Posted By Robert G. about 9 months ago
Warning: The following contains spoilers. You have been warned.
While Kaim and Sarah represent the somber, self-destructive side of immortality, the remaining immortals found in Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey can lay claim to other tropes not normally found. Seth can be representative of the fulfillment of life as a whole, while Gongora, the game’s antagonist, shows us how a misanthropic vision of life can utterly destroy everything you hold dear. But the 1,000 year-old ruler of Numara, Queen Ming, is perhaps the biggest oddity of all among this immortal cast.
One of the smarter aspects of Lost Odyssey is how each immortal character becomes connected to a mortal counterpart. Through gameplay this is represented by immortal characters skill linking with mortals to learn new abilities, thereby “leveling up” with new, more powerful abilities as the game progresses. But the other connections include family or story connections. As we have seen, Kaim and Sarah have Mack and Cooke to contend with, while Seth has her son Sed, and their “adopted” son Tolten. Ming however has the most unique connection of all, a romantic one with the sarcastic mercenary Jansen.
Jansen, for the most part, serves as a comic relief character early on in Lost Odyssey. As a sort of wise-cracking rogue in the same vein as Han Solo, Jansen is among the earliest characters recruited in the game to join your party. A male magician by trade, Jansen also served as a spy for Gongora early on in the game to ensure that the immortal characters would never regain their lost memories by using a magical artifact to repress their memories, but quickly abandons his loyalty to Gongora as he travels with this pair of immortals throughout their adventures.
Ming comes into play during disk 2 of Lost Odyssey, where she is kidnapped by the team willingly to help her escape an impossible situation. Serving as the only queen of Numara for nearly 1,000 years, Ming reveals the nature of Gongora’s plans to the players: that he is the one repressing their memories for his own goal, which is to rule the entire world after becoming disillusioned with the immortals’ original mission. Ming, clever spell caster that she is, was able to seal away her memories before Gongora could force them from her after he threatened to destroy her kingdom.
Throughout all of this, Ming acts with the grace and dignity of a noblewoman. Her dry, oftentimes cold demeanor is a stark contrast to Jansen’s more laid back, snarky behavior, but like any pair of star-crossed lovers, the two eventually confess feelings for each other. Unlike other games, where a budding romance becomes a central sub-plot for the primary protagonist to endure, it happens this time among two party members, both of which are given adequate time alone to confess their feelings and to watch their relationship grow. Kaim already has his love, his wife Sarah. It is for Ming and Jansen to pursue a romance with each other during the course of the game, rather than Kaim and Sarah who already have an established relationship to build on.
Of all of the characters in Lost Odyssey, Ming has the most to lose if Gongora wins. Her dedication to her kingdom shows her true colors as a compassionate ruler, and her sacrifice to lose her memories to keep Numara away from Gongora show how selfless she can be. With Jansen, she gains another reason to continue on living, to recoup her losses, and that is due to falling in love. It is such a simplistic trope, but an effective one that gives both Ming and Jansen a reason to carry on with Kaim and company against Gongora. It allows both characters to fight for what they value the most, and for Ming, it is the love of her life, and the love of her people.
And it is a powerful reason indeed, as Ming is the one immortal in Lost Odyssey that knows what she wants to do with her life. Unlike the psychological crisis of Kaim or the despair of Sarah, Ming represents affection through loss, striving to either reclaim what she holds dear while making room for new experiences during her journey. This makes Ming perhaps the most forward-thinking of the four playable immortals, and the most introspective from the get-go.
Through this romance, both Ming and Jansen go through a slight character shift. The seemingly pompous attitude of Ming slowly diminishes, while Jansen becomes more responsible, at least by his standards. It is a classic trope to see in many RPGs, especially Japanese-developed titles: the unlikely lovers learning from each other over time and establishing a strong connection. While it is not as powerful as the family ties Kaim, Sarah, or Seth have, it is still poignant to show why Ming is a character with character, especially in the games thrilling climax….
Please Insert Disk 4