Part 57: And what matters aint the whos baddest but the ones who stop you fallin from your ladderUpdate XVIII: And what matters aint the whos baddest but the ones who stop you fallin from your ladder
Song Title Reference: Short Change Hero By: The Heavy
Were back to story content! Hurray! Its only been two months! Thats not too bad, right?
Okay, so its pretty bad. Hey, its not my fault that this game has shitty pacing and encourages you to do one labyrinth from each season which results in all the story content being emptied out after 4 dungeons.
Anyway, the point is that were resuming our march towards the end of this game. Because theres a lot of story to get to, were just going to have a quick look at the labyrinth and then curb-stomp the boss. That will be it for our time in the Aquarius dungeon.
Which looks like what you would expect it to look like: Collette. At least its fairly colourful and bright. There are a handful of things of note that happen in here.
First of all, this is an issue that has been happening repeatedly which Im not sure if Ive ever mentioned. The game will randomly freeze from time to time whenever loading needs to happen (moving from room to room/floor to floor, entering a battle, leaving a battle, or even opening the menu).
The freezing lasts for about 30-40 seconds. Once the game finally feels like loading up again, the framerate proceeds to fluctuate like crazy. Every three or four seconds it will drop to about 10-15 FPS for a bit. This requires relaunching the game in order to fix it.
But heres the thing: My OBS recording isnt affected by this. Everything looks totally normal in the video I recorded. The framerate issue only manifests within live gameplay. Its not the result of any programs or things running in the background either. This freezing/framerate drop issue has happened during grinding sessions as well, where I dont have OBS running (and the game isnt even set to fullscreen).
This fucking game.
In terms of equipment, we pick up one Supreme Armor. Its a slight improvement, so I toss it to Blaze because he had the lowest overall DEF.
We also snag a new weapon from the Item Shrine. Its a lance that looks like someone glued a handle onto a gift shop model of the Tokyo Skytree. Unlike the other joke weapons, this one is just outright better than our current weapons. We lose the Dark attack element, but ATK gets boosted by 45 and LUC shoots up by 310. Im willing to make this trade off, because I expect the Ophiuchus Labyrinth to be filled with Dark/Light enemies and there is no enemy in Aquarius or Pisces which can possibly pose even a slight threat to us at this point. Id rather have the increase in LUC for stuff like Sealed Rooms and Critical Hits. And I guess whatever other random shit that LUC impacts in this game.
Thats a weird design. Not sure what it has to do with Aquarius other than being slightly aquatic looking.
Mana tells us that its regular attacks are weak, but to watch out for its powerful magic!
It does not have powerful magic. In fact, all of its stats are pathetic.
Now, normally this boss would be a decent challenge... if this was the third or fourth one that we fought. It has a good selection of spells and would normally be dangerous because it possesses a second tier spell (Absolute Zero). It also has healing and status recovery. All the makings of a Okay, the gloves are off now boss are there. Its just too bad that we happened to tackle this near the end of the game instead of the beginning.
I think they may have originally intended the labyrinths to be run in a linear order, but later in development just decided to give the player free choice. All of the bosses feel out of order in terms of difficulty and theres been no attempt to scale them with player progress outside of [If cleared labyrinths = X, then boss level = Y].
Whatever. It comes with Water and Wind Craters. I almost managed to pull off a sweep before the boss managed to get a single turn, but Itsuki couldnt quite manage to seal the deal.
Apostatae uses its one and only turn to heal itself (at least boss Heal spells have been coded to scale with level. Too bad that they are still capped at 9999). It dies two turns later.
We get some Life Fruit to bump Itsukis HP by a negligible amount and also 4,000 EXP that we dont need. Then we go and seal the labyrinth. Then, story time!
The following story event will trigger once you have cleared your fourth unique seasonal Star Labyrinth. What I mean is that you have to beat the boss of at least one Star Labyrinth in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. So you can get this as soon as your fourth labyrinth, or as late as your tenth.
