Part 1: Do you have any idea what youre getting yourself involved in...?
Like all great JRPG adventures, we open on a small house on the outskirts of a small town.
Like less of these great adventures, we start as a 10 year old girl. And hey, were even already awake.
Daddys really late. I even got a message from the guild saying hed be home today, too...
Im sooooo bored! Maybe Ill just practice with my staff a bit more before dinner.
Mans Voice: Hey! Im home!
Were spared 2 hours of Estelle breaks everything in the house with her staff by the arrival of a mystery man.
Meet Cassius. Hes a cool guy with a cool stache, and thus hes the best dad. Him and Estelle also strike me as a flip on the traditional JRPG family, where the male protagonist lives with his mother (think Chrono Trigger). He also seems to be carrying something...
Did you take good care of the house while I was away?
*giggle* Of course I did! Did you run into any trouble, Daddy? You didnt get hurt fighting the bad monsters, did you?
Nope. Im as fit as a fiddle! That reminds me though, I brought you a present.
Really!? What kind of present?! A new fishing pole? Sneakers? Something for my training?!
Estelle loves her some sneakers. None of these are one-off lines, fishing poles and sneakers are actually kinda recurring things.
...Maybe I raised you wrong, Estelle... Arent little girls supposed to like clothes and jewelry?
I like pretty clothes, but they just get dirty. And jewelry breaks when you go play outside with it on. Anyway, Daddy. Whats with the big blanket? Is THAT my present?
Oh, youre a sharp one! Now why dont you come have a look?
Well, here you are. Quite a handsome boy, dont you think?
Cassius has a great grin right here, you can tell hes loving this. Like I say, families that screw with each other, stay with each other.
Trails likes to mess with text size and such for effect. I wish more games would do it, I like the effect.
Dont make such a fuss or youll wake him up.
Wake him up...? You mean hes still alive?
I should hope so, because my god that would be worst gift ever.
Also, jokes aside, Id like to point out this is the fifth unique expression young Estelle has. Considering we never see them again, its a nice bit of effort on Falcoms part.
Looks kind of dead if you ask me.
Ive treated his wounds, so he should be in stable condition. In the meantime, however... well need to let him rest. Ill put him to bed, so if you wouldnt mind heating a kettle of water on the stove, Id appreciate it.
And he almost looks the same age as me. This is the first time Ive ever seen black hair like that, too.
He certainly does have a nice head of dark hair. And a pair of amber eyes to go with it.
Thats nice and all, but how about you come clean and fess up?
Yeah. Who is this kid anyway? And why is he hurt? Why did you bring him to our house?
Somehow, being accused of adultery is adorable when it comes from a kid
Where have you been picking up these kinds of words...?
No doubt from Scherazard, I assume.
Yep! Thats right!
For heavens sake! That girl is going to get me into trouble one of these days with all her nonsense. Actually, I just met this boy while I was out on business. And I dont even know his name.
You mean bracer business?
Something like that. Oh, look...
Hes waking up.
Now that weve gotten a slightly better look at the kid, Im going to say that I like his design. Amber eyes and shockingly dark hair are enough to make him stand out, like Cassius and Estelle commented on, but theyre subdued enough that it doesnt come across as original character, donotsteal.
Or perhaps my accurately, I'd say I like the idea of it. The art for the original Trails is kinda rough, later iterations of the character's are better drawn.
Wow! His eyes really are the color of amber...
... Wh-where...am I...?
So youre awake now, are you? Welcome to my humble home. Youll be safe here, so please just try to rest.
... What are you trying to pull...?
You must be out of your mind... Why... Why didnt you just leave me there to die?
Why? Now thats a question I dont know how to answer.
Cassius is a chill guy. Youll also note the square brackets (or you wont, in which case, gosh, pay attention!) Im not sure why, but theyre used in place of quotation marks. Im not sure if the game just doesnt support quotes, or if its just stylistic choice, but either way its what weve got.
D-Dont toy with me, Cassius Bright! Do you have any idea what youre getting yourself involved in...?
This is the first time we officially learn Estelles last name. The real question is, how did our injured friend know it?
Youre sure shouting a lot for someone whos supposed to be hurt! Running your mouth like that is just gonna make it take longer for your body to heal!
