it's about the best generals, who usually don't even fight... although geopolitical and resource concerns are more important still.) Shonen anime, on the other hand, very much is about the strength of individual fighters. Also, every other Fire Emblem game (except Blazing Sword to some extent) is just as much about war, and none of them are obsessed with the relative fighting ability of their various characters in the way Tellius is.

Not at all. I'm well aware of how war works in real life. Fire Emblem is not real life. Certain liberties can be taken without degrading the story, and this is one of them. I would like to see more nuance (which Kaga's later works do a better job of) in FE but it's likely not happening. What we have now is anime beyond the point of return.The gameplay of this series features fighting as it's main narrative. A focus on strength is not at all out of place or unique to "shonen". As long as Tellius doesn't look like Fairy Tail, I will never understand this sentiment. 

25 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

You mention Zelgius' motivation in the very next paragraph: he wants to test to see if he's stronger than Greil, and later Ike. It's a major aspect of his character, and it obviously ties in to what I'm talking about here.

That's not "shonen" in itself. Everyone wants to be better at what they like to do.  

25 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

Animals don't have rulers the way humans and laguz do. The most notable kinda-exception I can think of are social insects, but their "rulers" are chosen via genetic differences - queen ants are biologically different from workers, etc.

The number one rule of nature is the strongest survive. Laguz are more in tune with their animal nature, and thus are closer to them. They are as quite evidenced by their appearance, a mixture between man and beast. Naturally, they would operate as such. 

 

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5 hours ago, Køkø said:

Not at all. I'm well aware of how war works in real life. Fire Emblem is not real life. Certain liberties can be taken without degrading the story, and this is one of them. I would like to see more nuance (which Kaga's later works do a better job of) in FE but it's likely not happening. What we have now is anime beyond the point of return.The gameplay of this series features fighting as it's main narrative. A focus on strength is not at all out of place or unique to "shonen". As long as Tellius doesn't look like Fairy Tail, I will never understand this sentiment. 

I'm not familiar with Fairy Tail (my anime knowledge past ~2004 is terrible, apologies), so I don't know if it's worse on this particular front. However, a focus on individual strength as a highly quantifiable thing (as if Ike's "power level" would let him reliably beat Oscar in a fight, or whatever) is very shonen anime, and Tellius does have more of it than is the norm for Fire Emblem.

 

5 hours ago, Køkø said:

That's not "shonen" in itself. Everyone wants to be better at what they like to do.  

Not usually to the point of killing someone over it, or endangering the victory of their army over it. Zelgius is shown as unhealthily obsessed with being better than Greil at swordfighting. Even the game doesn't think this is a good thing! You seem to be normalizing it with this comment which is really weird.

 

5 hours ago, Køkø said:

The number one rule of nature is the strongest survive

You're kinda close, but not quite. The number one rule of nature is the fittest (best adapted to their niche) survive. This is frequently different from "strength", whether we define that as muscularity or ability to win fights. A tyrannosaurus rex is stronger than a platypus, and both were around in the late Cretaceous, but only one them has descendants which survived to the present day.

Regardless, the laguz do a bad job of following this rule of nature, because they choose people for leadership for reasons besides their leadership ability.  Statistically, the best leadership skills will not on average be found in the same individuals with the best fighting prowess.

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21 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Regardless, the laguz do a bad job of following this rule of nature, because they choose people for leadership for reasons besides their leadership ability.  Statistically, the best leadership skills will not on average be found in the same individuals with the best fighting prowess.

One, the selection of Skrimir appears to be more than just raw strength, though he has that aplenty.

Two, this bit of dialogue:

Ulki
Our king...does nothing special. Everyone just does what's needed. There is no chaos.

Ike
He's really trusted, isn't he?

Ulki
That's...natural. In laguz society, the strongest become king. Unlike the beorc, kingship is not tied to blood, so we have no weak kings. I'm sorry... Perhaps that was improper.
 

The second line supports you here, but the first suggests it isn't just physical strength to me. Laguz rulers might be more practical and simplistic leaders, rather than hierarchy and tradition getting in the way.

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1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I'm not familiar with Fairy Tail (my anime knowledge past ~2004 is terrible, apologies), so I don't know if it's worse on this particular front. However, a focus on individual strength as a highly quantifiable thing (as if Ike's "power level" would let him reliably beat Oscar in a fight, or whatever) is very shonen anime, and Tellius does have more of it than is the norm for Fire Emblem.