~Stardust Lab. Entrance~
*The screen shows Itsuki and Mana freaking out as everything shakes and the roaring happens. Then the screen goes black temporarily and comes back to reveal *
I-Is is this ?
Oh, hey Narc. You got here awful quickly.
Oh, Nar, youre here too.
Well, if its here, then lets take care of it right away.
Itsuki, wait. We need to talk first.
What do you mean, talk? What do we have to talk about?
Yeah, I guess it is sort of chained shut right now.
We need to prepare at the castle.
Fine. Lets go back then.
~Palace Throne Room~
Hey, Im not complaining. Im cool with Mana not being in any more scenes. Also, hey Shang! Havent seen you in ages.
What we are about to speak of must remain here.
This wont be a fun discussion, will it?
More secrets, huh? What do I need to know about this time?
Itsuki, as you know
Yeah, you said that. So why arent we opening the door to the Ophiuchus Labyrinth? If I beat the 13th Phantom, then your world will be fine and Mahiru and me can finally go back to ours.
Itsuki, the 13th Phantom Its unlike any of the Impurity Gods youve faced.
That sounds a lot less ominous than you think it does. The other Impurity Gods have been underwhelming as of late. You should have seen the one we just beat.
Please stop dragging this out. Just tell me what youre hiding.
According to the ancient texts the 13th Phantom cannot be defeated.
Is that new information? I was under the assumption that we were going to seal it again and things would be cool for another 1,200 years or whatever.
But the texts do say how it can be sealed.
Im sorry, but defeating it and sealing it are the same thing to me. I want to get Mahiru back home. So just let me go enshrine the offering and Wait. Now that I think about it, where is the Star Offering for this labyrinth?
Is Alfie not able to make one of those? Who am I kidding, this story wasnt rewritten to account for her. She barely exists as a character as it is.
How do we make that?
The Grand Star Offering refers to the Gods Gift who bears all 12 Star Brands.
Ohhhhhh This is about to turn in to Persona 3, isnt it?
That, Itsuki is you.
W-Wait what are What do you mean? Do I have to make it, or
A few thousand years ago
Are you kidding me? The 12 Star Maidens from thousands of years ago just happen to look exactly like the current batch? Also, there are only 8 Star Maidens in that CG plus 2 ghost hands near the bottom.
The 13th Phantom and 12 Star Maidens are said to be bound like light and shadow. Since its conception, the 13th Phantom sought destruction of this world. Thus, it wreaked havoc everywhere it went.
Spooky. Also a little goofy.
But 2,400 years ago The Great Mage built the Ophiuchus Labyrinth to seal away the 13th Phantom. During that sealing process
But ever since it was sealed by the Grand Star Offering the 13th Phantom began absorbing Impurities from the people of this world.
Okay, so Star God wasnt responsible for the sex makes monsters thing. Maybe? The 13th Phantom was created by Universal Law, so does that mean the universe just popped it out, or did Star God create it himself? Im just going to assume the latter, because Star God is an asshole.
It has been gathering its strength to break the seal and one day revive itself.
In other words, the 13th Phantom is responsible for producing these Impurities. Simply put If the 13th Phantom vanishes, the Impurities will vanish as well. When that happens, Granvania will forever be at peace But that was not possible back then.
That is why the Great Mage built the Stardust Labyrinths. The Impurities were sealed within them to be absorbed by the Star Offerings. The Great Mage attempted to stop the 13th Phantom.
The 13th Phantom has been absorbing Impurities for over 1,200 years.
And with the Star Chaos occurring once every 1,200 years This means the cycle of the 13th Phantoms absorption will soon end and it will devour the Grand Star Offering of Gods Gift. The Star Chaos will force Gods Gift himself to become an offering.
So then what happens when Gods Gift becomes the offering?
Then The Impurities will vanish along with the 13th Phantom. That is why the next Grand Star Offering must be made to create the next seal.
