About the original Ion
Miyajima: The real Ion was a child born from peasants in Markuth. When he was born, they foretold his score and it says he will become the Fonemaster in the future, that is why his parents allowed them to take him away to Daart. While he was during his Fonemaster training, he realized that his lifespan is merely 12 fleeting years, and the fact that after his past over, it will be quite awhile before the next Fonemaster arrive, this caused him to have a rational yet empty personality. That is when Van took his chance and talked about the 7th Fonestone and the destruction of mankind, and he started sowing the seeds of hatred within Ion. It was the first time that Van’s vengeful idea was seen after he gained the trust of Ion to manipulate him. As a result, Ion started having an idea that, “If the destruction of mankind is still going to go as the score has predicted, then why don’t we use the Replicas to build a new world”. This ideology that “if something is going to be destroyed sooner or later, then what’s wrong with letting it destroyed sooner and let the new take over the old and create a new world”.
Miyajima: As for the encounter with Arietta, it happened when Ion was around 5-6. He knew that there’s a girl who can communicate with monsters from Van, and Van started to let Ion meet with this girl. Ion realized that Arietta who has been living in the wild lives more like a human in reality than those pretentious people around him; so he got Arietta to become his Guardian and trained her along with Van. Though other people are giving her weird looks, Ion didn’t change his gentle attitude towards her, and he even allowed her monsters to roam freely in and out of Daart. Because of the kindness she received from Van and Ion, she sworn an oath that she will remain loyal to them. To Ion that has an impending death waiting for him, I think Arietta’s existence is not only a good evidence of the force of life but also a comfort.
About the Replica Ion
Miyajima: The Ion that we see during the game was born in the year that the original died, which is ND2015. Not only did the original Ion helped Van with his scheme, he also brought forth the idea of a puppet Fonemaster. So that they could rear the Replica Ion into a person with mild and gentle personality and place him on top of those reformers to stop the fierce disputes within the Lorelei; as well, the Replica is made so that the one who is actually in charge of Lorelei will become Van. It’s just that they must lie to others in the Lorelei about this whole fiasco, so they bribed Mohs and made a contract with him verbally that the power to control the Lorelei will be given to him. When that was done, they swapped everyone who used to serve the original Ion (Arietta included) to cover up when Replica Ion replaces the original.
Miyajima: By the way, Jade has never met the original Ion. Though those reformers that Jade had contact with lost their ground when the Replica Ion replaces the original, they did managed to introduce Jade to the Replica Ion. Jade did feel that there is a difference between the Ion that he heard and the Ion that he actually came into contact with, it wasn’t until after meeting Luke that the uncertainty he has turned into a firm belief [that Ion has been replaced].
Ion’s tears and the wrong beliefs
Miyajima: The tears that Ion has for Sync when he jumped into the core is a result of his unconscious emotions. Growing up as a puppet Fonemaster with many rules, it was the first time that he sees another existence that is also a Replica of the original Ion. After seeing Sync bantering about himself as a garbage and fell into the core, Ion realized for the first time that he keeps on asking himself unconsciously about his own existence, and he also found his answer.
Miyajima: Since the Replica Ion knows that he is a replacement for the original Ion, this also means that when he dies, he will be replaced; therefore, he would rather sacrifice himself than to see himself being useless. This is because Replica Ion always thinks he was born to replace the original Ion, and such is the meaning of his birth. But after he looked at Sync, he realized they share something in common. That is, to be able to live like “himself”, but he suppressed this idea, because that would be ferocious. At the end, he did manage to find out that he lied to himself all along for being original Ion’s replacement. That’s why he said, “I held the wrong beliefs all along.”
Ion and Luke’s encounter
Miyajima: To Ion, not only is Luke his first fellow Replica [other than Sync], but he is also the first person that can let Ion to face him with attitudes that he didn’t even notice himself. Of course, Luke is just a very rude wealthy kid, but I believe this is something new to Ion. Though not too soon Ion got kidnapped by the Oracles and realized Luke is a Replica, he could deeply understand that there isn’t any Replica who wouldn’t fret about their own existence when their original still exists. Therefore he kept it as a secret from Luke. Maybe Ion is the only person who could truly understand Luke from the beginning. This can be said the same for Ion. The fact that he sees Luke tried his best to live resonated with the “I want to be acknowledged” desire within Ion. I think the way that Luke leads his life is also a hope for Ion. Because Ion and Luke crossed path, that is why Ion cried as Sync tossed himself into the core.
