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Alethea & Athena
A story of grape jello (not really) 
14th-Feb-2017 05:54 pm
Today was one of those days where we just didn't want to work, so it's a good thing we were on a series that we like a lot. We got to the part with Dionysus's song, which may or may not be why all we wanted to do today was play KamiAso...but it probably wasn't, because we've been wanting to ditch work for weeks. But! it did reminds us how much we like KamiAso songs, so we've been listening to them most of the day. The Takeru song they released for the anime doesn't really sound very Takeru-ish, but it is really pretty. He's played by the same guy as Yuri in Yuri on Ice, too.

Anyway, it reminds us of when we first started working on Noragami, and we didn't know what would be appropriate, and we didn't have the anime soundtrack yet, so we pretty much just listened to KamiAso nonstop. It worked, because it involves mythology, and it has the voices of Yato, Yukine, and Daikoku.

So today I was finally going to talk about Dionysus's story. Maybe I should start calling him Didi like Apollo does, because it's a little easier to type. We never did find out the true identity of the grapevine, but that's just because we went with the non-romantic ending. Or at least, we think it was the non-romantic ending. There were parts where we weren't quite sure how it was going to go, but Yui didn't end up with him (or pining after him, as is the case in the one Hades ending), so I'm going to go ahead and say non-romantic.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, you have to get to know Dionysus! Zeus and Thoth both provided very helpful plot devices (deus ex machina, you might say) to that end. First, Zeus says, "By the way, you have to have clubs." So then they have all the same clubs from the first game, and Dionysus, god of fertility, is in the gardening club. And then everybody's trying to convince Yui to join his club, and she doesn't know what to do, so Thoth comes in and says, "You're in the gardening club. Keep an eye on the drunk." I may have mentioned this in reviewing the previous game, but the fact that Thoth has a nickname (for lack of a better term) for everyone is one of my favorite things about him. He never calls anybody by name except for Yui and Anubis.

So now Yui and Didi are in the gardening club together, and Yui learns that this grapevine is Didi's very special friend that follows him wherever he goes. That's pretty impressive for a plant. But they're just planting flowers and stuff, so that's not very eventful until! the student council decides to have an event. And Balder is like, "It's fall. We need to eat meat! Barbecue!" and Tsukito is like, "Takeru said he wanted to do something with soba," and Apollo's like, "No fair, if you get to eat all your favorite foods, then I want oranges!" And they get into a big fight until Yui's like, "Um...why not do all three...?" and they're all like, "We can do that?"

So they had a harvest festival, and the gods all divided up by mythology to set up their booths for the festival, but Yui isn't a god, so Balder was hoping she would join the Norse gods but Takeru came along and said, "Shut up, she's Japanese. She's with us." And before Balder could get a word in edgewise, Thoth came along and said, "She's with the Greeks. Keep an eye on the drunk."

The Greeks decided to have fruit-based desserts for their booth, and Apollo and Hades got together with Hestia (who was also basically the lunch lady, apparently; you never actually see her (and Hermes runs the student store, but you never see him, either)) while Didi and Yui went off as a club to tend to the grapevine. And Yui was like, "Hey, I think we should use grapes for our booth!" and Didi was like, "You like me (grapes, yar), you really like me!" (Sorry; I wanted to get the grapes in there, but every time I accidentally type "me" instead of "my" (in a translation), we both say, "yar" because it's piratical. Yar.) And even though Apollo made orange tarts and Hades made strawberry cream puffs, they decided that Didi's grapes were so delicious, they would serve them as-is.

But then! dun dun DUN! There was a big storm the before they were going to harvest the grapes! And nobody thought to go ask Zeus to, like, stop the storm. They didn't think to get a tarp or anything to put over them, either. They just went inside like, "Oh no, it's raining; let's go inside, I sure hope the grapes are okay." Hours later, "I can't sleep. Oh no, the grapes!" And of course they were all ruined. So Didi was going to give up on the whole thing because he's a big fat quitter (like seriously, such a quitter, the best quitter), but Yui was determined, so she saved all the ones that she could and then she passed out because it was raining super hard and she was out there for hours.