Trust me, it's a good thing. 

 FE4 is all about how much better units with super-special-holy-dragon-god blood (and mounts) are than normal people, no complaints there. I mean ffs, this is the series where you play as 9-14 people (usually under the age of 20) who slaughter entire armies on their own with magic, legendary weapons, and OP skills (recent games). We're not controlling a bunch a faceless and nameless mooks like in Civilization or other realistic games. Of course there's going to be a focus on individual strength. I don't understand how Tellius stands out in this regard. 

Believe me when I say I despise anime. I really do. I'm not talking about all Japanese animation but you know, anime. If Tellius were "shonen", I'd be the first one ragging on it.   

1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

Not usually to the point of killing someone over it, or endangering the victory of their army over it. Zelgius is shown as unhealthily obsessed with being better than Greil at swordfighting. Even the game doesn't think this is a good thing! You seem to be normalizing it with this comment which is really weird.

If your passion is fighting then, yeah. Not surprising. When did Zelgius ever endanger the victory of his army? 

Zelgius could possibly be depressed or have an inferiority complex. It's gotta be pretty tough to deal with racism from both groups, he can't go to either for support or be who he truly is. Maybe fighting soothes him, or maybe that's his way of assuring himself he's not worthless.    

1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

 

 

You're kinda close, but not quite. The number one rule of nature is the fittest (best adapted to their niche) survive. This is frequently different from "strength", whether we define that as muscularity or ability to win fights. A tyrannosaurus rex is stronger than a platypus, and both were around in the late Cretaceous, but only one them has descendants which survived to the present day.

Regardless, the laguz do a bad job of following this rule of nature, because they choose people for leadership for reasons besides their leadership ability.  Statistically, the best leadership skills will not on average be found in the same individuals with the best fighting prowess.

 

True, you've got the technicality of it. You may find it a stretch but the strength doesn't necessarily have to come from a living creature. Whatever killed the dinosaurs was stronger than all of them. The platypus was somewhere on the strength scale above the event and below the dinosaurs. Like the weapons triangle.

But in the context of the discussion, we're talking about physical strength. It's a shame that we never actually get to see what laguz society is like, but it could be much more simple than the beorc society. I mean Nailah straight up says that the laguz were too stupid to learn the ancient language. It's this basic, primitive lifestyle that's the cause of the racism directed towards them. And being able to literally transform into savage beats certainly doesn't help. There's no need for intelligent leaders, just physically strong ones.  

 

1 hour ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

One, the selection of Skrimir appears to be more than just raw strength, though he has that aplenty.

Two, this bit of dialogue:

Ulki
Our king...does nothing special. Everyone just does what's needed. There is no chaos.

Ike
He's really trusted, isn't he?

Ulki
That's...natural. In laguz society, the strongest become king. Unlike the beorc, kingship is not tied to blood, so we have no weak kings. I'm sorry... Perhaps that was improper.
 

The second line supports you here, but the first suggests it isn't just physical strength to me. Laguz rulers might be more practical and simplistic leaders, rather than hierarchy and tradition getting in the way.

I can agree that this too may be the case. All of the laguz leaders we've seen so far seem as intelligent as they are powerful. They just don't run things exactly how beorc do.

 

Edited by Køkø

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12 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I wouldn't say shonen anime thrives on fanservice. DBZ is as shonen as it gets, and while I haven't watched much of it, I'm pretty sure I've watched entire episodes that were completely free of fanservice (mostly because they were free of women in general. I don't like DBZ much).

Well, DBZ tends to feature absurdly muscular males in various states of shredded clothing, so it's all a matter of perspective. :D

3 hours ago, Køkø said:

 FE4 is all about how much better units with super-special-holy-dragon-god blood (and mounts) are than normal people, no complaints there. I mean ffs, this is the series where you play as 9-14 people (usually under the age of 20) who slaughter entire armies on their own with magic, legendary weapons, and OP skills (recent games). We're not controlling a bunch a faceless and nameless mooks like in Civilization or other realistic games. Of course there's going to be a focus on individual strength. I don't understand how Tellius stands out in this regard. 

>Civilization
>realistic

Heh.