...And just who are you supposed to be?
Im Estelle! Estelle Bright!
Shes my daughter. Dont you remember me telling you that I have a daughter your age?
Now that you mention it...
Wait a minute! Dont try and change the sub--
All right, all right already...! But you jumping on me like that isnt going t make me heal any faster either!
It couldnt hurt. I mean, it could, but thats part of the fun.
I dont hear you telling again, do I?
Look, jumping on me like that is just going to make things worse...
In later years, Estelle would become a nurse, only to be fired for bad bedside manner. She then became a prison guard, but was fired for the same reason.
N-never mind. Just forget it...
As a word of advice, it would be wise not to argue with Estelle while youre in this house. Even I wouldnt stand a chance if I made her mad enough.
Yeah, I can see that...
By the way, arent you forgetting something?
Your name. You know, that thing that people call you? I told you mine already, so dont you think it would be unfair and impolite not to tell me yours.
It seems like the logical thing to do if you ask me. Trying to hide it now would only serve to your detriment.
F-fine... My name is...
And thats the games intro. Personally, Im a fan. It establishes a good mystery/hook for the rest of the game, does a good job of introducing the characters, and has some good lines (illi-jit-mate). If youre not sold yet, keep reading. Like most of its kind, Trails has a slow start, but its charming enough to stay engaging.
Watch the Opening!
If you don't want to/can't watch, keep reading, but at least listen to the nice music:
Like any good opening, were about to be bombarded with images of things that may or may not be relevant. Fortunately, none of these things are really spoilers. You could learn a lot, every other opening ever.
Now thats an idyllic hometown!
Its gonna be burnt down, isnt it?
And theres the name of the game. Lets see whats in store:
Other presumably cool people!
Action! Airships! Airship action (the best kind)!
Aw hell yeah falcons!
and a girl I guess whatever
A guy who wrote the directions to the set of FFVII wrong!
Crazy eccentrics in castles!
Or maybe royalty?
Some boring looking dude. He doesnt get an exclamation mark.
A nice couple, preparing for an evening of do-goodery!
A great game!
And we're back. I gotta say, Cassius has a pretty nice house.
Shockingly enough, we don't play the rest of the game as a 10 year old girl.
Mmm...I slept like a rock.
Estelle gets a bunch of new portraits for her nightgown, which are used maybe one more time in the game. It's good on Falcom's part, but bad for me because it's more work and I am so lazy I sometimes don't even finish my senten
Hmmm...that must mean it's Dad's turn to cook this morning. I wonder if that means Joshua's still in bed?
And thus, we anticlimactically learn Joshua's name.
Guess that's a no.
Well, I guess I'd better get myself ready then, too.
We're treated to a scenic view of the Bright house, and Joshua chilling on the balcony. Seems like a nice place.
Nice, Joshua! Bravo!
Good morning, Estelle. I hope I didn't wake you.
Joshua is surprisingly subdued from the last time we saw him.
Nah, I was already up when I heard you start to play.
I can't believe how awake you are though. Even the roosters still have bags under their eyes?
Not that I mind, what with that siren song of yours gently lulling this beautiful woman for her slumber.
What do you mean woman? We're the same age and I'm hardly a man.
The art isn't always fantastic, but it's pretty expressive. Estelle all but radiates smug here.
We may be the same age, but I am clearly THE woman of the house.
She beat out Joshua for the title on a technicality.
And that makes you something like my loyal follower, wouldn't you agree?
Yeah, yeah. How fortunate for you.
Estelle and Joshua have a pretty good back and forth, which helps keep the dialogue fresh.
Anyway, I can't quite put my finger on it, but something seems to be missing from the melody you were playing.
Overall though, it's a great song. Cheerful, yet somehow wistful... I like your other songs too, of course, but this one's my favorite.
Er... what's it called again?
[The Whereabouts of Light]
It's also been known as [Recurring Symbol]
That's right, [The Whereabouts of Light.]
I wish I could play the harmonica like you, Joshua. Sadly, it's a lot harder than it looks...
Compared to what it takes to use a staff, I think the harmonica is much easier. It's really just a matter of concentration.
