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"At the exit, the dude who previously blocked Twink's path now mysteriously stands off to the side. He's still all, 'Death and destruction to any Kokiri who leave!!!' but he no longer feels the need to enforce this rule."
     -Jeanne, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Part 1

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Suikoden IV : Part 5
By Sam
Posted 06.04.13
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5
Previously in Marvy Gaye's struggles with depression, our sad-eyed hero met the least impressive royal family ever--one that he would be so embarrassed to be related to, can you even imagine?--and was given a noble and important mission to recruit people of unspecified talent for an unspecified reason. In return, he was given a cave to live in, no money, and the gift of Keneth, Paula, and Chiepoo's infinite company. Well, things have to improve from here, don't they?

Marvy's first stop after exiting his cabin bedroom is to visit Rita, because I have a problem. Marvy sees a new option in the Ritapon menu, which allows him to replace the faces on the tiles with anybody currently conscripted in the Rebellion of No Specific Purpose. Unfortunately, he hasn't met nearly enough beefcakes yet to make a customization effort worthwhile, and he's also getting the itch for tiles in his sweaty palms, so he lets it go for now.

We all know what he means by 'transport.'

Once he's done drowning his sorrows in the sweet intoxication of gambling, Marvy leaves his cave home and takes the fabled elevator down to the docks so he can board his loaner ship. But he's barely sailed ten yards out of Obel's harbor when Keneth insists he hears something. Eventually someone cries, "Help!!" and the camera pulls away from the ship to show the blonde head of Lilin the Shion Mermaid poking up out of the water and yelling at them. They, for reasons I do not want to understand, pull her out of the water and onto the deck. "Bad people...came to our island..." she pants. "They killed everyone and took them away." So did they cart away a bunch of dead bodies, or kill some mermaids and abduct others? Do I care? No. I do not.

But Keneth is all, "What did you say?!" like he had mermaid sisters with terrible haircuts living with Lilin. "I was playing in the cave by myself," Lilin explains, "so I was safe. But everyone else...even my sisters...they're gone." Wow, mystery assholes, thanks for sparing the Shion mermaid. I appreciate it. Paula chimes in, "Then the stories are true... People who sell mermaids...really do exist." Did Paula even know mermaids themselves existed before their deserted island sojourn? Shut up, Paula.

Lilin demands of them, "Bad people's ship is still nearby. Make them go away! Please!" Marvy really could not give less of a shit about some mermaid poachers--what do they poach them for, scales and tits?--but Lilin nonconsensually joins his party as a guest, so theoretically, the sooner he does as she asks, the sooner she'll jump back in the ocean and fuck off forever. It's this kind of naïve delusion that results in Marvy being perpetually unhappy and disappointed in the world--he has no one to blame but himself. Well, and all the idiots and cat people and mermaids.

I have once again forgotten how to steer the ship, so the party is forced into seven or so random battles while I spin the boat in circles and inch it oh so slowly toward the poachers' ship. It's pretty sad. Keneth, as they pull up to the ship they are actively pursuing, says in a voice full of fear, "They've seen us!" No shit, dumbass, that's the point. The other ship immediately swipes up to their side so the poachers can board. "Well, well, well..." the "merchant ship" captain says. "Shall we get down to business? Why don't you hand over that mermaid you have over there?" Not only does Marvy not get the option to reply in a chipper tone, "Sure! Nice doing business with you!" but he doesn't even get the pragmatic option of dumping her wiggly ass overboard and asking, "Mermaid? What's a mermaid?" No, because Lilin is so Pure and Good and Marvy's BFF or something, he can only reply, "We'll never hand her over to you!" or "I cannot do that." What the fuck.

For no reason, the game switches to voice acting for this part. "I see..." the poacher says, in a voice that vacillates between Irish barfly and 1920s Chicago mobster. "So you want to fight, do you? I didn't want it to come to this, but you've left me no other choice..." He calls back to his crew, all of whom are still on his ship, "Everyone! Let's kill these wretched fools!" The crew cheers, and Marvy doesn't think to stab the captain in the neck while he's isolated on their deck. God, whatever. Marvy and his motley crew must instead face two consecutive battles against some Suikoclone brigands. Lilin stands to the side, munching popcorn or spying on Gaignun's bank accounts or something.

