What would you say are the major themes in Abyss?
- "Fuck destiny, right in the face." -The Score is a pretty big element in Abyss’ story, and from the very beginning it’s talked about and debated as a result. Given that it’s basically a play-by-play of the planet and every inhabitant in it, and given that people faithfully follow it through to the end (and that the world religion is dedicated to upholding it), it raises questions of whether or not it’s really destiny if people make it happen, and whether or not knowing every detail of your future is a good thing. In the end, that gets settled (and they decide to stop Score readings), but then the real question comes in: whether or not people will still be on that one singular path even if they don’t know about it. Team Free Will (a.k.a. Luke’s party) insists that the Score/planet’s memory is only one future out of thousands, and that people can decide their fates. Team Fate (a.k.a. Van and his God-Generals, as well as Mohs, but in a different light) insist that the Score/Planet’s Memory is absolute (for the originals at least). So, in that sense (rambling explanation through this is), free will/fate/destiny are major themes in Abyss, and that question is played out and battled with until the very end.
- "Learn to love thyself" - This theme is played out largely through Luke, as he struggles to find his place in the world, discover his own sense of self-worth, and comes to grips with what it means to be a replica (which also ties into “What measure is a non-human?” as a bullet point on this theme), but you also see it played out in Ion, Sync, and even Natalia, Asch, etc. After all, this is the “Meaning of Birth RPG.” It’s pretty clear that Luke has depression, even before Akzeriuth, and his battle with it is constant throughout the game, manifesting in suicidal ideation at Luke’s lowest point (and Sync has suicidal ideation throughout the entirety of the game, what with his “I’m empty trash and so I’m going to kill myself and take the world with me” viewpoint, and Ion isn’t much better with his “there are tons of replacements for me” viewpoint either). Luke learning to accept and respect himself is a huge point in the game, and the same can be said for Natalia accepting her place as princess even if she’s a commoner, Asch finally accepting himself as who he is right before he dies, Tear becoming more comfortable with showing her true feelings to those around her, Guy finally letting go of his revenge and turning his back on Van’s plan, etc. Self-worth/self-value is a huge theme in this game, all over the place, and especially with Luke.
- "Rocks fall, everyone dies" - a.k.a. coping with death and loss. We have Van’s entire plan being started by the fall of Hod and the loss of his and Tear’s mother, we have Guy’s revenge motivated from the loss of his family, we have Largo’s motivations in the loss of his wife and daughter, Arietta’s in the loss of the Isle of Feres and Ion, Ion’s death which hits Anise and Luke and the rest of the party, the old people of Sheridan and Belkend, Aslan Frings, everyone in Akzeriuth, the little boy who sank into the miasma because of it … the list goes on and on. A lot of people die in this game, but their deaths are always touched upon and grieved by someone, and as a result of the characters learning to cope and accept that loss of life, that theme is explored. It should also be mentioned here that taking life and the repercussions of it are a major theme, from Luke being horrified over the prospect and having nightmares because of it to Jade coming to realize what that truly means.
- "What is not victory is yet revenge" - There’s Guy’s revenge against the Fabre clan, Arietta’s revenge against Anise, Dist’s revenge journal … again, this is one that comes up a lot. But while revenge itself is played up a lot, so, too, is the idea that revenge never amounts to anything. Guy gives up his revenge. Arietta’s thirst for vengeance gets her killed. Dist’s vengeance never works out and he just ends up in prison, etc. Still, I thought it was worth mentioning for that reason, because like with the other themes, a very clear message is put forward.
Those are the major themes, I’d say, but of course there are others, too. I just feel that screwing destiny, finding self-worth, the meaning of death (in addition to birth), and revenge are the themes that stand out most prominently. I hope this wasn’t too rambly!
Tales of the Abyss? Pfft, more like Tales of the Abyss of Horrifying Despair My Heart Sank Into As I Finished the Game
drawing has been ………tough lately……. but here are pics of my anime waifu + those others guys