Do we really want to save this god forsaken planet? Im referring to Granvania.
This means Mahirus power is needed for the sealing ceremony Mahirus true mission is to create the Grand Star Offering.
So basically, a Gods Gift needs to create the Grand Star Offering using a Gods Gift as the material. I guess this is why Star God nabbed two people from Earth this time instead of one.
I promise you With the 13th Phantom sealed, I will personally ensure Mahiru returns to Sora.
So the only way to save the world is by sacrificing myself? Theres no other way ?
Take as much time as you need to decide.
Its not much of a decision. Itsuki (and Mahiru) cant go back to Sora unless this is done and if he doesnt do it, then he dies in this world. All roads lead to death.
In the meantime You can defeat the other Impurity Gods to delay the revival of the 13th Phantom.
Already done. Mostly. Theres still that pesky Pisces Impurity God hanging around, but itll be dealt with soon enough.
Until then, keep this information to yourself. Swear to the Star God
*The screen turns white here for a second for some reason*
Tell me the moment youve decided.
~Inn: Itsukis Room~
You dont look too happy What did you all talk about?
*The scene fades out there. When it fades back in, its dark in Itsukis room*
Its morning I barely slept
Oh, youre awake?
Hey, Mahiru. You look pretty excited
Whatever. More importantly, were ending this today.
Oh come on, Mahiru. Now is not the time for this crap.
What are you talking about?
What else but the rumor hunt?
~Granvania Shopping Center~
What do we even have left to investigate? I thought we followed up on everything.
*Mahiru wanders across the screen slightly*
Hey, where are you going? The academy is that way.
I think this is another grammar/translation fuckup. It should be Were not going to the academy field. Well see in a little bit that Narc isnt at the field or the academy.
Well be getting to the bottom of that underground room. Why is the academy exposing students to danger? Well get him to tell us.
Thats a ballsy move, Mahiru. Just going to call him out face to face like that?
We cant just go home and leave things as they are.
Mirei told us not to get involved. Shes investigating it for us.
We cant keep sitting on our hands.
Doubtful. Mirei doesnt seem to have much allegiance to the country. She just cares about research.
You cant be serious.
We wanted to ask you something.
You could have done so in class.
That would have been the smarter move, honestly. Going straight into the lions den isnt the option I would have gone for. Also, this is why I mentioned that I think theres a grammar fuckup. We most certainly did not go to the academy field.
That would have been fine with us, but maybe not for you.
What is that supposed to mean?
This is about the underground room.
We found the hidden door in the headmasters room.
So you two went in there again?
Youre busted, Narc. Just give it up.
How did you get past Mireis Star Energy?
Because of awesome Gods Gif
I see So, shes on your side now
What the fuck, Mahiru?! Way to fucking sell out Mirei like that after she helped you! Jesus, what the hell is wrong with you? All you had to say was I guess our Gods Gift powers are stronger than anything you can come up with. He sure as hell doesnt know if thats true or not. I doubt the true extent of Gods Gift energy is understood, let alone a Gods Gift with all 12 Star Signs (which hasnt happened for 1,200 years).
Why is that Star Energy Circle underneath the academy?
I cant answer that.
Please stop stalling on this, Narc. I dont want another fucking Mahiru hunts rumors event after this.
Is it another national secret?
Even though you made the headmasters room off-limits?
Was it you who opened the hidden door, Itsuki?
Who else could?
Oh, of course. Of course Shang is behind it. Man I really wanted him to be cool.
I havent even opened it myself.
I call bullshit on this by the way. The rumor that led us to this in the first place was about how Narc would enter his office and disappear. The sliding wall door had one seal and the door behind it had another. Are you telling me that Narc would open up the wall door (which he presumably seals) and then just stand in between it and the other door?
I do not know what lies beyond. I only watched over it at the kings command.
I dont believe that at all.
Oh, hey Mirei. Mahiru totally ratted you out by the way.
Mirei, why did you unseal it?