Anyway, the Tellius games definitely stands out in their focus on individual, physical strength. Which other game has a rivalry between lord and antagonist similar to Ike vs. BK? Which antagonist is as obsessed about beating the lord in 1v1 combat as Zelgius is about beating Ike? Valter, maybe, in a rather different way, but note that this obsession is completely one-sided, unlike Ike who explicitly wants to fight BK in a duel twice.

You're right that the gameplay of every FE doesn't realistically model a true war, given that very few maps have more than just 50 combattants in total. But on the side of writing, most of then still don't focus on the protagonists' prowess with weaponry - heck, even Ephraim, who I would consider the most martial lord of the series, gets mostly praised for his insane tactical skill, and not for how well he does in a fight himself.

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The main demographic is arguably the same as shonen, so it's not surprising that they have similarities.

A focus on individual strength and honourable combat isn't unique to Tellius. It's a pretty common theme for mercenaries/myrmidons throughout the series.

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6 hours ago, ping said:

Anyway, the Tellius games definitely stands out in their focus on individual, physical strength. Which other game has a rivalry between lord and antagonist similar to Ike vs. BK? Which antagonist is as obsessed about beating the lord in 1v1 combat as Zelgius is about beating Ike? Valter, maybe, in a rather different way, but note that this obsession is completely one-sided, unlike Ike who explicitly wants to fight BK in a duel twice.

Isn't that more apart of how Ike was raised? He grew surrounded by mercenaries and battle and it was expected of him to be strong. When his entire life revolved around battle and improving his swordsmanship (something he wasn't opposed to at all) it seems like his obsession with defeating the man who beat his father, the strongest swordsman in all of Tellius, lines up pretty well. As for Zelgius, it doesn't really feel like that warrior mentality was delved into too deeply, the only thing we can do is imply that he wanted to be stronger because of his past experiences and relationship with Gawain.

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12 hours ago, ping said:

 

>Civilization
>realistic

Heh.

Is it really not? Keep in mind that I only play Fire Emblem. Surely if not 100% realistic, it's at least more than FE? I skimmed through some playthroughs on YouTube and it definitely seemed so. 

If not Civilization in particular, I'm sure there are realistic turn based war strategy games out there that would be better references instead. Care to name a few? 

12 hours ago, ping said:

 

Anyway, the Tellius games definitely stands out in their focus on individual, physical strength. Which other game has a rivalry between lord and antagonist similar to Ike vs. BK?

Why does it have to be the lord to make it "shonen"? There's Linde,Valbo, Seliph, Leif, Letzenheimer, Krisheena, and Faye from pre FE13 that all want revenge on a specific person, the first and last explicitly stating they want to do it themselves. I see Ike's focus on him being the one to slay Zelgius being a result of his personality and upbringing, not "shonen". He's been fighting since he could walk. One of the things people like about the Black Knight is his overwhelming presence, a reminder that you're not the strongest thing walking. I wouldn't call Ike and the BK rivals with that power disparity. Every encounter save the last proves to be quite the humbling experience for Ike in FE9, as you run from him in the majority. I see nothing wrong with an recurring antagonist, it's far more satisfying when you finally kill them, vs getting rid of them in a single chapter. Tellius isn't even the first to do it in this exact manner, the BK is a rip off of Chaos. In most FEs, only the lord can defeat the final boss and wield the most powerful legendary weapons, if that's not a focus on individual strength I don't know what is. Tellius is not unique.

Maybe my definition of "shonen" is different from yours, but as I said before, I despise anime. Nothing in Tellius set off any alarms for me. Except some of the laguz designs. 

12 hours ago, ping said:

Which antagonist is as obsessed about beating the lord in 1v1 combat as Zelgius is about beating Ike? Valter, maybe, in a rather different way, but note that this obsession is completely one-sided, unlike Ike who explicitly wants to fight BK in a duel twice.

I would say the obsession is more on Ike's side, than Zelgius'. And rightfully so. 

Edited by Køkø

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58 minutes ago, Køkø said:

Is it really not? Keep in mind that I only play Fire Emblem. Surely if not 100% realistic, it's at least more than FE? I skimmed through some playthroughs on YouTube and it definitely seemed so.

Short answer: That was only a silly little jab on my part and it doesn't really affect your arguments, as far as I'm concerned.