By the time the fighting is done, the poacher captain has returned to his own ship, whining that they have messed with "the almighty Cray Trading Company!" and that they are bullies and haters and will be destroyed. Oh no, Marvy has run afoul of the Cray Trading Company! He was hoping to never do that, since they seem so nice! In that spirit, once they've freed the remaining live mermaids and the poachers are fleeing, Marvy decides to fire a magic cannonball into their asses. As a symbol of friendship.

Lilin thanks Marvy for his help, and maybe that would be that, but Keneth doesn't know when to keep his goddamn mouth shut. "The caves might still be dangerous," he tells her. "Say, if you want, why don't you come with us? How about it?" I'm pretty sure Marvy did not give Keneth recruitment privileges, and if he did, Keneth can consider them revoked. Also, good thinking--let's keep a mermaid on land! That's the perfect place for her! Lilin accepts Keneth's invitation, joins the Rebellion of No Specific Purpose, and also promises to keep an eye out for any of her fish-tailed sisters so Keneth can keep them as ill-advised pets, too. Fucking wonderful.

And isn't his new mermaid recruit the gift that keeps on giving--as Marvy returns to the Obel docks he never really left, he is greeted by Dario and his incredibly feminine "son" Nalleo. Marvy is sad to see they're both still rocking wide horizontal stripes. So not a good look. "So it's you guys, huh?" Dario shouts. "You've been selling those stuffed mermaids around here, haven't you?" Yeah, I really did not want to think about Lilin being "stuffed" with anything. Just to prove to me that a scene can always become more stupid, Paula turns to Marvy and asks, "What does he mean by that? Perhaps...he has mistaken us for the Cray Trading Company, whom we encountered earlier..." YOU MEAN TEN SECONDS AGO? Holy crap, these people.

Nalleo points out that these people have a mermaid on their boat, which obviously makes them the fish lady-murdering culprits. Dario's basically like, "DUUUUUUUUH, why else would I think they were poaching mermaids? It's a good thing you've got that ass." And since Dario is so convinced he's caught some evildoers, Marvy is thrown into his first ship battle since his life turned to shit, ironically against the same incompetent comic relief foe as before.

Just like the first battle, Dario's ship is equipped with wind and fire rune cannons, and just like before that means the best options for Marvy are fire and water. But unlike last time, Marvy has more runes to choose from and doesn't have to suffer through Slowe's terrible decision-making. As a result, the ensuing battle is a complete joke, and it takes all of three rounds for Dario to start crying. "Daddy, don't you think we should request reinforcements?" Nalleo asks when it's over, hoping her father takes the polite hint that he's terrible at this. Lilin attempts to shout at him that she's not even a captive, but Dario either willfully ignores her or thinks it's his daughter making squeaky noises in his ear. When Nalleo is like, "Um, I don't sound like Shion, do I, Daddy?" Dario decides, "Huh. Must've been my imagination... Okay, that's enough. Let's retreat for now!"

Keneth, like Lilin, tries yelling their side of the story, as if it even matters, but Dario's bumper boat is already sailing away. Dario ignores him too and shouts to his crew, "Everyone, hurry! We're heading back! We're reporting it to the Lady... Huh?" He squints into the distance and then says in a wondering, almost Scooby Doo-like voice, "Lady Kika!" Over his shoulder, we can see another ship in the distance. A loooooong tracking shot of Dario's ship leads to a three-way meetup in the open water with Marvy's ship and the ship of the mysterious Lady Kika, which has an incredibly phallic prow and a skull carved into the stern.