The point that sparked the Replica Scheme
Miyajima: The key that caused Van to carry out his Replica scheme was to find out Hod will be destroyed on the 7th Fonestone found in the undergrounds of Hod. Although there are times that Van did want to overwrite the score written on the 7th Fonestone, this isn’t the major thing that caused him to commit something like this. Yet, knowing that in reality, the people and the land of Hod is about to be abandoned, and the fact that people in Yuria City doesn’t care about the future of this planet. For that [the fact that people of Yuria City doesn’t give a damn], he was convinced that people are poisoned by the scores and they can no longer be saved. As one of the descendants of the Fende family, he knows better than anyone how the scores will fulfill itself. Because of that, he theorized and concluded that as long as the originals are still living on this world, the score will be fulfilled. He planned to suicide with the 6 generals of Oracle after the plan succeeds. Which is why he tried to get Tear and Guy these two important people on his side to share the precious moments with him. He truly believes that with his own hands, he can let them die a painless death. To a certain extent, it’s a special feeling that Van has for them. It’s just as Tear left the Yuria City as his enemy, and Guy became Luke’s comrade…… This is really painful to Van because he neither wants to kill them sooner than he had planned, nor to see them die a painful death. From this point of view, I guess I could understand why he took such an extreme approach to this matter.
Miyajima: However, if one were to say that Van loses all the humane in being a human, that isn’t true. Not only did he protects Tear with his life in Yuria City, but also planted the Celenia flowers for his sister who likes cute things. Before he came into contact with the technique of Fomicry, he spent a lot of time thinking about Tear’s future [in a good way].
Miyajima: When Asch was still “Luke”, he was given lectures on how to rule the country. Focusing his studies on how to become a great leader, he was a noble of the noble that has a strong sense of hierarchy. Since he has a troth with Natalia at the same time when he was born, and the fact that he is also entitled to the Kimlasca throne, he has a very strong sense of identity that he will become the ruler of his country. Looking at Asch, it also evoked the responsibility within Natalia that she must do something that suits her identity as a future ruler of Kimlasca.
Miyajima: I think Guy’s feelings towards the royal couple is probably, “I don’t care what ruler you are, even if you guys look clean on the outside, you guys are still the enemies who destroyed my homeland, your parents are murderers”. Guy acts as though he follows every single order from them, but deep inside, he wishes that he could kill them when they’re asleep. The thing that changed Guy’s idea is when Asch was replaced by Luke. Guy saw that Luke can’t even accomplish the most basic action – walking, he sympathizes with Luke because it saddens Guy to see that Luke doesn’t have the venerate of a normal person. As well, he sympathizes with the sadness of Natalia, and that is how Guy changed his mind.
From Van’s kidnapping and on
Miyajima: Everything started when Van acts as Asch’s mentor and got access to the mansion and gained the trust of everyone. Because Asch desires the love from his father, he tried to earn it from Van, and that is how Van took advantage of Asch. Since Asch’s emotional basis was controlled by Van, so Van set forth his kidnapping scheme.
Miyajima: Originally, Asch had planned to rule the country of Kimlesca, so when he got kidnapped, he was furious about what Van did and he tried to escape and return home to where he belongs. Yet, Van locked him up in a room and took away Asch’s ability to judge. Only from time to time Van will give Asch a little piece of information that talks about the house of Fabre and let Asch realized that he has been replaced by a Replica. Then he purposefully let Asch out to go back to his home and to see that the Replica is living happily with his family. None of the people who he has lived with in the past 10 years realized that he has been replaced, yet they all believed Luke was him. Van coaxed Asch that to those people, such is the meaning of Asch to them. They replicated Asch because they thought he was supposed to be dead, and although Asch’s existence meant nothing to his family and friends, it meant a lot to Van. At the end, Asch was finally convinced and believes that “everything is the fault of the Replica and those who don’t understand the truth”.
The heart and mind of Asch the Bloody
Miyajima: When Asch is in Lorelei, he was given a special position that rarely appears in front of others except for the 6 generals. This situation was specially created so that through isolation, Asch could continue to trust and rely solely on Van. Though Asch got brainwashed by Van, deep within himself, he still acts like a noble from time to time. And even though Van didn’t want to evoke Asch’s noble attitudes by hiding the truth of the scheme from him, Asch is no fool. When he observes the 6 generals, he realized that something is wrong. Asch is constantly attacked by two contradicting ideas that, he tries to maintain the feelings with the man who claimed to need him, as well as the doubts towards this man who caused him to end up in a state like this. Until the very end, Asch was struggling with his ambivalence.
