Wild Arms 2 Part 26: A Girl and Her Friends

Previously on Wild Arms 2: Odessa is defeated! But Ashley got launched into space! And nobody knows what happened to Liz and Ard! Are they okay?!

But we know where Marina is! She’s standing out in the wind by Valeria Chateau.

And here’s Altaecia, Irving’s sister. I’ll forgive you for not remembering she existed at all, as the last time we saw her was for twelve seconds before even Brad joined ARMS.

“Maybe with a step ladder? No, tried that yesterday…”

I want to say that that isn’t even figuratively accurate. Just buy a cell phone!

Hey, Altaecia, we literally know nothing about you, care to elaborate on… something?

Aw, is someone special living in the chateau? Does your brother know about this mystery man? Kinda? What does that mean?

So Marina continues to hope that thinking really hard is going to save the day.

Meanwhile!

Hooray! Wild Arms 2 didn’t kill its main character!

Overwhelming light? Grecian pillars? Should be dead? … This is probably Kansas.

And then a girl dropped by.

Yep! Go back and check, “A Girl Seen Before” appeared briefly at the Sword Cathedral about ten seconds after Ashley grabbed Argetlahm, the sacred sword.

And she was apparently responsible for that shining light at the end of the last update, too. Probably a safe bet to blame her for the last time Ashley survived getting sucked out of an airlock, too.

Good, we’ve got a name. Hi, Anastasia. That sure is a name with no historical relevance!

And, if you somehow missed all the clues from earlier, yes, this is the Sword Magess of myth.

A celebrity knows your name, Ashley! Be polite!

So, I love this entire update/section of Wild Arms 2. First and foremost, for a game that has proven it has absolutely no problem with having four characters stand around in a nondescript room to hash out the plot for minutes on end, this area is weirdly cinematic. Like, maybe-there-was-a-guest-director cinematic. This initial “getting to know you” scene could easily continue to take place in the pillar courtyard (?), but, no, there is walking and characters with sprite-y expressions.

Also, Anastasia is a hoot. Here’s the big damn Sword Magess that saved the entire world, and she’s like “yeah, so what’s up with you and your girlfriend, huh?”

And she’s polite, too!

Ashley, don’t ruin this.

And here’s kind of the point of meeting Anastasia…

Anastasia is human.

Wild Arms 2 has this running thesis about what heroes are to themselves and others, but this area drives home the point that heroes are people, too. In short, everybody poops, and we might be in a better place if we acknowledge that, say, the Constitution was written by a bunch of inexperienced young dudes still drunk off winning a war (and also maybe literally drunk). Applying this kind of thinking to a fantasy universe is downright novel, as “the ancient generation that sealed away the greatest evil” is usually venerated as a bunch of gods, and not a girl in mittens occasionally calling herself “big sis”. Ultimately, this whole section’s real life (or at least “real” mythology) parallel would be like finding out King Arthur was some random gal who just happened to yank on the wrong sword.

Oh, you stay out of this.

“Anyway, Ash, wanna get out of here?”
“Yeah, the glow in this place is hurting my eyes.”

The living live one place, the dead live (huh?) in another, and this area is the inbetween. I love inbetween places!

If I have one complaint about this section, it’s that we’re going to explore the Filgaia of Anastasia’s time… and it’s just a lame temple.

But if Dumbo here believes in his feather enough, he’ll fly back home.

… Or at least walk.

Dungeon time!

And who is this?

This magical chosen one has her own pet wolf. I wonder if she has a friend that is really good with machines, too…

Lucied is the Guardian of Desire, and, unlike literally every other Guardian we (and Anastasia) have ever encountered, he’s got a physical body. This is consistent with Wild Arms 1, where Lucied also appeared, and she (physically) accompanied Boomerang (a bad guy) who just plain appealed to her.

Incidentally, it’s canon that Lucied will flip genders to match the desires of her mate. Nobody tell Neil Gaiman about this, or we’re going to get a lecture.

Anastasia’s theory is that Desire is just, ya know, strong like that.