Longer answer: It depends on how realistic you would consider a war between Montezuma, leading the German people, and President Ghengis Khan of the Holy Roman Empire, both fielding Stealth Bombers, Panzer, and Machine Guns. ;)

Granted, I added some extra silliness in that description by taking the Civ IV option of mixing nations with leaders from other civs, but I still consider Civ to be more of a strategy game loosely based on real history, which is of course still more "real" than Fire Emblem's take on medieval Europe - for example, the Roman empire will be at its strongest during the ancient and classical eras, because their legions are quite a bit stronger than generic swordfighters, while nations such as Germany or the US are late bloomers in comparision. And leaders do have some tendencies based on the real ones: Gandhi (nuke memes aside) is one of the most peaceful leaders, Montezuma one of the most aggressive, Isabella of Castille is a religious nutcase, and Napoleon tends to be rather bold when facing strong opponents.

But Civ still features nations that stay stable from 4000 BC until 2100 AD (which would be unrealistic enough on its own) and stay under the rule of the same leader for the whole 6100 years, even though the form of government will most likely change a few times in the meantime. Because of the way turns translate to years passed, tribal feuds in the bronze age will last for multiple centuries, and other nations will remember if you conquered some cities 3000 years ago (which is slightly more realistic considering that the nations' rulers are still alive, I guess). Because of the way CIv V's tech tree is organized, it's possible that your civilization develops the internet well before it knows how to build a computer - heck, it's even very likely to happen if a player is going for a cultural victory.

If I had to name a more realistic strategy game, I would name Europa Universalis IV, which in my opinion does a pretty good job at modeling how world politics looked in 1444. Of course, it still has a fair number of abstractions (for example, it doesn't have a concept of population and uses a "development" system instead) and concessions for gameplay and against historical accuracy, but it still gives the feeling that the outcome of a hands-off run is at least thinkable given how the world map looked in 1444. Player intervention can and will lead to less realistic outcomes, of course, such as Kongo uniting the whole African continent, a little island nation south of Japan conquering the world, or the Aztecs conquering multiple European capitals (all of which are actual achievements in the game ;) ).

5 hours ago, Modamy said:

Isn't that more apart of how Ike was raised? He grew surrounded by mercenaries and battle and it was expected of him to be strong. When his entire life revolved around battle and improving his swordsmanship (something he wasn't opposed to at all) it seems like his obsession with defeating the man who beat his father, the strongest swordsman in all of Tellius, lines up pretty well. As for Zelgius, it doesn't really feel like that warrior mentality was delved into too deeply, the only thing we can do is imply that he wanted to be stronger because of his past experiences and relationship with Gawain.

(this part is still also directed at Køkø)
I do not deny that there are in-universe reasons for Ike to behave like he does, but the same is true for, say, Son Goku, whose battlelust is a trait that all Saiyans share. This doesn't change the fact that the big 1v1 confrontation between hero and villain, as well as the obsession of not only taking revenge on the villain, but to surpass a specific rival, as well. I don't think the latter aspect is really that common outside of Ike and the BK (and Mia, although she's more like a parody of the trope) - characters such as Lyn or Rutger do want to become stronger in order to exact revenge on the bandits and Bern, respectively, but neither of them is focussed on surpassing or dueling somebody in particular - Lyn even accepts Kent's and Sain's (and Marc's) offer to help her when the time arrives, while Ike explicitly wants to face the BK alone.

I should add that I don't want to say that Tellius is "shonen", just that it does have some parallels to the genre, and more than other games in the FE series do. I don't even intend this to be a point of criticism, just an observation.

1 hour ago, Køkø said:

I would say the obsession is more on Ike's side, than Zelgius'. And rightfully so. 

No, I don't think so. The wish for revenge is obviously one-sided (what reason would Zelgius have for revenge, anyway?), but Zelgius is quite obsessed with surpassing Greil, or more specifically, Greil at his strongest. During his fight with Greil, he wants him to use Ragnell just so he can prove that he is stronger than his master, and when Greil refuses, he basically wants Ike to become as strong as Greil used to be so that he could have another opportuniy to make that prove. The English RD localization even adds another layer, in that Zelgius lets Ike win in their confrontation in PoR, because he saw that Ike still had room to grow and didn't want to "really" fight him before Ike had realized that potential.

