OperaFAQ - v1.2
When you basically try to novelize an RPG from the
point of view of another character, one of two things happens. One, you do
a half-assed job and completely fail to capture the story as it was. Or two,
you do extensive research on the character, you catalogue a lot of the
interactions, you try to make new, obscure interactions happen, and you wind
up with a fairly good understanding of who the character really is.
Or three, you try for the second and wind up with the first anyway. No comments from the funny farm, thank-you. You may yet get a better chance.
Anyway, after trying to novelize Star Ocean from Opera's point of view, I quickly ran into the problem of not knowing enough about her. But I've always been one for accuracy and in-character-ness, so I set about to fix the problem. After many repetitions, recording dialogue, and thinking, I realized _why_ I was having trouble. Depending on how you want to look at it, Opera is either a very in-depth unique character, or else she's a really badly written one. So why am I writing this?
One: because I can, and because I like to think that I've done enough research
to make my opinions somewhat accurate and valid.
Two: because I'd absolutely love the idea of someone reading this through, then letting me know whether they think I've done a good job here, and more importantly, in my fanfiction work featuring her.
Three: Two words. Writer's block.
She's not particularly heavy on PA's, but there is enough to learn a few things about what she's like:
*** She's a Tetragene
What this means is debatable. The third eye is a dead giveaway for her race. Beyond that, I would also guess at a slightly different biology. Breaking with tradition for females, she's been given a massive weapon, and the ability to wear all the heavy armor like Claude, Dias and Ashton. The only thing she doesn't seem to do well on is shields, but how would _you_ like to swing or fire a weapon like that while wearing a shield?
How does she manage with that kind of armor on? And how does she swing that around so quickly? Realistically, the sole reason could simply have been the universal appeal of a sexy woman with a big gun. But another explanation that I like was inspired by Star Trek. Different gravity.
In ST, Vulcans/Romulans and Klingons are all apparently stronger on a mass vs. mass basis than humans. It's not unthinkable that Tetragenes is a high-gravity planet. In keeping with this, you can look at the various height/mass stats for the characters. Opera and Celine (both women with similar figures) both apparently weigh 50 kg. Yet Opera is a full 2 inches shorter than Celine. Additionally, Ernest is the heaviest character out of all twelve by a significant margin, even Dias, Ashton and Bowman (Dias is a little taller). It's hypothetical, but I don't think it's far-fetched to figure on Opera/Ernest having denser physiques, courtesy of planet Tetragenes. The only possible problem with this line of thought is that Precis can also wear heavy armor. But she's hyperactive, and probably would probably win a tractor-pull if you put a harness on her, so she doesn't count.
For the record, the idea that all Tetragenes all have blond hair does not stand up under scrutiny, since one of the endings features Opera's younger sister Opal, and she's got a different hair color.
Read the part about her drinking prowess below for another possible aspect.
*** Mechanically Talented
Fairly obvious. She can make her own Killer Moves, and she starts out with machinery talents. Anyone who can grab a materials kit off a backwater planet like Expel and create a healing ray from it... The Dexterity' skill is pretty much a guaranteed thing for her to start with, and she learns Originality' quite easily. Blaming this solely on her extra-Expellian nature doesn't stand up under scrutiny, because neither Ernest, Noel or Chisato show much of this tendency. Claude has Functionality' to start, but this blends in with his status as an ensign.
*** Likes Weapons
The instruction manual states that she's good with projectile weapons, she's capable of developing new attacks for her weapon, and she seems quite able to identify the origin of Ernest's handiwork.
Instruments? Singing? Who can say? Her name aside, her favorite instrument is apparently the piano, which would generally be the best instrument for a singer to be familiar with. She's definitely got a strong voice (Just let her take a few knocks in battle if you don't believe that). If she doesn't start with the talents of Pitch and Rhythm, she learns them very easily. But I have yet to see anything explicitly stated.
More evident by people's comments than by her actual behavior, perhaps. Aside from her various comments in battle, questioning people in the time between the bar in Hilton and Cross Castle yields different comments than normal. Things like She was terrifying' and It was good that I decided not to accept the challenge' (i.e. _She_ challenged _them_, not the other way around).
And my personal favorite:
One lady: Did you see how threatening that lady who just had an audience looked?
Other lady: Her husband probably left her. I know that look.
Another piece of evidence can be found in the ending with her and Bowman. It has Bowman helping injured people in El, with Opera coming in to announce that she's gotten rid of a nest of monsters. Bowman apologizes for not helping, and Opera states that she didn't need any help anyway.
Of course, all this aggression could merely be a facet of the fact that she's been trekking everywhere in high-heeled shoes and her feet probably hurt like hell.
She's come a long way to find Ernest. This suggests she's a strong-willed woman. Or else a really love-sick one. Possibly both. The first angle would be better supported by the notion that the trip wasn't hard, but her crash and chase after Ernest are also in the interest of self-preservation (Getting to a working space-ship again). She mentions as much when the group surveys what's left of her ship. The second angle would be better supported by the idea that even after she's crashed, all she can still think about is finding Ernest. I tend to figure a little towards the first, but the two aren't completely incompatible. Either way, she refuses to quit.
*** Realistic Approach to Life
This is something I _really_ like about her. This the characteristic that makes her put Rena in her place after they kill those two creatures in the Mountain Palace. This what keeps Opera from getting hearts in her eyes and running to embrace Ernest while he was possessed at the Hoffman Ruins. This is why she realizes that Ernest's romantic speech is weird, and that something's wrong with him. Whether actually _shooting_ him was deliberate or out of fear, the fact that she'd just left a set of ruins full of dangerous monsters (weapon was probably set for high-destruction), yet fired without killing Ernest would perhaps suggest a careful deliberate act on her part. Or maybe Ernest was simply wearing one of those Battle Suits you can steal from him.
