Previously on Wild Arms 2: Tim met the very spirit of the planet, and determined they could go screw, because he was gonna find his own way to save the world. With blackjack! And hookers!
So we’re going to look into Plan B, the Grotto of Lourdes, which theoretically contains some information on Lord Blazer, aka the last time Filgaia was in cataclysmic danger.
So we take a quick trip over to Sielje, and, thanks to Kanon’s handy-dandy radar, we don’t even have to talk to townsfolk. Time to steer toward that green dot.
Here we are!
This place has its own private waterfall? Swanky.
Unfortunately, Brad is barred entry.
However, ol’ one eye…
Good to see the ancient people of Anastasia’s time sprung for that eye-scanning, DNA-based security system.
Kanon (‘s eye) is our key, but the entire party is allowed entry. This would have been a great excuse for a Kanon solo dungeon, but… meh.
Though apparently a host of monsters snuck in with us.
Or have these finned dragons always been here? Were they teleported in by Stain Filgaia? So many questions about random encounters…
This dungeon is predominantly one large hub area with multiple, sealed doors. But this door is opening! Hooray!
Here’s a good shot of the hub area before we head in there, though.
But now we can explore… this boring hallway.
And then there was lava! The lava is merely a “damage square”, but considering how much damage that floor could do…
We’ll just use the grappling hook, thank you.
It’s difficult to see, but there are holes on either side of that switch, so getting there with our HP intact is going to be a little rough.
But I’d be willing to brave a tile of lava for a treasure chest.
And it’s the answer to our lava problems!
Rad Blades was a tool from Wild Arms 1 (well, technically, it was just “Skates” in that title), and it works the same here. These are basically rocket boots, and will launch Kanon forward until she hits an object. The good news is that they will completely negate any floor damage, but the bad news is that they will not vault pits, so get ready to accidentally ram into a number of black holes.
And, in our maiden voyage, Kanon misses the switch, and completely leaves the room. Whoops!
Aiming square at the center of the room seems to work out, though.
That switch will open the door forward, and then it’s just a few more grapples to our first goal.
It’s… an empty platform. Huh.
But, luckily, it causes Kanon to trip balls.
Who invited the moppet?
Unknown Mother probably just doesn’t want Girl from Memory to interrupt her important… let’s say… Marine biology.
Gee, Kanon, how would you know what’s ahead?
It’s apparently confirmed in auxiliary materials, but the implication is here: Girl’s Mom was a… lady of the night. And I’m not talking about a vampire.
Kanon, you already figured this one out like three minutes ago.
If that name doesn’t do anything for you…
Here’s a reminder of Irving’s first meeting with Kanon. Yes, this is a vision of Kanon’s childhood self.
Also: Kanon is a natural blonde.
I guess Kanon just stood there while everybody else watched? This dungeon has got to be weird for any non-Kanon party members.
Welp, nothing to see here. Let’s go back to the hub and try the next door.
Thanks for being psychic or something, door!
This hallway looks a lot like the first, but it contains a touch of lava. Let’s work out those new shoes!
And then the next room is a series of grapple pillars. I guess this section is just here to remind you that Kanon now has two different tools?
Oh man, I hope this platform is a flashback to Kanon’s junior prom!
This… is not going to be good.
Kanon’s obsession with being a descendant of the Sword Magess is kind of a nature/nurture issue.
Also, Kanon’s Mom is coughing between dialogue boxes. The implication is that she has a mortal illness, and it probably came from being a prostitute, because that’s how fiction works.
Good to get some confirmation that Irving is legitimately related to Kanon, and the whole bloodline thing isn’t just some random lie.
Kanon’s Mom is convinced she’s just one DNA test away from being a noblewoman.
And then she fades, leaving the impression that she died having never found a way back into high society. Ironically, Kanon proved her mother’s faith with a goddamn automatic door ten minutes back.
Also, how much do you figure Kanon hates the Valeria side of the family for living in a freaking flying mansion while her direct family died penniless in the street?
Anyway, the whole situation seems to drain Kanon a bit, but she’s as resolute as ever.