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14 minutes ago, ping said:

Short answer: That was only a silly little jab on my part and it doesn't really affect your arguments, as far as I'm concerned.

Longer answer: It depends on how realistic you would consider a war between Montezuma, leading the German people, and President Ghengis Khan of the Holy Roman Empire, both fielding Stealth Bombers, Panzer, and Machine Guns. ;)

Granted, I added some extra silliness in that description by taking the Civ IV option of mixing nations with leaders from other civs, but I still consider Civ to be more of a strategy game loosely based on real history, which is of course still more "real" than Fire Emblem's take on medieval Europe - for example, the Roman empire will be at its strongest during the ancient and classical eras, because their legions are quite a bit stronger than generic swordfighters, while nations such as Germany or the US are late bloomers in comparision. And leaders do have some tendencies based on the real ones: Gandhi (nuke memes aside) is one of the most peaceful leaders, Montezuma one of the most aggressive, Isabella of Castille is a religious nutcase, and Napoleon tends to be rather bold when facing strong opponents.

But Civ still features nations that stay stable from 4000 BC until 2100 AD (which would be unrealistic enough on its own) and stay under the rule of the same leader for the whole 6100 years, even though the form of government will most likely change a few times in the meantime. Because of the way turns translate to years passed, tribal feuds in the bronze age will last for multiple centuries, and other nations will remember if you conquered some cities 3000 years ago (which is slightly more realistic considering that the nations' rulers are still alive, I guess). Because of the way CIv V's tech tree is organized, it's possible that your civilization develops the internet well before it knows how to build a computer - heck, it's even very likely to happen if a player is going for a cultural victory.

If I had to name a more realistic strategy game, I would name Europa Universalis IV, which in my opinion does a pretty good job at modeling how world politics looked in 1444. Of course, it still has a fair number of abstractions (for example, it doesn't have a concept of population and uses a "development" system instead) and concessions for gameplay and against historical accuracy, but it still gives the feeling that the outcome of a hands-off run is at least thinkable given how the world map looked in 1444. Player intervention can and will lead to less realistic outcomes, of course, such as Kongo uniting the whole African continent, a little island nation south of Japan conquering the world, or the Aztecs conquering multiple European capitals (all of which are actual achievements in the game ;) ).

Oh wow, that sounds crazy. I'll have to look more into it. I'll check out the other game you recommended as well. 

16 minutes ago, ping said:

 

(this part is still also directed at Køkø)
I do not deny that there are in-universe reasons for Ike to behave like he does, but the same is true for, say, Son Goku, whose battlelust is a trait that all Saiyans share. This doesn't change the fact that the big 1v1 confrontation between hero and villain, as well as the obsession of not only taking revenge on the villain, but to surpass a specific rival, as well. I don't think the latter aspect is really that common outside of Ike and the BK (and Mia, although she's more like a parody of the trope) - characters such as Lyn or Rutger do want to become stronger in order to exact revenge on the bandits and Bern, respectively, but neither of them is focussed on surpassing or dueling somebody in particular - Lyn even accepts Kent's and Sain's (and Marc's) offer to help her when the time arrives, while Ike explicitly wants to face the BK alone.

I should add that I don't want to say that Tellius is "shonen", just that it does have some parallels to the genre, and more than other games in the FE series do. I don't even intend this to be a point of criticism, just an observation.

Okay, I understand you a little better now. So how do you feel about the other characters I mentioned?  

21 minutes ago, ping said:

 

No, I don't think so. The wish for revenge is obviously one-sided (what reason would Zelgius have for revenge, anyway?), but Zelgius is quite obsessed with surpassing Greil, or more specifically, Greil at his strongest. During his fight with Greil, he wants him to use Ragnell just so he can prove that he is stronger than his master, and when Greil refuses, he basically wants Ike to become as strong as Greil used to be so that he could have another opportuniy to make that prove. The English RD localization even adds another layer, in that Zelgius lets Ike win in their confrontation in PoR, because he saw that Ike still had room to grow and didn't want to "really" fight him before Ike had realized that potential.

But he completely dismisses Ike in a conversation with Ashnard, only renewing his interest later. I'll have to look up the exact chapter. It seems he did initially let it go.