Because you wouldnt tell me the whole truth.
I havent hidden anything from you regarding this.
No, hes lying
Mirei, do you seriously believe him?
Ive known him for many years. I can tell just by looking at him.
Heres an idea. Lets bring Ruka in to confirm that. She can supposedly tell when people are lying. Im sure she can keep a secret. And if she cant then I dont particularly care anyway.
He isnt lying about this. Besides, Mahiru, I told you not to get involved.
That didnt solve anything.
But theres been progress. I havent been twiddling my thumbs.
Mahiru is kind of terrible at investigation.
By the way, yes, Itsuki is still part of this scene. Well, insofar as him being present in the room anyway.
~Underneath Star God Academy~
And there was a Star Energy Circle here until recently. It was stealing the Star Energy from the students day after day.
Impossible Those are forbidden.
Thats why Im trying to find out whats been going on. By getting to the bottom of this evil and finding evidence.
So what did you find out?
I used Star Search Energy that reacts to the Star Fragment and followed it. And today, I reached a conclusion. It isnt mere coincidence you chose today to conduct this, Mahiru. This, too, is the will of the Star God.
Star God doesnt will shit. Dont go making it sound as though he does stuff.
Mirei, enough with the prologue. Tell us what you have discovered.
The other day, the Star Search Energy discovered a large Star Fragment.
Oh, please tell me this isnt going where I think its going.
The Stardust Labyrinths?
I learned of it just this morning. It seems the Star Fragments are functioning as the 13th Star Offering.
Oh, okay. For a second there I thought we were going to find out that Shang has been feeding the 13th Phantom.
This is something that can be easily proven by going into the labyrinths. Ill leave the Star Fragments to you, Itsuki. Get to the bottom of this.
So then, Narcisstes isnt the culprit here?
Dun-dun-duuuuNah, we figured out this part in the last scene.
So the day has finally come. The hidden door was made to only respond to my Star Brand.
Well, thats what you get for NOT USING A GODDAMN DEADBOLT!
Mirei, did you destroy the Star Energy circle?
Yes, of course. The only ones who can create or destroy such artifacts are my people. Your Majesty, I would ask for an explanation
But the Impurities in the labyrinths are consuming the Star Offerings, right?
It wasnt a problem in ancient times. However, just 100 years ago The power of the Impurities within the labyrinths began gradually increasing.
You havin fun back there, Itsuki? Dont worry, youll get a line at some point in this scene, Im sure.
20 years passed It became difficult to seal the Impurities with the 12 Star Offerings alone. Looking at it now, it was all due to the Star Chaos.
But Your Majesty, there is no record of this anywhere.
That truth had been discovered by the palace mage at the time
I was afraid our people would fall into confusion if they heard of this. So I searched for a way to avoid this danger with your grandfather, Mirei.
That crystallized power is what became the Star Fragments. We needed massive amounts of Star Energy for the Star Fragments to function. This academy was founded to collect that Star Energy.
So you built this place just to steal energy from students?
Hey! Theres Itsuki! Welcome back to the story.
Mirei, your grandfather was a great man. Compared to the Star Offerings, the Star Fragments power is extremely weak. However, as he expected, the Star Fragments are still working well to this day. Its thanks to his efforts that we havent been overrun by Impurities.
Mirei and her family play a weirdly important role in the story. Given the general absence of all the other Maidens, Im wondering if her background was originally part of an NPC and SC just decided to combine it with Mirei at some point during development. Its weird to me that out of the 12 Star Maidens, only Mahiru and Mirei seem to have any connection to the main plot.
I am forever grateful to him.
There was no other way. The country would have fallen into ruin otherwise.
See, I want to tell Shang to fuck off with that because Im angry at him for being the villain of the story since I wanted him to be cool. On the other hand hes right. As despicable as what he did was, it was a necessary evil.
Now, there is an argument to be made for him handling this in a better way. I think looking to the citizens to donate Star Energy would have been a more ethical arrangement. Their lives would be on the line after all.