I joke about Kanon’s Ashley-murder obsession, but she totally uses her “goal” as a crutch. Probably has a punching bag with Ashley’s face on it back at the chateau.
This looks familiar.
Just to mix things up a bit, this hallway has a pit. You’re very likely to fall right in that drink, and, considering the blades negate monster encounters, this is less a waste of time, and more I Wanna Be the Guy-style videogame slapstick.
Just hug the walls next time.
With a little bit of skating!
As ever, always aim for a switch.
This time, we’ll watch Kanon *COMMENT REDACTED DUE TO VIOLENCE AGAINST PUPPIES*
It’s kind of hard to see, but this appears to be a teenage version of “Girl Kanon” from before. It’s a sort of “halfway” Kanon.
She’s clutching her signature dagger, so this is maybe Kanon’s first “exorcism” job. According to auxiliary materials, this apparently happened when her hometown was attacked by monsters, but there is literally nothing in this cutscene to support that.
But Aisha seems to have liked slashing monsters.
Though there may have been casualties.
So Aisha decides full metal exorcist is the way to go!
I guess we may as well talk about the trans thing now that we have Kanon’s full past on display.
I’m a straight, white, cis male. I’m completely comfortable in my own skin, and, to a point, that makes me uncomfortable talking about people who don’t have that same luxury. I’m desperately trying not to “mansplain” what is probably an accident of trying to design a cool robot lady for a late 20th Century JRPG. I’m not going to get into the ramifications of Kanon’s gender identity, and that, while she still identifies as female, she has made a point of claiming she “cast off her womanhood” on a few different occasions. In a simple way, any transhuman story is a trans story, because, come on, it’s right there in the name.
But what I think is important about Kanon from a trans perspective is that Kanon is Kanon. Kanon chose to become a robo-lady badass, but, as we see here, it’s also something that sort of “happened” to her. She had a crappy childhood, she lost her mother, and she lost large chunks of her body to grave injuries. That sucks! And this easily could be a story similar to Fullmetal Alchemist, where the hero has a significant personal injury, and a substantial reason for the journey itself is reclaiming or overcoming that loss/handicap.
But that’s not Kanon’s thing. Kanon is Kanon.
At no point does Kanon seem to want to return to her old life. She wanted to become more powerful, she changed herself to be more powerful, and now that she’s capable of killing Tim seven times in one battle, she doesn’t want to go back. She clearly gave up a lot for this change, and the general population seems to treat her poorly (recall the man that literally ran from her during her introduction), but she doesn’t give a damn. She’s not trying to work her way back to her old, blonde self; she simply wants to be Kanon, because that’s what makes her feel best.
And nobody within ARMS wants to change Kanon, either. There is not a goofy makeup scene with Lilka, nor is there some random covert scenario wherein Kanon has to infiltrate a debutant ball. There is never a scene where Kanon is forced into a girl’s school uniform for Ashley’s amusement. ARMS, and the narrative itself, is okay with Kanon being Kanon, so her choice to change herself into what she wants to be is never judged as the wrong choice.
And she’s got a grappling arm, which is totally badass.
Point is that Kanon may or may not be a deliberate trans metaphor, but what’s important is that Kanon chose to change herself, and her friends consistently support her and her choice. And just having a character like that around is a great step in the right direction. Particularly when she also comes off as one of the best characters in the cast.
And Kanon decides to accept her tragic past, even if she doesn’t want to return to it in any way.
“So could whoever is running the projector up there skip to the reason we actually came to this dungeon, please?”
FILE NOT FOUND
Did the party get the full Kanon run down, or is Lilka just concerned that Kanon is brandishing a knife against absolutely nothing?
Oh, neat, we actually do get some details on Sword Magess times.
Anastasia sort of knew this, but this is firm narrative confirmation: Anastasia became the Sword Magess because she desired to save the world so damn bad.
Also, Kanon fake cries. Or real cries? It seems like a fake cry.
Well, Tim is confused.
We really need to schedule a Turing Test for the ARMS team.
“Thanks for being here for me while I freak out on a magical pedestal, guys.”
But, wait, there’s more!
Time to motor past some more lava.
