Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Ballad of Purim and Dyluck

There is nothing in Secret of Mana like the romance of Purim and Dyluck.  Character development and meaningful subplots are scarce, and this is an exception.  Dyluck ends up in the hands of
Thanatos early, and Purim's pursuit of him drives the plot as much as Randi's quest to power the
Mana sword.  Sadly, this is only played out in some of the longest and most intricate dialogue chains in the game.  There are hardly any visual descriptions of the action, so we turn to the original Japaneese for analyis.  If there's ever a remake of Secret of Mana, I look forward to the love angle being corrected more than most things.

Purim's chase is a reversal of classic roles.  The knight is in distress, and it's headstrong Purim chasing after him.  Her personality is reminiscent of

Marle from Chrono Trigger, which is not surprising as they started out as the same character before Chrono Trigger became a separate game. And what appears as a simple romance on the surface has hints of complexity that may have been lost when the game was altered to fit a cartridge.

ReverendCheddar of the lparchive.org forum writes (edits mine) the following:

Thirty years ago, in Japan, arranging a marriage for a motherless daughter such as [Purim]...would have been considered a blessing for the daughter (cause she has no mom and 'obviously' wouldn't know how to clean or cook; long story short, if you can't be a good housewife you ain't nothin' to your man.) 
Elman, knowing this, tried to arrange a marriage to a nobleman where she wouldn't need to worry about being a housewife...Marriage for love is still a pretty new thing in Japan and at the time [Secret of Mana] came out, it was still more of a curiosity...That's why everyone in Pandora mocks [Purim] and Dyluck's relationship [as well as why] Elman convinced the King to send him on a suicide mission...All because he was afraid [Purim] couldn't cook, basically. 
I certainly did not know that.  With that background in mind, let's proceed.  As usual, Woolsey's dialogue is in red and my retranslation in blue.  I will remind you that I don't speak Japanese, and rely on machine translators and dictionaries, along with some paraphrasing to make it flow better.

The nature of our initial encounter with Purim depends on our actions.  We actually meet Dyluck first in the only scene of the game where he's not under control.  He seems to be leading an expedition of soldiers to a place we can't travel since we don't have a whip.  This occurs near the Water Palace on our way out of Potos.  At this point, we can either:


1)Get captured by goblins, Purim rescues us, and joins us later in Pandora.

2)Not get captured by goblins; we meet Purim in Pandora, but she doesn't join us.
3)We find Purim in the Enchanted Forest, where she joins us after we rescue her from wolves.

She may leave us again, depending on how serious she thinks we are about rescuing Dyluck.  She's not about to let Randi's quest to save the world get in her way.  Note the multiple available paths here, consistent with what we've discussed about the early game being the most developed.


In Pandora, Purim tells us:


PURIM: Dad asked the king to make Dyluck lead the way to the witch's forest!  I can't stand this!  I'm going to find Dyluck all by myself!


PURIM:  Dad worked behind the scenes, and convinced the king to send Dyluck to the witch's castle.  This is terrible!  I will not stand for this anymore!  I will go looking for Dyluck!  I will not return to the castle until he is found.  And I'm not waiting either, the search starts now!


She also has no problem confronting the king directly regarding the matter.  Her father, Elman, becomes quite distraught at this.  Their house is not much bigger than the rest in Pandora, but they do have a servant, probably as a means to indicate nobility.  Their servant informs us that (my translation), "everything that's been going on here lately has centered on the young lady's marriage arrangement."  Clearly, this is a big deal.  But besides this, and some other dialogue to be found in the early game, the only tension in Pandora is the strange behavior of some of the town's residents.  It's not hard to speculate about a more intricate Pandora.  After all, it's very easy to miss some dialogue regarding the marriage arrangement.

Purim's sole desire to join the party centers around Dyluck.  The fact that Randi has to confront the same witch fits nicely.  She continues to work with us for this reason...and saving the world is probably in there at some point.  I couldn't best Ted's translation of the initial dialogue:

PURIM: Hey! It's the guy I saved! Say what? You're a swordsman?

RANDI: Huh...oh, you mean this...

PURIM: This is GREAT! I need your help! I helped YOU didn't I? It's your turn.  We're going to go teach that witch a lesson. We're going to save Dyluck!

RANDI: But...I've got to get to the Underground Palace.

Since there is little discussion among the main characters regarding their state of mind, most of the romance subplot plays out when Purim and Dyluck are in the same room.  This only happens four times:

1)In the witch's castle.

2)In the Pandora ruins.
3)In the Northtown ruins.
4)At the Mana Fortress.

The fact that meetings between the two are scarce helps create tension outside of the main plot.  When they are in the same room, they are only inches away before being pulled apart.  Furthermore, we never got to see Purim and Dyluck when things were, "normal."  A flashback or something could have provided illustration, but this would not have worked as the game stands.