Anastasia would like to thank her special good boy and magical sword for this honor.

And I’d like to get through one Let’s Play without having to explain some kooky version of time travel.

Basically, this whole area is a memory-based recreation of Anastasia’s time, but because of –reasons-, everything that happens here also ripples back through the past. So if any historians are wandering around, thanks to this nonsense, Ashley now officially joined the Sword Magess for a dungeon a thousand years ago.

And away we go!

So Anastasia and Lucied are not just for show, they’re officially 66% of our party for this area. Hooray! New friends!

For posterity, here’s how everyone’s stats compare. Anastasia appears to be a better mage than Ashley, but he wins out on the vitality front. Also note that Anastasia’s class is “Sword Saint”, which I want to say is supposed to be consistent with “Sword Magess”, but, ya know, translation woes. I vastly prefer the title Sword Saint, because it’s alliterative and implies martyrdom. And it makes sense that she’d have her own cathedral, too.

Anastasia’s special abilities are known as “Argetlahm”, which seems to imply her skills come directly from her magic sword. These skills are predominantly what you’d expect to see on a white mage… which is kind of cool. I can count on only one hand how many JRPGS employ the “combat white mage” archetype, and more’s the pity. What is the point in having a healing character if they don’t have anything better to do when the party is healthy?

Anastasia has decided to go into battle wearing only an “Ankh Cross” and her favorite tiara. Stylish.

Lucied is naked (he is a wolf, after all), and his abilities are “ruination”. Again, Lucied is being labeled a “werewolf”, but he’s always a wolf. There’s no were about it!

So, Memory Maze… Pretty boring dungeon.

Couple of hallways, and… Who is this?

Let’s bring her down to earth.

Graceful.

I love the days before voice acting. “You are supposed to recognize this girl’s voice, but literally no one in this game has a voice, so just trust us on that one.”

Meet Anastasia’s only non-wolf friend.

For some bizarre reason, this section of the script has decided to drop any gender-based pronouns (it also happened earlier with Lucied). Or maybe Blondy is just bad at identifying humans.

Blondy is a good friend to Anastasia… and that’s all we got. Also, is it just me, or is Lucied wearing booties?

And away she goes.

Can you guess the clandestine identity of “that girl”? I will reveal the shocking secret by the end of this update.

“Any other friends I should know about?”
“Actually, no.”

Reminder: We just screwed up the space time continuum.

But no matter, let’s get out of here.

HP Crystals! … We haven’t even had a battle yet.

Oh, there we go.

Time to see that Sword Magess in action!

Or her pet wolf! That’s good, too! Lucied attacks with claws and flipkicks, as is proper to a good boy.

Anastasia performs a worthy, solid hit, but it’s also kind of… awkward. This is a cool bit of visual storytelling that we’ll explore shortly. She’s got the God Sword, but she’s not exactly a fencer.

Lucied learned most of his special moves from Red XIII.

Hey, is Anastasia left handed? Awesome. Anastasia is my new favorite hero.

Oh boy! A glowing crystal thingy!

Time for a creepy flashback.

Here’s a fun little memory about a gigantic demon that flash fried the entire planet.

I think Anastasia is wearing too many layers to fight a fire elemental.

Ashley finds the feeling of Lord Blazer… familiar.

And, yes, if you haven’t gotten it yet (Kanon would like words with you), Ashley is technically the host to Lord Blazer, He That Burns All. Maybe Ashley just assumed he was possessed by a generic demon up to this point.

“Wasn’t that a Quintet game?”
“No, you’re thinking of something else.”

Hey! You didn’t tell us the story of Lord Blazer at all!

Anastasia comforts Ashley with this knowledge… that Ashley himself recounted to Kanon a few updates ago. I guess he suffered a touch of a head injury when he was blasted into space.

“Don’t burn down the planet. Got it. Let’s go.”

So the gimmick of this area is that some areas have invisible walls. For instance, here’s a shot of Ashley walking into nothing, so he has to go around the other side of the pillar. For the record, it is also really hard to get a screenshot of an invisible wall.