*** Her Drinking Prowess
Most people base this mainly on the first encounter, which sees her drinking a man under the table in the bar at Hilton. But throughout the game, she can often be found in taverns, cafes and bars. Her favorite drink/food is apple cider, and she can be seen scouring the kitchen in Salva for something to drink. This penchant for drinking could be explained different ways.
One, she could be an extremely heavy drinker who has simply developed a very high alcohol tolerance over the years. Unfortunately for this theory, I found her dialogue a little too refined during the bar at Hilton _after_ outdrinking the man, her high-status position goes against the notion of an unemployed, drunken lush, and she's carrying a weapon that would become
extremely dangerous in the hands of an unrefined drunk. Furthermore, a woman who only weighs 110 pounds can get drunk _really_ fast. And the man she outdrank was probably not a virgin drinker himself.
My favored explanation takes into account the fact that she's not human, but a Tetragene. Whether you want to figure in a higher proportion of alcohol-digesting enzymes in their digestive systems, or simply being less susceptible to alcohol in the first place, it's not a far-fetched idea. On a side note, Ernest's favourite drink is Hasuku Tea, which also alcoholic. Maybe Tetragenes just like alcohol to begin with.
*** She's HOT
Well, she IS. Even without the gun. Various people in the game seem to think so too. There are people in Cross who can be quoted as saying Everybody was looking at her legs, but that woman had three eyes...' (I would be very interested in knowing whether the Japanese version said something different instead of legs^^) or Now that you mention it, there was a very sexy woman going into the castle just now'.
Additionally, in the Battle Arena group fight, the announcer calls her a man, and she points out her shapely legs' and the crowd cheers in approval (I laughed my head off when that happened the first time. Actually, the crowd cheers for anybody, but it was timed WAY too well).
Additionally, another point should be made in support of this. Paint pictures of everybody. Then sell them. They're worth different amounts of money, you'll notice. Since realizing this, I haven't gotten around to painting everyone's portrait, but look at these prices (With tool knowledge at level 10, no IDAll).
Rena: approx 2000
That's right. Female portraits are worth more than male pictures. And Opera's picture is worth more than any other female's. Was the pricing determined by a couple of perverted men? Who can say? But it's food for thought. And even if she's not as proud about it as Celine, that fact remains that the other three females don't hold a candle to her where measurements are concerned.
*** A Betting Person
Not very prominent, but it's definitely there. The PA in Salva where her and Claude bet on whether a man or woman will come out of the store is the easiest to find. You'll hear her mentioning something about making a bet when she knows what the outcome will be. You can also hear her say "You'll die! Wanna bet?". And if you arrange things so that her and Claude get together, the beachfront scene before storming Fienal the second time has her and Claude making a 'bet' concerning their romantic future together. Opera can be quoted as saying "How silly of me to make a bet when I know what the outcome will be..."
*** Cares for Ernest
That seems obvious, doesn't it? But in what way, exactly? Just a crush? Obsession? Is it even returned by Ernest? This is rather interesting, actually. Let me point out various things throughout the game.
The fact that they're close can be seen in both their starting romantic ratings (Opera->Ernest =8, Ernest->Opera =7). Once you've found them both, they can be found together in almost every city. And didn't she chase after him in the first place? This stuff is fairly obvious.
When you meet up with Ernest at the Hoffman ruins, Ernest/Ghost starts out by saying a whole load of (albeit cheesy) romantic stuff, and Opera says that Ernest would never say things like that. But Ernest/Ghost talks about how Opera _wanted_ to be loved by Ernest. But Opera still seemed able to blast Ernest when he got too close.
If you _don't_ find Ernest, there are two PA's between Opera and Claude, both of which Opera is very downcast about having not found Ernest. The bar scene in Central City shows her as being almost brokenhearted over his absence. On the other hand, the PA between her and Claude in North City seems to show her already considering chasing after Claude. (Author: *BARF*)
It's not as if you _ever_ see Opera and Ernest kissing or hugging. No baby Tetragenes in any endings. Not exactly a tear-jerking reunion when you find Ernest at the Hoffman ruins. Usually they just tend to hang around together. And while Opera occasionally refers to Ernest as her boyfriend (before you actually find him, never when he's around, I think), I can't recall having seen Ernest call her anything of the sort. The ending with them together is rather devoid of any real romance. And while Opera is 23 years old, Ernest is 35. Who can say?
There is a PA between her and Rena in Arlia where Opera talks about the possibility of Claude possibly buying Rena jewellery if given a little prompting. Opera emphasizes the importance of taking action while you're young, since when you get older, other things start to get in the way...
In the ending between Bowman and Ernest, Ernest's dialogue supports the notion of a student-teacher sort of angle, although Ernest doesn't seem to give much suggestion on what he thinks about the whole issue (He doesn't seem too impressed with Opera's younger sister either, not without reason).
So what exactly is one to make of her feelings for Ernest? I'm not 100% sure, to be honest. Her feelings for him seem to be somewhere between a very strong student-teacher friendship and a light romance. Things could probably go either way with various forms of prodding, and that's the approach I'm taking for my fanfic featuring her.
Read through this all? Have things to add? Unanswered questions? Feel free to send them my way, and I'll either add them to this FAQ or see if I can answer them.
The most up-to-date version of this FAQ can be found at
V1.0 - FAQ created and posted.
V1.1 - Observations concerning the Opera-Rena PA in Arlia. Drinking section expanded. Musical issue added.
V1.2 - Observations concerning Opera-Bowman ending, and Ernest-Bowman ending added.
IcyBrian's Fanfic Resource -- Star Ocean 2
IcyBrian's Fanfic Resource
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