Let's go to the scene in the witch's castle:


ELINEE: Allow me the pleasure of sending you to Thanatos!


PURIM: Dyluck!!  Elinee, what have you done with him?


ELINEE: What have I done? Well, I just sent him to the ruins in Pandora.  My magic doesn't seem to work too well and I couldn't handle him...But Thanatos wanted him so I sent him there!

ELINEE:  Come on.  I will send you to where Master Thanatos is now!

PURIM:  Dyluck!  What on earth did you do to him, Elinee?

ELINEE:  Hahahahaha!  He's too much a free spirit for me to deal with.  I've sent him to the ruins in Pandora at Master Thanatos' instructions!

We get a hint here that Dyluck is remarkable---he's difficult to handle for some reason.  This will come into play in all scenes with him.  When we return to Pandora, we need to encounter Phanna before we're allowed into the Ruins.  Phanna appears to be a friend of Purim and Dyluck's, with quite a bit of history between them.

PHANNA:  ...PURIM. I'm going on a one-way trip!  Pretty neat, huh?


PURIM:  Come on, Phanna!  Snap out of it!


PHANNA:  Shaddap!  Stop bothering me!


PURIM:  Phanna!  Phanna!  Hey, you [guards]! Make room!  Unless we hurry, Phanna's a goner.   Dyluck's probably here too!  


PHANNA:  Oh…Purim…you might like to know that I'm soon to be a sacrifice.  It will be great.

PURIM:  What are you saying, Phanna?  Get a hold of yourself.

PHANNA:  You're just annoying me!  Stop bothering me!

PURIM:  Phanna!  Phanna!  You guys [guards] need to move…We have to hurry to Phanna!  We should expect Dyluck to be here too.

After going through the Ruins, we arrive at the main stage, where Thanatos is waiting to show off his control of Phanna and Dyluck.


RANDI:  Thanatos, I presume?

THANATOS: Indeed.  I know all about you.  You're no ordinary fool if you can beat Elinee.

PURIM: Hand over Phanna and Dyluck, and make the people of the town as they were!

THANATOS: Ho, ho, ho...what a spirited young lass! I suppose THIS is Phanna?  Too bad, huh? I've drained her energy, and now she's my faithful servant.  I need life energy to create a new, peaceful world, understand?  Soon the Mana Fortress will bring the people of the world together!  Surrender, and you can serve me. Don't, and you'll end up like him!

PURIM:  Dyluck!!

THANATOS:  He was a tough one. I see Elinee had a hard time with him, too.  He must be receiving some kind of special power.  Great find, huh?  And you can join him now!  It will be glad to have you there. Your energy will be a feast to it!

RANDI:  That's Thanatos!

THANATOS:  Indeed.  I surely know many things about you.  Clearly, you are not ordinary folks if you defeated Elinee.

PURIM:  Give back Phanna and Dyluck!  Return the people of the kingdom to their original form!

THANATOS:  Hahahaha!  How unladylike!  So this child of mine is named, "Phanna."  Too bad.  I've already drained her vitality.  She is one of my loyal children now.  The vitality of the people here is sealed at the bottom of this altar.  Pandora and its allies should peacefully surrender to the Empire.  With the pending reactivation of the Mana Fortress, it is only a matter of time before the world is unified.  I've been draining their vitality because once you lose your lifeforce, you can't oppose us.  Like this fellow, for example...

PURIM: Dyluck!

THANATOS:  Elinee just didn't know what to do with him.  He was difficult, even for me.  It's possible he could even be…hahahaha!  He's extremely interesting.  And you guys are very interesting too.  I'm sure I'll be removing your lifeforces as well.  Have a taste of what I've collected so far.  It'll be easier for me when you end your struggle.

At this point, we fight the Wall Face, an evil...wall.  There are three revelations from the original Japanese.  One is that Thanatos mentioned working for the Empire.  Next, the evil wall is essentially a collection of lifeforces, and it makes sense that it will attempt to assimilate with Randi and friends.  Finally, notice how Thanatos cuts himself off before saying that Dyluck could be his new form.  Again, there is something special about Dyluck...

Afterwards:


THANATOS: Oh..!  So, you are the ones with the Mana Sword!  The villagers are yours, but not these two!


PURIM: Wait!  Ah!  Dyluck!  Phanna!


THANATOS: 'Till we meet again! Mwa, ha, ha!

THANATOS:  Hahahahah!  So you, brave young man, are the legendary hero of the Mana sword!  This is very interesting.  But at this point in your training, it may as well be just a legend.  Well, this time I'll say that I am defeated, but these guys are coming with me.  