 

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22 hours ago, Køkø said:

But in the context of the discussion, we're talking about physical strength. It's a shame that we never actually get to see what laguz society is like, but it could be much more simple than the beorc society. I mean Nailah straight up says that the laguz were too stupid to learn the ancient language. It's this basic, primitive lifestyle that's the cause of the racism directed towards them. And being able to literally transform into savage beats certainly doesn't help. There's no need for intelligent leaders, just physically strong ones.

I agree it is a shame we don't get to know more about the Laguz society. All I get is that it seems to be hunter-gatherer, if the Recollections are to be trusted in their discussion of Phoenicis and Kilvas lacking farming.

If Gallia, Phoenicis, and Kilvas were hunter-gatherer societies, what would this possibly entail? I leave out Goldoa, which is apparently desert, because it is very distinct, as is Serenes, if based on fruit and nut and forest forage diet. 

 

Well what do we know about hunter-gatherer societies?

Well that is how real humanity began its existence. We also know that hunter-gatherers tend to be migratory, moving with the seasons and thus their food sources to keep fed.

We know the division of labor is low. Everyone can learn to hunt, to tan skins, to make pottery, to cook, to make stone tools, small buildings, because none of these tasks are that complicated. The sexes may divide up the duties, some people will be naturally better than others at a task, and you'll have some dedicated careers like shamans, but the division of labor is still small by the standards of more complex forms civilizations- where the skillsets of a farmer and a merchant are far different.

Because of the low division of labor, and because of frequent migrations making it difficult to accrue vast amounts of material items, inequalities in wealth are low and hunter-gather societies are egalitarian. They are also rather egalitarian in political power- the chief of a tribe or clan not being so aloof from their people and power is shared through the community, partly because there is little need for individuals to pursue intense specialization in politics because politics are relatively simple.

Technological limitations do explain the smallness of individual hunter-gatherer units politically, socially, and economically. But you could also say that because of the low levels of labor specialization, it is possible for a small community to be self-sufficient.

 

Now there are a few wrinkles here that keep this picture of hunter-gatherers from applying completely to Laguz societies. We don't know how much sedentism (living in one place for a prolonged period of time) the Laguz might practice. Given the smallness of the islands in the Gazaleah Sea, I don't think there is much of a migratory element to Hawk and Raven lifestyles. Gallia is described as being warm year round, I get the impression of it as being a European or North American temperate forests in flora, but with temperatures approaching closer to that of tropical rainforests and jungles (or perhaps just Humid Subtropical). This could mean Gallians don't need to migrate all that much with the seasons, because there is little seasonal change to migrate around, migration mostly occurring when the given wild food resources are depleted. We know intensive farming where you clear many acres and hectares of land for crops isn't practiced by the Laguz, but what of less intensive horticultural agriculture? The cultivation of small plots and the encouraging of the growth of wild plants classifying has this. Note that Vincent's translation of the landscape notes of Gallia says agriculture is kept to a minimum, not outright saying there is not any at all.

Semi-settled existences permit a greater degree of specialization of labor than purely migratory ones, allowing for greater political, societal and material/economic sophistication and disparaties, albeit not as much as a fully settled society with intensive agriculture.

We also have to do deal with Gallia, Phoenicis, and Kilvas living in a world surrounded by the sophisticated Beorc civilizations of Crimea, Begnion, and Daein, who are typical human societies with intensive agriculture, great specialization of labor, and greater inequalities in wealth and political power. The Laguz long ago in the Kingdom of Begnion used to rule this world, and long thereafter remained slaves in it. 

As it seems, Laguz don't appear to interact with Beorc societies that much, they seem isolated due to mutual racism. Daein is distant and wants to kill them all. Ordinary Crimeans would try to shove them to death, and Begnionites would likely try the same or enslave them. However, between the old sage who taught Soren magic living in Gallia, Greil's life in Gallia, as well as Naesala letting Senators visit Kilvas on business, perhaps Beorc merchants are allowed in non-Goldoa Laguz countries? There is this line from Lethe:

Spoiler

Ike
But...Lethe, you're carrying a dagger, aren't you? In the scabbard on your leg?

Lethe
This...is not for fighting.

Ike
Then what's it for?

Lethe
I use it to remove small bones from meat. It can also cut fruit into bite-sized pieces. It has proven quite useful.

Ike
Hmm...