I think I might be presenting too many details, so hopefully at least I'm doing it in a non-boring way. Anyway, while Yui slept off her oncoming cold, Didi, touched by her determination, followed her lead, picked up the grapes and made jello with them. Grape jello, like they had in the Jungle Savate at the Noragami cafe...yummm... And that, plus a brief demonstration of his booth layout skills, showed Yui that he can really do stuff when he tries.

But! when Didi went off by himself, because he's not just a quitter he's also a loner, during the after party, we decided not to stay up late with him, and so on we went to the (presumably) non-romantic storyline, where Zeus decided to change things up again by having an art show. Each set of gods would paint a mural to be put on display, and all of their graduations depended on the success of their murals! Oh and for some reason, even though Yui and Didi got really close during the festival, he was acting like his old aloof self again, which made her sad. But when the art assignment was made, he was like, "Okay, whatevs." And they decided to do a picture of Mt. Olympus, and Apollo would do the art, and Hades would make the picture frame (and help color, I think?), and Didi would just...like...help, or something.

But Zeus had other ideas! He stole Apollo from the Greek team with the excuse that, as the student body president, he had to organize the art show, so now he was in an administrative position, and now Didi had to do all the drawing, Zeus's orders. And he was commanded--commanded!--to draw the Twelve Olympians on the mountain. And he was like, "Okay, whatevs." So he drew for a while and said, "Okay, I'm done." And Yui was like, "Wow, that's really good! But wait...there are only eleven gods here." So they took it to Zeus for approval, and he was like, "I'm not even talking to you. Go finish it."

So what went wrong? Dionysus has a massive inferiority complex. It's yuge. Because his mother was human, and he had to earn his spot in Mt. Olympus, which is something he always dreamed of as a kid, but when he finally got there, the other gods were all soooooo much cooler than he was, that it was set in his mind that he was an eternal failure. And I was like, "Maybe if you'd stop quitting every time the going gets mildly rough, you wouldn't feel like such a failure at life."

So they sat him in front of the mural and waited for him to finish it, but pretty much all they got was a demonstration of Didi writhing in agony as he struggled with his inner demons, and then just scribbled black paint all over the spot he was supposed to be, and was all, "There! That should be good enough! That's as good as I'll ever be!" I really had to wonder about this, because, like, was he afraid he'd be struck by lightning or something for his hubris/dishonesty if he put himself there? He was officially one of the Twelve Olympians, and I can understand not feeling like he deserved the title, but...I don't know.

It's just something I've never really related to. I mean, you guys have all seen us angst about oh no are we really good translators we do everything wrong boo hoo hoo, but through it all, you still see that we have major egos, right?

Anyway, Yui went and talked to him, and he was all, "I'm not gonna fix it!" and she was like, "Okay, but just so you know, I believe in you." And she went and scraped all the black paint off the painting, and when she was getting up to leave, there was Didi, touched by her...um...faithfulness? I'm not sure what noun goes here. Devotion? Anyway, he was touched. So he agreed to paint himself, and Yui was like, "Why don't you paint the god you aspire to being?" And he's like, "Yeah, okay, I'll try that!" and Zeus was like, "Bzzt, wrong." So now Dionysus doesn't get to graduate. The end.

Or is it! Yui convinces Dionysus to ask Zeus for another chance, and Zeus is like, "Okay, fine. I'll give you one last test. You know that grapevine you're hiding from everybody? It's kind of dying (oops!), so if you can bring it back to life, then you pass." So they go to the forest and oh no! the grapevine is dying! and all of the trees around it are dying! and there's a massive thunderstorm that seems to have a mind of its own, which is dead set on attacking the grapevine! Aaaaaahhh!!!

This is where Didi was really stupid. He was like, "I should have known--Zeus was the one keeping the grapevine alive all along, and now he wants it dead. I wouldn't be able to revive it even with my full power (remember, they all have their god powers revoked while they're at school), so forget about it now. It's fate. This vine was destined to die by Zeus's hands." Way to help your mom, dude. (I'm still convinced it's his mom.) That's when Yui got upset, too, but she couldn't hit him because somebody had to shield the grapevine from the onslaught of lightning. Way to protect your mortal almost girlfriend, dude. But anyway, he was so moved to see her willing to sacrifice her safety, and struck by the horror of losing the vine and his not-girlfriend, that he decided it was better to do something than nothing, so he jumped in the way to protect them both, and then his power-limiting fetter came off and he had his half-god powers back, and he saved the day! Tadah!