PURIM:  Wait!  Ahhhh!  Dyluck!  Phanna!

THANATOS:  Hahahahaha!  Let's meet again! …

The next encounter is in the Northtown ruins.  If I may segue to lost content for a moment---the ruins scenario in Northtown is almost identical to Pandora with some minor changes.  We speculated that there was more to Northtown, and I wonder if the ruins are a placeholder for something else.  Just what are these the ruins of?  We find Dyluck alone this time, as opposed to Thanatos.

PURIM: Dyluck!


DYLUCK:...Purim! At last!


PURIM: Dyluck!  I'm so glad you're safe!


RANDI: What are you doing?


DYLUCK: Pesky girl...


POPOIE: Bring her back, NOW!


DYLUCK: Sorry, but Thanatos needs her help...


RANDI: You can't be serious! She LOVES you! I can't handle this!


DYLUCK: Ouch!  Uh...Purim...  Purim! Ahhh!  ...Thanks, I needed that!  I can't move, so please help Purim!  Go through the door back there.


PURIM: Dyluck!

DYLUCK: Purim!  I've wanted to be with you for so long.  I've been waiting!


PURIM:  Dyluck!  Me too!  I'm so glad you're not hurt…what…?


RANDI: Ah!  What are you trying to do?


DYLUCK:  Foolish servant…


POPOIE:  Return our [older sister] here!  


DYLUCK:  Hahahaha!  She shall become one of Master Thanatos' dedicated servants.  He is in need of a woman of such lifeblood.


RANDI:  Stop!  Aren't you still human?  Are you so brainwashed that you don't know how worried she is?  Forgive me, but I can't stand for this!


DYLUCK:  Ow!  Damn!  Purim!  Purim!  Ahhhh!  Aha!  Somehow I've regained consciousness.  But I'm still immobilized.  Feeling very anxious…don't just stand there!  Purim is in danger!


RANDI: …


DYLUCK:  In the room behind this altar!  Hurry!

The main idea here is that he's under such control that he doesn't recognize Purim and sends her to Thanatos, similar to what Elinee did to Dyluck earlier.  The question is, what exactly is Dyluck's power?  How did he get her into the room?

We leave Dyluck and head to the room, and...


RANDI: Purim!  Ahhh!


THANATOS: Guwu, ha, ha!  Stick around!  Her life force is strong!  She'll...hey! What the..?


THANATOS: Idiot! Stop it!


PURIM: Where am I...


RANDI: You can move!?


POPOIE: We can too!


THANATOS: Ah! Dyluck!  He sent her some power!  Who does he think he's toying with?  I grow tired of you!  Vampire, take 'em!

Randi:  Purim!  Ahh!

THANATOS:  Hahahaha!  Just stay there for awhile!  The life energy of this servant is beyond imagination.  Truly splendid.  Hahahaha!  …What?  Such an idiot!  Stop that!



PURIM:  Where am I?  Oh!


RANDI:  …!


POPOIE:  We can move too!


THANATOS:  What?  No!  It's Dyluck's power.  The energy is flowing through him!  I'll have to give up for now as the situation is becoming more and more difficult.  Goodbye, friends!  I've had enough.  Vampire, get them!

After the battle...

PURIM: Where's Dyluck?  Dyluck!  Dyluck!!


RANDI: Purim...


POPOIE: ...Let's go...


PURIM: I'm okay...I'll find him...I'm sure!


PURIM:  Dyluck!  Dyluck!  Oh, my Dyluck! 

RANDI:  Purim…


POPOIE:  Big sister…


PURIM:  I've calmed down.  As long as I live, I believe that he and I will meet again someday, don't you think?  …I'm sure of it!


Before we get to the Mana Fortress, we need to reconcile Purim and Phanna, who is found in the aftermath of the Lost Continent fiasco.

PHANNA: Purim! I said some awful things...


PURIM: Forget it!  You weren't...yourself!


PHANNA: I guess I was jealous of you two...Thanatos noticed, and used it to his advantage.


PURIM: Phanna, look at me!...Friends, okay?   


PHANNA: Purim! Thanks!  Hope you see Dyluck soon!


PHANNA:  Purim!  I said terrible things to you.

PURIM: No worries.  Your spirit was being controlled.  You couldn't help it.


PHANNA: I guess I was jealous that you and Dyluck were so happy.  Because of this, my spirit was vulnerable, and Thanatos latched onto it.


PURIM:  Come here.  We 're friends again.


PHANNA: Thank you so much!  I will be praying that you get Dyluck back.


This brief exchange hints at more to the characters' background that we may ever know.  Phanna's Japanese name can be translated as, "Pamela", which may have been better since there's also a character named, "Fanha."

We now travel to the final scene.  This is one of the most climactic, and consequential in the game.