His contradictory attitudes toward Luke
Miyajima: Asch always sees Luke as an inferior existence. At the same time, the fact that Luke is his Replica and nothing ever goes right for Luke [even though he could accomplish them] makes Luke feel ill at ease, yet somewhere within Asch it makes Asch feel better also because of this. [Though this is also what Asch feels from time to time.] This is all because he considers Luke as dreck and it is Asch’s responsibility to come out and save the day sooner or later because he’s the better of the two. On the other hand, though Asch feels inferior because his existence was taken over by Luke, he chose to abandon the identity of “Luke” just to take things off his mind. By abandoning his “Luke” identity, Asch received comfort by minimizing his inferiority and his victimization.
Miyajima: When he calmed down, he started to feel that “a dreck is a dreck, but it looks like he’s been working hard, I wonder if I should acknowledge him” kind of feeling. Even though he still belittles Luke, but Luke said something that makes Luke himself proud. If you look at this from the standpoint of Luke, I guess that may be obvious, but from Asch’s point of view, it’s like “what kinda reaction is this, acknowledgements from me aren’t that often, you know”. Furthermore, because Luke deprived him of his existence, that’s why Asch sometimes pities himself as the victim. Yet, he doesn’t want to admit the fact that he is the victim. This is also one of the many contradictions of Asch. His grumpiness must’ve been the fluctuation between different emotions.
Luke’s growth, Asch’s determination
Miyajima: Just when Asch recognizes Luke as an existence inferior to him, Luke also confirmed himself and where he stands. During the dispute between the original and the replica, Luke actually surpassed the bond [problems] of original/replica. Asch felt surprised that Luke who was supposed to be always behind him actually surpassed him a lot. It was then that Asch felt he never had any improvements, he just stood there, standing on the same spot, yet he still cannot acknowledge Luke. [This is the part where it is related to the last dungeon in Abyss, the Eldrant.] Though I think everyone already understands, but to Asch, he is trying to end every single one of the contradictory thoughts that he had in mind. In a sense, his mental growth probably stopped at the age of 10 ever since the day that he was kidnapped. And in order to begin the flow of time again, it is the scene where Asch acknowledge that he is “Luke fon Fabre”.
About Miyajima Takumi
Yoshidzumi: Miyajima and I, we’re both sadistic. (Laughs) We tried our best to make the story so that players will go “What? How could this be?” She [Miyajima] has the ability to write characters that can attract the players, and this can be seen from Symphonia. This is why I ask Miyajima to handle the plot of Abyss.
Yoshidzumi: On the other hand, we won’t put in scenes where the players will only cry or be shocked. We tried to interpret the dialogues on a scene to scene, character to character basis. That’s why I asked her to make it natural. In the Zaleho volcano scene where Ion dies, we also paid special attention to what Ion will do and what others will react.
About the two opposing forces in Abyss
Yoshidzumi: During the creation of the new era, Yuria foretold all the scores and she warned people to prevent the destruction of mankind. But after her death, this score became a disastrous Closed Score. And no one knows when the Lorelei started to become a religious group that will only follow the teachings and scores of Yuria. Even to Mohs himself, he doesn’t even know what will be the future that awaits him. At first, the two opposing forces brought forth by this title was whether if one should follow the score or not; but as the story progresses and the Planet Score was revealed, the axis gradually shifts to how to stop the score from fulfilling itself. Even though there is a conversation between Lorelei at the end of the game, but in reality, the future that Yuria foretold was changed by Luke’s existence.
The real answer to the ending
Yoshidzumi: After the victory from the last battle, Tear whispered “I love you” to Luke. We made this scene because we want to bring out the feelings that Tear has towards Luke, but at the end, it became a story of love between two people. For that reason, we even consider to have “Luke” being hugged by Tear at the Tataru Valley…etc. On the other hand, because that didn’t work out too well with the explaination we have for the ending, we abandoned it. Though this is how it’s said, it was the same in Symphonia, where it ends before we explain it. As for the real answer, it is up to the players to decide, what they have hoped and what they have wished that will happen after the ending, is the answer to the ending.