Lethe
What? If you've got something to say, spit it out!

Ike
You despise beorc, but you don't mind beorc-crafted tools?

Lethe
If something's good, it's good. Denying something's obvious worth out of petty spite is foolish. It's not that I...I do not despise everything beorc. If every beorc could get along with us as well as you do, I'm certain...

Lethe suggests that Laguz don't make metal tools (though this says nothing of stone tools, perhaps they'll buy some iron knives while flint knapping some stone ones as well). Although the Muarim-Zihark support suggests Begnion Laguz slaves, whether those free Laguz of GPK chose to keep them or not, know how to at least sharpen blades, if not make them. 

If Lethe is right, then Beorc merchants must visit Gallia in some capacity, and since merchants need payment, Laguz must offer some form of payment- Gallia's natural resources. Kilvas sells its underhanded abilities, and alongside Phoenicis partakes in raiding shipping, so they can acquire the metaphorical fruits of complex civilizations this way. And just how if there wasn't trade would Serenes acquire those silken robes? What of other articles of clothing- what can Beorc make that Laguz can't? I sincerely doubt the Laguz are primitive nudists who can't tan skins, but can they grow some flax or hemp and make cloth out of it? We don't know. They had to be able to build those castles we see- unless they're aging leftovers the Laguz took over from a now extinct Beorc or Zunanma presence. But the Recollections say the Dragons built Castle Goldoa by themselves, and there is some clear sophisticated masonry and architectural work there- the Laguz are not brainless.

The Laguz already have writing too, a powerful tool most if not all migratory and semi-settled societies lacked. Cultural influence from Beorc civilization, which the Laguz where once fully a part of, must be present as well. Serenes does not seem like it would be ruled simply by the strong given how Order-aligned and peaceful they are, even if a White Heron for all we know is somehow normally stronger than a Black Heron magically (with Lehran being an exception to this speculated rule).

Therefore, I'd conclude that Gallian, Phoenician, and Kilvasian civilizations, must be somewhere between semi-settled real world human civilizations, and that of fully settled intensive agriculture ones. But I can't be certain of the details of what of this would look like.:>_<:

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12 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

I agree it is a shame we don't get to know more about the Laguz society. All I get is that it seems to be hunter-gatherer, if the Recollections are to be trusted in their discussion of Phoenicis and Kilvas lacking farming.

If Gallia, Phoenicis, and Kilvas were hunter-gatherer societies, what would this possibly entail? I leave out Goldoa, which is apparently desert, because it is very distinct, as is Serenes, if based on fruit and nut and forest forage diet. 

 

Well what do we know about hunter-gatherer societies?

Well that is how real humanity began its existence. We also know that hunter-gatherers tend to be migratory, moving with the seasons and thus their food sources to keep fed.

We know the division of labor is low. Everyone can learn to hunt, to tan skins, to make pottery, to cook, to make stone tools, small buildings, because none of these tasks are that complicated. The sexes may divide up the duties, some people will be naturally better than others at a task, and you'll have some dedicated careers like shamans, but the division of labor is still small by the standards of more complex forms civilizations- where the skillsets of a farmer and a merchant are far different.

Because of the low division of labor, and because of frequent migrations making it difficult to accrue vast amounts of material items, inequalities in wealth are low and hunter-gather societies are egalitarian. They are also rather egalitarian in political power- the chief of a tribe or clan not being so aloof from their people and power is shared through the community, partly because there is little need for individuals to pursue intense specialization in politics because politics are relatively simple.

Technological limitations do explain the smallness of individual hunter-gatherer units politically, socially, and economically. But you could also say that because of the low levels of labor specialization, it is possible for a small community to be self-sufficient.

 

Now there are a few wrinkles here that keep this picture of hunter-gatherers from applying completely to Laguz societies. We don't know how much sedentism (living in one place for a prolonged period of time) the Laguz might practice. Given the smallness of the islands in the Gazaleah Sea, I don't think there is much of a migratory element to Hawk and Raven lifestyles. Gallia is described as being warm year round, I get the impression of it as being a European or North American temperate forests in flora, but with temperatures approaching closer to that of tropical rainforests and jungles (or perhaps just Humid Subtropical). This could mean Gallians don't need to migrate all that much with the seasons, because there is little seasonal change to migrate around, migration mostly occurring when the given wild food resources are depleted. We know intensive farming where you clear many acres and hectares of land for crops isn't practiced by the Laguz, but what of less intensive horticultural agriculture? The cultivation of small plots and the encouraging of the growth of wild plants classifying has this. Note that Vincent's translation of the landscape notes of Gallia says agriculture is kept to a minimum, not outright saying there is not any at all.