PURIM: Dyluck!


THANATOS: For ages I have been searching...for a human with the power to conquer this world......one born in the shadow of darkness, and raised in the light of Mana.  Dyluck is the one.  I cannot wait any longer.  My body has grown weak!  It is time!  Using his body I will take

the Mana Fortress, and rule the world!

PURIM: Dyluck! Resist him with all your might!


THANATOS: Uhrg...ahh...kack!  I must...hurry...This body is...breaking up!  H...help me...guhuf...  Let...m...maieee!


PURIM: Dyluck!  Snap out of it!


DYLUCK: ...Uhhn...where am I? .........Guwa ha ha!


THANATOS: Guwa ha ha!  How good this new body feels! I grow strong!


PURIM: Liar! You can't just STEAL someone's body!!


THANATOS: My dear, I can do anything I want!  Ha, ha-huh..?  Can't...move!


Purim...can you hear me?  It's me, Dyluck...He's too strong...I'm finished, but I can help you...  Thanatos is an ancient sorcerer who sold his heart to the underworld.  Though his life force is eternal, he hasn't his own body.  His life force is growing darker. He feeds on hatred and destruction!


THANATOS: Ooh! Silence!


Purim, I'm so sorry I won't see you again.  But I have to do this.  You're Randi, right?  Take care of Purim...


PURIM: Dyluck! Stop it!  Please! Dyluck! STOP IT!!


THANATOS: Ugrrrrrrr!  I forbid this!  Just when I was to be reborn! I...must withdraw!  Give me your bodies!  GUWAA!  ...Groan...uhhh...


PURIM:  Dyluck!

THANATOS:  You're finally here!  Sure, you came.  But it's too late.  My current form is close to its end; continuing onward is in vain.  If I were to possess an ordinary human being, they would explode from the uncontrollable force of my will.  For decades, I have searched for one of this world with the blood of darkness.  One who I can combine my power with, and we will grow forever stronger.  I have found that one...it is, Dyluck!  The power of darkness is sealed in someone when they are young, and only becomes stronger over time.  Using this new form, along with the Mana Fortress, we will begin a new era for this world!  Hahahahaha!

…ooh…this body is at its limit!  I must transfer my energy quickly.

PURIM:  Dyluck!  Don't let him do anything to you!


THANATOS:  Ugh!  Ooh!  The time has come.  This body is rotting away.  Help me…ooh…


PURIM:  Dyluck!  Stay strong, Dyluck!


DYLUCK:  Uhh…ooh...Where am I…?  Hahahahahaha!


THANATOS:  It is complete!  What a glorious new beginning.  This world is now mine.


PURIM:  Lies!  LIES!  I can't believe such a thing!  Dyluck!  Please come back, Dyluck!


THANATOS:  Hahahaha!  I am Dyluck now!  Huh?  I can't move!


Purim!  Can you hear me?  Please try to stay calm and listen.  Now that he's assimilated with me, I understand who he is.  I'm using the last of my power…Thanatos is an ancient sorcerer who sold his soul to the underworld [for eternal power].  But even if his spirit is eternal, his body will die.  He has taken on a new body time and time again.  This endless obsession has eroded his spirit, and he became an entity known as Dark Lich.


THANATOS:  Shut up!


I am sorry we can never meet again.  But I must do this.  Go with Randi.  Please Randi, I ask you to care of Purim.


PURIM:  No, Dyluck!  This is useless!  Don't do it!


THANATOS:  Oooh!  Inexcusable!!!  I went through such effort to find this new form, and now it is extinct.  Once this happens, it's make or break!  Give me your bodies!  Ooooh…


Ted did a very nice job paraphrasing for tension, even though his space limitations caused him to leave out some details.  At least Thanatos is kind enough to greet the party in the Japanese.

This tragic end to our subplot is described completely by dialogue.  There is no representation of the stygian ritual of transferring Thanatos' energy to Dyluck, nor is there any visual cue for the ensuing struggle.  It is only the presence of Purim that allows Dyluck to resist Thanatos, just as he did in Northtown.  But what about Dyluck is unique?  What is the, "power of darkness" that Thanatos seeks?  If he sought it for decades since his last transfer, it's not something you find every day.  What if Thanatos never came along, would this power have manifested in such a way to doom Dyluck and Purim anyway?  Also, how does Dyluck kill himself?  It's not a physical death, as his physical form has already been taken.  How does one commit spiritual suicide when your body has been taken over by someone else?  This endless stream of questions is left unrevealed.


We not only explored the romance of Purim and Dyluck, but also aspects of Thanatos.  Naturally...


NEXT: Thanatos & the Underworld


CREDITS:  Screenshots and other elements were derived by me, the Spriters Resource, or Fantasy Anime.  Square owns everything.

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