What do you mean there was no other way?
Wh-What are you saying? Are you crazy?!
Star Fragments take 15 years to make and 15 years to be expended. That 15-year period is about to end. The Star Fragments power is gone. We need new Star Fragments.
Why? What would that accomplish at this point? The Star Fragments arent going to stop the 13th Phantom.
Mirei, you arent seriously considering this, are you?
The students Star Energy will not wane that easily. The effect isnt immediate. Mirei, this is a command. Create the Star Energy circle.
Mirei, this is an order from your king. If you do not obey, it is treason.
Pretty sure the treason ship already set sail with Shang at the wheel. He was betraying the trust of the citizens by secretly draining their life force without consent.
I dont know what to do. Itsuki, what do you think? What should I do?
I think its obvious.
Itsuki, tell me
I dont know what everyone else thinks about this. But as far as what I think Shangri-La? Youre wrong. I wont stand for this.
Narcisstes, call the guards. Those who disobey the king are guilty of treason.
I keep gaining greater respect for Mirei. I probably would be rethinking my vote right now but I may have kind of cast it already.
Mirei, what are you saying?
There is no other way. Only your people can create the Star Energy circles.
You wont force her to do it, Shangri-La. I wont let you.
If you do this, then consider my mission over.
If you do that, youll never be able to return home.
Itsuki finally starts to become cool. Wake would be proud of a response like that.
Itsuki, do you intend to bargain with me?
Im not bargaining. Theres only two options here. If you give up on restoring the circle, then Ill keep carrying out my mission. When I complete it, the circle wont even be needed anymore.
There is no guarantee of what you say.
You really dont have a choice, Shang. Theres jack shit you can use as leverage against Itsuki. You cant exactly lay your hands on the Star Maidens, since they are critical to saving the world.
Its up to you. If you want me to do my best, then you have to back off. If you force Mirei to restore the circle, then Granvania will be destroyed.
Unfortunately, the Itsuki dialogue youre seeing now is from my mind. Official Itsuki stops being a badass right after that Granvania will come to ruin moment. Official Itsuki basically begs and pleads for Shang not to do go through with this. I took some liberties to make LP Itsuki less of a candy-ass.
Fine. However, I will set a time limit.
Our deal will be null and void.
Shang is really misunderstanding the situation here. Setting a time limit is pointless. Either Itsuki seals the 13th Phantom or the world is destroyed. There is no third option anymore. Theres been no indication that the Star Fragments are capable of stopping its revival at this late of a stage. The Ophiuchus Labyrinth has already spawned. Buying yourself another year or two wont change anything.
Fine. Then Ill just finish my mission before that happens.
Narcisstes, guards will not be necessary. Mirei, return to your duty.
Oh, and It seems you have been investigating the Seven Academy Wonders. Ill tell you about one of them now. I truly am 120 years old.
Oh screw you, Conception. The Star Maidens dont age for 120 years, which is understandable since they need to be around to maintain their Star Offering until it runs out of gas. But what possible reason could there be for Star God to slow down aging for Gods Gifts? They go home when their job is done, which takes a few years at most. I mean, I assumed Shang had some kind of age thing going on, but I thought it was some secret magic/medical deal (like he was using the Star Fragments or something).
Also, any guesses as to Shangs age now that we know this? Hes been here for 100 years, which at 1/3rd rate means hes aged 33 years. If he was Itsukis age when he had his turn as Gods Gift, then that means hes about 49 or 50. That looks about right, although personally I think he looks a bit closer to mid 50s than early 50s/late 40's.
I will take my leave now.
*And Shang wanders out of frame*
Itsuki, Mahiru. This goes without saying, but this
Is a national secret. Yeah, yeah. We know.
But if the Star Energy Circle is restored, we cant just keep quiet.
Narcisstes, dont treat them like children. They know all of that. I shall take my leave back to my research. See you later.