Semi-settled existences permit a greater degree of specialization of labor than purely migratory ones, allowing for greater political, societal and material/economic sophistication and disparaties, albeit not as much as a fully settled society with intensive agriculture.

We also have to do deal with Gallia, Phoenicis, and Kilvas living in a world surrounded by the sophisticated Beorc civilizations of Crimea, Begnion, and Daein, who are typical human societies with intensive agriculture, great specialization of labor, and greater inequalities in wealth and political power. The Laguz long ago in the Kingdom of Begnion used to rule this world, and long thereafter remained slaves in it. 

As it seems, Laguz don't appear to interact with Beorc societies that much, they seem isolated due to mutual racism. Daein is distant and wants to kill them all. Ordinary Crimeans would try to shove them to death, and Begnionites would likely try the same or enslave them. However, between the old sage who taught Soren magic living in Gallia, Greil's life in Gallia, as well as Naesala letting Senators visit Kilvas on business, perhaps Beorc merchants are allowed in non-Goldoa Laguz countries? There is this line from Lethe:

  Hide contents

Ike
But...Lethe, you're carrying a dagger, aren't you? In the scabbard on your leg?

Lethe
This...is not for fighting.

Ike
Then what's it for?

Lethe
I use it to remove small bones from meat. It can also cut fruit into bite-sized pieces. It has proven quite useful.

Ike
Hmm...

Lethe
What? If you've got something to say, spit it out!

Ike
You despise beorc, but you don't mind beorc-crafted tools?

Lethe
If something's good, it's good. Denying something's obvious worth out of petty spite is foolish. It's not that I...I do not despise everything beorc. If every beorc could get along with us as well as you do, I'm certain...

Lethe suggests that Laguz don't make metal tools (though this says nothing of stone tools, perhaps they'll buy some iron knives while flint knapping some stone ones as well). Although the Muarim-Zihark support suggests Begnion Laguz slaves, whether those free Laguz of GPK chose to keep them or not, know how to at least sharpen blades, if not make them. 

If Lethe is right, then Beorc merchants must visit Gallia in some capacity, and since merchants need payment, Laguz must offer some form of payment- Gallia's natural resources. Kilvas sells its underhanded abilities, and alongside Phoenicis partakes in raiding shipping, so they can acquire the metaphorical fruits of complex civilizations this way. And just how if there wasn't trade would Serenes acquire those silken robes? What of other articles of clothing- what can Beorc make that Laguz can't? I sincerely doubt the Laguz are primitive nudists who can't tan skins, but can they grow some flax or hemp and make cloth out of it? We don't know. They had to be able to build those castles we see- unless they're aging leftovers the Laguz took over from a now extinct Beorc or Zunanma presence. But the Recollections say the Dragons built Castle Goldoa by themselves, and there is some clear sophisticated masonry and architectural work there- the Laguz are not brainless.

The Laguz already have writing too, a powerful tool most if not all migratory and semi-settled societies lacked. Cultural influence from Beorc civilization, which the Laguz where once fully a part of, must be present as well. Serenes does not seem like it would be ruled simply by the strong given how Order-aligned and peaceful they are, even if a White Heron for all we know is somehow normally stronger than a Black Heron magically (with Lehran being an exception to this speculated rule).

Therefore, I'd conclude that Gallian, Phoenician, and Kilvasian civilizations, must be somewhere between semi-settled real world human civilizations, and that of fully settled intensive agriculture ones. But I can't be certain of the details of what of this would look like.:>_<:

Very interesting read. I think it's clear that the heron and dragon clans are special and in the minority among the laguz though. Given the herons are more magically inclined and lack the ability to fight, that would make them more intelligent and exempt from the method of leadership that governs the majority of laguz clans. That writing is shown only in this clan. 

 The dragons have much lower numbers and greatly extended lifespans, this would give them an advantage intellectually and resource wise.The majority of the racism seems to directly towards the felines anyway. 

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