And he finally realized that it's not about labels, it's about being who you are, and he was fine the way he is. And we were like, "Finally, ya idjut!" And then they planned a party for graduation, and everyone was so impressed with Didi's newfound confidence. And then they all graduated and said goodbye, and went on their merry ways. The end.

Until we start over and take a different path.

Today I'm thankful for getting to hear Dionysus's song (he's played by the new Tuxedo Mask's brother!), a mythology monologue featuring Anubis, getting to listen to KamiAso songs half the day, finishing our second draft of Missions of Love, and grape jello.
14th-Feb-2017 11:45 pm (UTC)
Wow, so Dionysus has an inferiority complex too? While reading this I was thinking "Thoth should be calling Dionysus the emo instead of the drunk." But then I remembered there already is a character whom Thoth refers to as the emo--Hades. Hades may not technically have an inferiority complex, but his "I am cursed and everyone who gets close to me will be cursed, too" complex certainly makes him spend most of his time moping and avoiding other people the way you describe Dionysus doing in this storyline.

So was Dionysus one of the four newly datable characters in this version of the game? He sure sounds a lot more complex here than in the anime--which, if I remember correctly, basically portrayed him as likably laid back, but too obsessed with wine and drinking to take the initiative of interacting much with Yui or anybody else about ninety percent of the time. Of course, this could have been merely an artistic decision on the anime producers' part, rather than an attempt to reflect what may or may not have been Dionysus' more limited role in the original game.
15th-Feb-2017 02:09 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, the fun of otome games is that they all have some kind of dark past. It's usually not so much about what your potential boyfriend can do for you, but about how much he needs you (to help him see the good in the world, in himself, etc.). Like, oh my goodness, Apollo's angst. If you want to read more about Hades's issues, we wrote about them here.

Anyway, we're not a fan of the Crunchyroll translations (mainly because we came up with some of our own before we saw the anime, and we liked them better; it's an occupational hazard), so we would have translated Thoth's nickname for Hades as "angst boy" or "emo boy" if you're going to be picky about the actual definition of "angst." (We have a friend who speaks German.)

Dionysus is definitely more complex when you follow his storyline, but that's how it is with all the guys. These games are done in a way that you really don't learn a whole lot about any of the characters unless he's the one you're actively pursuing. In the rest of the storylines (and indeed, in the entire original game), Dionysus comes across as exactly like you saw him in the anime. He was also the most level-headed of the Greek gods (he still showed some signs of that in his own story, unless it came to himself).
16th-Feb-2017 12:31 am (UTC)
It took me a minute to get the me/yar thing but once I did it was funny so thank you for explaining :) But then I got hung up on how grapes and strawberries are not anywhere near the same season for ripening (i dunno about oranges, but they seem like the wrong climate for either grapes or strawberries). Sorry, being an eat-local hipster there. Anyway. (but fresh, ripe grapes really are amazing just as they are, so I approve of their initial plan to just serve them as-is. I'm not quite sure about the jello alternative but I guess they were making do with limited resources. I probably would've tried jelly, though.)

I'm brain-tired so I don't have much more to say but yes, the details you include and the way you write these is entertaining!! I just reminded myself to look up the character design for Didi because when I think of Dionysus I always picture the dude in Fantasia. That's not so endearing, haha.
16th-Feb-2017 03:03 am (UTC)
Don't worry; the only fruit they actually harvested from plants growing in this school dimension was the grapes. And they're gods, so they can make anything ripe in any season they want...or at least Dionysus can, since he's a god of agriculture. I really don't know how Apollo or Hades got their fruit.

The reason they had to make jello instead (and I knew this was an important detail even as I wrote the report, but by the time I realized it, I felt like I already had too many details for readers to keep track of) is that, since they waited so long to harvest the grapes, the storm easily knocked them off the vine, so when Yui was rescuing grapes, she was rescuing them from the ground, and most of them had been smashed by giant raindrops. So they had to process the food in some way or it would just be grape mush. And if they'd made jelly, they would have had to make something to put it on. But they did use the grapes that completely survived the storm as decorative garnish.

Thanks for the reassurance about the report! And oh my goodness, yeah, about the Dionysus in Fantasia! Nowhere near as attractive as Didi. More like your jolly, good-natured...old...uncle.
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