*And then Mirei leaves*
She went back to normal so fast! Mirei is a mystery herself
Narcisstes. I want to ask for a favor.
What is it?
~Star God Academy Hallway~
Yeah, but why are you?
You followed us here, didnt you?
So you knew, huh.
The safe bet is to just assume that you are always lurking somewhere within our vicinity, unfortunately.
Im sorry, Itsuki. I was told to watch over you. Thats just part of my job.
Yeah, I know.
It sounds like the king is aware of everything youve been up to till now. Is that okay? You havent done anything weird, right?
No, Mahiru. I havent.
Grr Sh-Shut up! Not another word!
But I want closure on that! Let me beat the crap out of that dude! Just a little bit!
What are you two talking about?
Nothing. Never mind.
You dont need to worry about that.
Are you two sharing a secret now ? How lewd.
I hate you so much. The anime has only reinforced that hatred.
Jealousy is unbecoming of you, Mahiru.
But dont you already have a relationship like that with someone else, Mana?
What are you on about now?
Listening to what youve said, I think I have a theory
What are you getting at?
What the great detective Mahiru thinks is
Did we not already figure that out? I could have sworn that we figured that out.
Well? Am I right?
Yes, I owe my life to Shangri-La. As such, Ill do whatever I can for him.
Listen, Im going to head to the classroom. Are you going to come along?
What are you going there for?
I need to tell everyone something. I want them all to listen.
~Star God Academy Classroom~
Each Star Maiden should now proceed with their preparations.
Except for Alfie.
Could I have everyones attention? I want to seal the 13th Phantom as soon as possible. For the children for you for everyone.
Narc actually slides out of frame after this ellipses, as if he can sense that Itsuki has a big spotlight moment coming.
So please, help me. I need powerful Star Children in order to make this work.
Not as cool as you think it is, game. Youve got to work harder than this to make the All choices are the same moment deliver a good punch. You have not worked hard enough.
Lets make great Star Children!
What are you talking about, Itsuki? We were going to help anyway.
Itll make sense in a bit, trust me. Incidentally, you may want to start checking out some dating sites. Just saying.
Itsuki, youre acting weird
Mahiru, whats with Itsuki?
~Inn: Itsukis Room~
Im so tired
What do you mean by that?
To be honest, I couldnt sense if you felt any duty to your mission. Especially since the Ophiuchus Labyrinth appeared.
Well I wasnt really fully aware of what my duty was until now. Mana? Would you sacrifice your own life for someone else? Like the king?
Wait, you died? Is that how you got tamed?
I see. Would you be sad if I died?
Dont say things like that! How can you die when youve defeated so many Impurity Gods already?
Please, Conception, stop. I beg you. For the love of all that is holy, do not try and emotionally connect the audience with Mana. Its not going to work. Its far too late to redeem her as a character.
Actually, you know what?! How dare you say that, even if its a stupid joke! Youre such a dumbass!
Itsuki, are you worried?
Id personally choose death, but thats just me.
I promise Ill return you to Sora, Itsuki.
Are you crying?
Of course not. Im the hero, remember? Im going to save the world. Ill protect everyone and Ill go back home.
Itsuki, youve really matured.
Im not so sure about that. Its just that no-one else has given up yet, so neither should I.
In that case, Ill need to return soon. Or do you need some more comforting?
Ill be fine. Ill see you tomorrow, okay?
Yes Good night, Itsuki.
*The screen is currently black*
Itsuki Itsuki, wake up!
Once youre ready, head to the Ophiuchus Labyrinth.
The game gives us a chance to save and go through the menu at this point. Saving is a good idea, but fiddling with your Star Child teams and items isnt important. Were not hitting any point of no return.
~Granvania Shopping Center~
Oh right, Itsuki.
Before you head to the labyrinth, how about you talk to them? Theyre still in the classroom. Ill go on ahead to the labyrinth.
Were finally free! For a moment, anyway. At this point, our task is to go to the academy and say our