While Keneth and Lilin, who seem to be kindred fucking spirits all of a sudden, derp to each other that they don't really know anything about Kika except that she's "strong," Dario toddles across his deck to address the boss on hers. While Dario's walking, a very handsome young man on Kika's ship eyes Marvy and his friends. "Hey, Dario," the hot brunette, named Sigurd, shouts at him. "Does that mermaid look like a captive to you? You haven't been drinking again, have you?" At this, Lilin moves behind Marvy and he holds out his arm, like that bony thing is going to protect her. And were they even listening? He thinks Dario is a moron, too. Dario just goes, "Wh-What?!" because he probably is, in fact, drunk right now. Another of Kika's boy-toys, a pretty young thing named Hervey with a scarred cheek and a red-checked neckerchief, is lounging on the railing, and helps Sigurd pile on Dario. Not like that. Dario is not invited to that. "There you go again," Hervey shouts. "Always going off and causing trouble... What kind of mess have you gotten yourself into now?" Dario, who I have to imagine struggles mightily with insecurity around these two fine specimens, immediately goes on the defensive. "Oh, would you shut up already..." he cries back at Hervey. "I'm fighting the name of justice!" Nalleo, behind him, has this look on her face like, "Ohhhhh my God, Daddy, you are embarrassing us in front of the Buttsex Knight Pirates."

'I have to be adopted.'

Kika herself finally joins the Dario Sucks party. "Oh?" she asks. "Well, if you want to fight for justice, you better be sure you know who is actually an enemy. You follow me, Dario?" As she's talking, the camera examines her from every angle so we can see that she's a pretty rad lady. First, in a game where everyone seems to be voiced by the same five actors, her voice stands out and fits her well, and is also not Shion's. Second, and Marvy is trying to avoid thinking about this, she's pretty hot. Yeah, she has a gigantic tramp stamp that takes up her entire lower back, but that's a tiny quibble when she's also statuesque, has great hair, and is wearing a pretty embroidered red half-coat with gold trim and tassels that looks like it came from a Shoujo Kakumei Utena consignment sale. That's a compliment.

Dario and Nalleo, cowed in the presence of their formidable non-butt pirate boss, immediately apologize. She ignores them and turns to Marvy. "Forgive Dario's rudeness," she says. "He will be punished. May we meet again someday." Kika walks off and Sigurd and Hervey follow, after Sigurd orders Dario to also get his ass in gear. They've got to get home so Sigurd and Hervey can make out while Dario sits in a corner and weeps.

'I'll forgive him if I can hire those two beefcakes with you.'

Once they're all gone, Keneth and Lilin derp even more about Kika. There has to be some soundproofed cabin room in his headquarters where Marvy can stow these two. "She seems very strong," Lilin says. "But I don't think she's a bad person." Ugh. Nobody asked you, Shion! Marvy is entirely unsurprised that, in a series of events that put in his path a mermaid, a lady pirate, an ugly pirate, a ladyboy pirate, and two hunky pirates that make him feel funny down south, he'd end up with the mermaid. He supposes he was lucky he didn't end up with Dario, too. Cursing his poor fortune yet again, he returns to Obel.

These may as well be Marvy's entire inventory.

As soon as he's off his ship, one of King Lido's Suikocones tells him there's a message from Desmond and that he needs to go see him immediately. Like he'd take orders from that sad little rodent of a man. Marvy is his own boss! So he...returns immediately to the cave to talk to Desmond. This is not a proud moment for him. "Marvy, how is everything?" Desmond asks, probably not prepared for the two-hour answer that involves a lot of heavy sighing and eye rolling. "I come with a message from the king. He asks that you search for a man named Oleg." That is not a very sexy name. He does not hear himself crying that out into the steamy night air. "Apparently," Desmond goes on, though Marvy is not listening anymore, "Oleg has been researching methods to see things that normal people cannot." My immediate reaction is to wonder if Oleg has created some kind of gaydar goggles, but that should not be an issue for the average person in this series. I'm stumped! But Marvy has to sail all the way back to fucking Nay Island to find out, since that's where Oleg is. But Nay Island is the wooooooooorst. Sigh.

Marvy finally dumps Keneth and Paula for a while to level up Reinhold and Ornan, the latter of whom he realizes too late has a Waking Rune. I don't think I've covered this rune before, but it keeps its bearer asleep until struck by damage, at which point the bearer wakes up, berserked. This can be great, but big picture, Waking Rune bearers spend 90 percent of battles asleep from start to finish. Marvy ain't got time for guys who fall asleep on him. But Ornan is hot, and his other options are just dire, so he rides it out for this trip.

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