Grapple over some more water…
Hey! Remember a thousand years ago, when we had that one raft puzzle in Under Traffic?
Well it’s back! I think Brad’s kick is the one non-Kanon tool required to finish this dungeon (you could optionally use Tim’s Pooka to grab a few treasures).
But there are no treasures to be found here, except the treasure of knowledge.
Guess Kanon is over her issues, and we’re going to skip straight to the good stuff.
Lord Blazer is, effectively, a Guardian. More like an Anti-Guardian, but same basic difference. Kind of the Satan to Gaia’s God.
Is this a flowery way of saying Lord Blazer summoned his own monsters, or was the big bad just really into Emo?
So the Guardians need Pooka to physically manifest in this world, and thus impact physical phenomenon (and destroy monsters). Lord Blazer comes from the same place, so he couldn’t just be destroyed by regular swords like a common threat/Pooka.
But the sword of the Sword Magess was created by the Guardians, so she was literally the only woman on Filgaia that could stop Lord Blazer. Good to know!
“Stop shouting, I’m right here.”
“Ashley! Concealed in you and controlled by you is Lord Blazer. By living with Lord Blazer you were able to take on the Argetlahm which was all dependent on your spirit, in other words, ‘heart’.”
So since the sword was made of pure thought to begin with, it was only natural that it could counter Lord Blazer when gripped by a possessed Ashley. The sword could never be dislodged by anyone else because it was basically never an “object” to begin with.
Ashley, however, is mostly just confused.
“Ashley, just in case something happens, I want you to know that I’m going to do something that rhymes with ‘burder boo’.”
I guess if Ashley becomes absorbed by Argetlahm… he’ll become really pointy?
Geez, still more revelations to go? What are we going to find out next? Lilka is secretly useful?
This should be the last stop, as we’re repeating the entrance corridor.
I don’t know why this room reminds me of a Super Monkey Ball stage…
Not much to it, though.
Hm, steel-type Digletts are apparently known as Wise Men in this region.
At least we can grab some decent Kanon equipment in this dungeon. Good of the ancients to leave some really prescient items around.
Oh, neat, the Omega Platform.
Kanon: This is your life.
And now back to the life of a heroine.
See, Annie, you should have assembled a party like your descendant!
The grand tragedy of Anastasia: she did it all alone, failed because of that, and her only reward was then being trapped in another dimension, alone, forever. Harsh, Wild Arms 2. Harsh.
So Lord Blazer has a Zeromus thing going on, and he can return just so long as someone is pissed off that their lawnmower won’t start. Be excellent to each other, people!
So are we all going to die? Only the bayonet on Ashley’s arm knows for sure.
It’s not stated here, but since Lord Blazer was a Guardian to begin with, it appears that he had to possess someone a thousand years back to start his first rampage. And now Ashley is the latest egg from which disaster will hatch.
…. Ashley, my God, is this Memento?
“I could kill you now, you know, if you’d like.”
Ashley comments that something appears to have changed since his trip to space. That… probably isn’t a good thing.
“I’m gonna need a bigger knife.”
And Kanon levels up! Gat Lv. 3 is Kanon’s Level 3 Force Ability, and it’s just another way to add a few extra hits to her basic attacks. Note that if you haven’t been keeping up on using Kanon’s special attacks, it’s really unlikely you have a Level 3 ability to use with this force skill at all.
ARMS Mission #20:
Gather Information on the encroaching Stain Paradigm
Notes: It might take a little explanation, and the party isn’t quite there yet, but these two quests have combined to explain exactly how we’re going to save the day. Sorta.
We learned that the threat is an encroaching “other world” that, unfortunately, is not actually a physical entity that can be defeated through conventional means. We also learned that the Guardians once crafted a magical sword to defeat a conceptual threat, and Ashley is currently in possession of that legendary weapon. Seems like we might have a lead on our ultimate goal…
But, for now, we’re done here, may as well hoof it back to the hovercraft.
Whoops, phone call.
Who else would be calling us?
Yeah, okay, looks like Ashley was expecting that.
Next time on Wild Arms 2: This is what happens when you forget to kill like one person.