We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.
Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers!
We saved this piece for a very special occassion, the release of Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition! Today’s piece on Shulk and Rex comes courtesy of Lodestar_Valor, a fantastic blogger and newcomer to our collabs. Lodestar focuses on the fun of video games, lending to their header quote from Satoru Iwata: “Above all, video games are meant to just be one thing: Fun for everyone.”
We recommend pairing this piece with Shoot the Rookie’s entry on Reyn from yesterday. It’s been very nice to have this Xenoblade block here during an important release window.
Lodestar, thank you for the excellent contribution. Take it away!
Hello, all! As sort of an introduction, I first played Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (Shulk’s story) in 2015 and the sequel (Rex’s story) in 2017. I also first finished Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna – The Golden Country in 2019 and own every Xenoblade Chronicles game so far. The journeys of the characters within these games have given me great strength, and I want to tell you about that strength. Please be aware that I also mention friends of Shulk and Rex that help define each of them. The friend that Shulk seems to be most defined by, Reyn, also helped define Pix1001, so be sure to read their piece part in The Characters that Define Us as well. In addition, my own piece was originally written before 2020, so I have little knowledge of the extra content of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition. As excited as I am for that, it doesn’t apply to me quite yet, so this post won’t feature any content that is specific to it.
For what does apply to me, and these characters (along with their friends) that have helped define me, let’s get on with that story!
Between Shulk, Rex, and me, we all have the desire to protect people who seem to need such protection. Realistically, this is certainly more relevant in the context of Shulk or Rex than myself. They both have a significant amount of power, and therefore responsibility, that I don’t have to worry about. Even knowing that, there are times where I feel like there are a large number of things to be concerned about. There is something I need to remember regarding this, though. In a similar vein to Shulk and Rex each having many trusted allies in their journeys, I don’t have to carry every burden, worry about being there to protect everyone, or anything of that scale.
In all of our lives, including Shulk’s, Rex’s, those of their friends, mine, and very likely yours and those of everyone we know, we go through times that absolutely tear us apart. For Shulk it was what happened to his childhood friend and the various futures he couldn’t change. For Rex it was the death of an ally and helping his friends bear their own struggles; this includes his Blade, the Aegis, who destroyed a Titan where people lived in trying to save it. This was devastating for the kingdom and had the Aegis feeling extremely guilty and dealing with great loss. For me, all it really has been is parting ways with friends whose friendships I protected and put a lot of time and effort into, but they didn’t. This is a small problem in the grand scheme of things (I would think), but it bothers me every day when my mind goes back again and again to each time it has happened.
But if there’s even one thing that Shulk, Rex, their friends, and all of their journeys taught me, it’s that while the past has shaped the present, there are several things that still can be said about it. “What’s done is done.” is something Reyn, a friend of Shulk’s, would say to him. Similar things were also said by Rex to the Aegis, and by my friends, family, self, and video games of all things, to me. I need to start taking others’ and my own advice.
With past events still affecting me the way that they do, it’s hard to take all of this advice and not to want whoever may have caused them to feel some of what I feel. I have to remember that while the desire for this is a human emotion, humans aren’t perfect. As Vandham of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 said to Rex, “What people call justice? It’s just an excuse to fight!… As for who’s right and who’s wrong, no one knows for sure.” Rex would say something that also applies, “We need to find a way forward, within [this] world!” And if Shulk were an IRL friend of mine, he wouldn’t stop short of getting between me and my problem, and not getting out of the way until I learn to move on. This is similar to what he did with another friend of his and that friend’s desire for revenge.
And my family — represented by Shulk’s friend Reyn once again — would say “You see a Vision you don’t like, we’ll change the future together!” meaning I should talk about my problems with them and work along with them to find solutions.
As for what the future holds, I will do everything in my power to metaphorically be like Shulk and find the True Monado. What this means is that I’ll walk my own path even if I have to find or even make it myself first!
I will also do what I can to protect my true friendships and help my true friends, but also remember that if I can’t do it alone, I have people to back me up. This is my Aegis.
With the Monado’s power and the Aegis’s protection, I trust that I’ll have a future where I can someday look back and smile. Why? I will have accomplished much of my own future and feel gratitude toward those who traveled with me on my journey!
Adventure Map! *FINISHING UP!*