Another battle. Here’s Anastasia activating her most powerful sword spell, Life 3. Look, I know it has another name, but I don’t feel like scrolling up. Incidentally, this area is kind of deliberately easy, so it’s not like you’d ever actually need any of Anastasia’s amazing white magic abilities.

And here’s a “werewolf” mowing down a golem.

Do Anastasia and Ashley have parallel win poses?

More switches! It’s a shame Ashley only has one active tool (his other tool is the Booty Call, which doesn’t technically “do” anything), as it means the throwing knife needs to see a lot of use.

Here is Anastasia’s level 1 FP ability, Impulse. You will notice that it does an impossible amount of damage. That’s the Sword Magess for ya.

And Blondy is creeping around again.

Considering her possible raw damage output, the answer is “kinda”.

And Blondy reveals that she’s a “Crimson Noble”. This is Wild Arms 2 trying to be cute with its “unique” mythology. She’s a vampire. The end.

And Anastasia reveals that Ashley can pull his own weight because he’s got crazy demon powers.

Bloody Blondy be not pleased.

You might be asking what BB could even do here, but she did help defeat Lord Blazer once… Or is going to… Damn time travel…

“He’s probably not going to kill us all. Please understand.”

I bet this gal would get along well with Lilka. Or they’d fight like cats. One or the other.

We’ll talk later!

Dashing on.

More invisible walls, more switches.

More wolves summoning the power of the moon to defeat their enemies.

This Anastasia victory pose is very close to her official art… which I should probably post as part of one of these updates…

But no time for that now! Another crystal!

Here is the reason Anastasia is the hero of legend: dunno.

You hear that, nerds? Studying the blade is dumb.

This is another time where I choose to believe a character is completely glib about the whole situation. “You beat Lord Blazer.” “Yeah, well, ya know, there wasn’t anything good on TV.”

Soooooooo you fight for your friends?

Anastasia is the best.

Saving the entire world was a really selfish move.

Yeah, Kanon should really take notes on… Wait a tick…

Swear I’ve heard that name before…

Flashback! Or… flashforward… because we’re in the past… but we’re looking at the present’s past… and… Ugh, time travel gives me a headache.

Here’s Irving Valeria, and you’ll note he doesn’t have his signature limp/crutch.

And he’s taking a go at the ol’ sword of legend.

I don’t think hugging the sword is going to help, Irving.

And… yeesh, what’s happening here? Irving, are you summoning demons to help yank out a sword? That does not seem like something in the spirit of the exercise.

And the sword agrees. Eat magical feedback, Irving.

Because you’re the worst, Irving. Also, looks like you got a bit of a leg injury there, eh?

Look who comes crawling back…

Oh, that wasn’t strictly a flashback, it was Irving dreaming of his past failures. And I guess we got to watch? Neat.

Somebody was sleep screaming again.

(Note the crutch)

Okay, look, people have been debating this scene for ages. Is Irving taking out his frustrations on his sister? Grabbing her in an affectionate way? Outright strangling his twin? It’s difficult to say, but what’s important is that Irving is a giant douche.

But we’re not going to dwell on it.

Fun fact: Anastasia’s life sucked. Dead at 16 after a week of solid demon slaying.

“Hey, you sound like my girlfriend.”

Now that we have the knowledge that Irving is a descendant of the legendary hero and an incredible asshole, we’re moving on.

Thanks for blessing us, Sword Saint.

Hello again, Vampire Lady!

This is the only puzzle in this area that isn’t completely brainless. Blondy paces up on the top area, and you have to activate the switch when she’s on the proper, upper plank. If you activate the switch too early, she’ll stay up top, and you’ll have to exit and reenter the room to reactivate the trap.

And there are any number of monsters wandering around to make that difficult.

Take 2!

Now we got her.

Remember how we learned that she’s a vampire?

Well, she’s the last vampire.

Ashley, we are currently a thousand years in the past. Stop trying to recruit ARMS members!