You're probably right. I guess my problem is just that if I don't do something that uses my whole body, I start to feel drowsy.
Anyway, playing the harmonica is fine and all, but how about getting some exercise. All your hobbies are sitting-around kind of stuff like reading and music.
No girl is gonna be impressed with just that!
Well, excuse me for being so unpopular with the ladies.
I play video games for the internet. I can hardly judge you.
Although, I feel like I should be the one lecturing you about your hobbies. I mean, what kind of boy wants a girl who loves fishing, collecting bugs, and has a fetish for sport shoes?
Gosh, just make out already you two.
Er... That's enough talk about hobbies for now.
And for you information, I graduated for bug collecting a long time ago.
Really? I'll believe that when I stop finding beetles in the hallway.
Good morning, Dad. Is breakfast ready?
It's ready and waiting! Why don't the both of you hurry on down before it gets cold?
I'm on my way!
Are you eating or inhaling, Estelle?
You can do both!
Hmph. Like people say, [Kids who eat and sleep a lot, grow a lot.]
Estelle said this once. Cassius and Joshua both agreed, it was kinda stupid.
Well, make sure you get enough to eat, but don't forget to pour that energy into your work, too. That reminds me, you two are finishing up your training at the guild today, aren't you?
That's right. It'll be a review of everything we've learned up to this point.
And once we're finished, we'll be bracers just like you, Dad! That means I'm not going to let you treat me like a kid anymore either!
[ You still lack understanding, Estelle. You can only become a junior bracer in the beginning-- or in other words, a trainee. If you want to be treated like an adult, then you should work extra hard in your training to become a full-fledged bracer.
Well, I'm not afraid of a little hard work! Just you watch and see what I'm capable of, Dad! I'll be so successful that it won't be long before I pass you, too!
That's the spirit! Let's see what you're made of then, shall we?
Let's not start a rivalry here, you two...
And Estelle, keep your focus on the task at hand. We have a test later on today, remember?
Huh...?! ...Wait...what test?
Please tell me that you didn't forget about the test, Estelle... You know, the one that checks whether or not we've mastered the skills we've been learning in training. Don't you remember Schera saying that if we failed, we'd be stuck with a ton of extra homework?
Joshua studied extra hard for the exposition portion of the test.
Crap... Totally forgot... Now that you mention it, I guess I kind of remember her saying something like that...
Because Estelle fails the bracer test, lives a boring life would make for a terrible game.
I honestly don't know how you've survived this long, Estelle. Your brain is like a sieve.
Papa is sad! How could any child of mine end up with such a careless, overoptimistic personality?
yeah, you're a terrible father.
Ha! You're the one that raised me, so I definitely got it from you!
I swear, the two of you act so much alike, but whatever.
We should probably head over to the guild soon, Estelle. Schera's going to be waiting there for us.
Sounds like a plan. You know how crazy scary she gets when someone keeps her waiting.
Oh, before I forget, it's my turn to cook dinner tonight. Is there anything in particular you'd like to eat, Dad? Any requests?
Hmm... Something I'd like to eat, huh?
How about Ruan-style scalloped fish in a balsamic vinegar sauce?
I think that's a little more than Estelle's cooking skills can handle... Or our stomachs...
You're right. I just wanted to see what kind of reaction I could get. I'll just have the usual fried fish and omelet. No need for anything fancy, but do try to make something edible.
This introduces a running theme. Estelle is actually really good at anything people think she's bad at. You'll see why later, but Estelle is quite literally a master savant chef.
How rude! ...But I can't actually say he's wrong...
Actually, I did have one favor to ask before you head out. I'd like you to pick me up a copy of the Liberl News from the general goods store. They're supposed to be getting the latest edition in today.
Got it. One copy of the Liberl News from the general goods store.
Either one Mira doesn't go a long way, or we just got a huge allowance.
Or maybe newspapers are just super expensive.
If there's any money left over, you can have it as your allowance. However, that means: no wasteful spending.
All right! Thanks, Dad!
Okay, we're heading out now. See you later, Dad.
Work hard and give Scherazard my regards.
Don't worry, we will. We'll work so hard, we'll need a break beforehand. A long break. So let's get started on that.
Next time: Bracing to be Bracers.