It’s okay, Ashley, she’s too young for you. Or too old? God, can we just go back to time being linear?

Two switches? This is a place of wonders.

Get your popcorn, kids.

The secret of Anastasia: she had hiiiiiigh hopes.

High apple pie in the sky hopes.

Literally apple pie hopes.

“I just wanted to eat at the Golden Corral so fucking bad that the very spirit of desire materialized and helped me save the world. And I still never got those fucking mashed potatoes.”

Anastasia admits that she can’t even remember when Lucied, a freaking god, showed up and started hanging out with her. You’d think she’d remember a thing like that, but, hey, maybe she was distracted.

Side note: Lucied hasn’t spoken for this entire journey.

“Fight for those mashed potatoes I’ll never have, Ashley.”

In case you’re not getting it: legends are people too.

Sad people.

Sad people who wind up with statues and songs, because the living must honor the dead. It helps the living sleep at night.

Anyway, Ashley, please look forward to it!

“They’re going to strap you to a cross and watch you die.”
“Oh, my friends actually did that once.”
“What?”

You know Ashley’s answer. And Anastasia saw it coming, too.

“We’re running out of dungeon here, so shouldn’t be too much longer.”

Oh, good, more switches.

Diagonal switches!

Narrow bridges!

Vampire women!

“Risked.” Technically, Anastasia knows her final fate, but I don’t think Blondy knows everything at this point.

So he’ll break out, slink into the soul of some blue-haired kid, and then it will be time for tea.

But Ashley is sure he can handle it.

Ashley might have another convert on his hands.

Yay! Official new friend!

“So look me up in a thousand years.”

Hundreds of years of napping? Marivel is inordinately lazy. … Sorry, I was getting tired of this charade. I’m lazy, too.

Yes, “Blonde Vampire Girl” with a “familiar voice” is Marivel, that scientist woman with the straw hat. She wasn’t in disguise, she just had to look out for those dangerous UV rays. Even at night… with Marina…

So the screwy time paradox here is that Marivel exists back in Anastasia’s past, where she meets Ashley, whom Anastasia explains is housing Lord Blazer. Marivel is impressed with Ashley, so she agrees to help him in the future when Lord Blazer is back in threat mode. Fast forward a thousand years, and Marivel of course knows who Ashley is, and knows his Knight Blazer transformation is the result of the Lord Blazer “infection”. Basically, thanks to time travel hijinks, Marivel had a thousand years to prepare for the arrival of Ashley/Lord Blazer, and that’s why she’s such an excellent information resource in the present.

Also, later materials will reveal that she was always kind of a gadget-meister, so that’s convenient, too.

Also, yes, Marivel is supposed to be one of those “eternal 12 year old” vampires you see in a lot of anime. Luckily, Wild Arms 2 was released before that particular trend got unimaginably creepy, so Marivel’s childishness only manifests in her general brattiness… which could be mistaken for the haughtiness of being a thousand years ahead of all these stupid humans.

Also, I am physically incapable of disparaging a character rocking a pair of green goggles.

But that’s it for her for now. We’ll have to remember to say hi when we get back to the present.

And speaking of it being… it. One would assume this temple is where Anastasia fought Lord Blazer, and now we’re at the end.

“Try not to get lost in time! Toodles!”

He keeps thinking he wants to return to Marina, and is then really confused when he winds up in a world ruled by squid kids…

The Ashley signal is beeping!

Ashley is on his way home… but he might need some help!

Ominous!

But we know who is going to retrieve Ashley! Time for everybody else in the party to actually do something!

But first: we’re on Disc 2 now, so there’s a new intro/closing every time you boot up/turn off the game. We’ll look at the new intro next update (it’s a little bit spoiler-y for the start of Disc 2), but the closing seems appropriate for this update. Who doesn’t like to see a girl and her dog?

And speaking of which, here’s some official art of the duo. Anastasia always looks sad in her official art. Lucied just looks… spikey. I think he picked that up from Boomerang…

Next time on Wild Arms: Now it’s Lilka’s turn! It’s the worst!

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