You get a message telling you when the Soul Eater goes up to L4, and the epilogue contains a clue to the correlation between character deaths and the Soul Eater powering up. It was probably my third playthrough before I put it together completely, and the revelation horrified me. I suddenly felt bad about using the rune.

Let's see if our friends like ○∆□☆'s fake name as much as you guys did!

Yeesh, tough crowd.

After you, Schabibblin Rineypants III!

Kwaba is held by Ain Gide, one of the six Imperial Generals, and the fear is that he knows ○∆□☆'s face well enough to identify him on sight. ○∆□☆ attempts to thwart this by walking backwards through the checkpoint, but Ain Gide refuses to be fooled.

Fortunately Gremio springs into action, pretending(?) to be angry at ○∆□☆ for always causing trouble, and even offering to lop off his head right there and then. Brilliant performance? Or years of pent up manservant rage bubbling up? With Gremio, it's impossible to tell.

What's great about this line is that ○∆□☆ is wearing the same thing he wore back when he was Kraze's lackey in Imperial service.

This is either an indication that Ain Gide wasn't fooled at all and is just letting me go anyway (perhaps because of his friendship with Teo), or it's a reference to ○∆□☆ supposedly being Scholablabba Reinenheimen III's son. Since I've never NOT picked Schklockayazza Ribbenflabben IV as my fake name I've never had the chance to find out, really. And since I've saved over this game already, now I never will.

Outside, Gremio throws himself at ○∆□☆'s mercy.

○∆□☆ has none.

And so Gremio kills himself right here outside Kwaba, and now I can't get all 108 stars. Say, who's that guy standing against the wall there?

It's Chandler! I get the funny feeling that someday very soon his dream will come true. Not sure why, just something my gut, you know?

The walk from Kwaba to Seika is a long and arduous one, as you can see.

One chore you have to take care of upon finding a new town (and, as far as the game is concerned, Seika is the "first" town) is visit all the shops, even if you don't intend to buy anything. Just browsing in a shop adds that shop's inventory to the ones at your (eventual) castle. As a result, everything you can possibly buy in the game ends up right in your HQ. Later games in the series counteract this a bit by adding Rare Finds to shops; randomly picked items that show up in a separate menu in limited quantities, which can't be added to your own shops.

This is Mathiu's response to the question "Hey, do you know where Mathiu lives?" The game doesn't even attempt to hide his identity from you.

Mathiu's a teacher here in town. He also may or may not be a child molester. What you have to do is ask Mathiu where he lives, visit his house and talk to his students, then go back and strike up a second conversation with him. The game makes you do this because it hates you.

Well, one of them anyway. You don't ever see it onscreen but presumably we granted her other request too and chucked her in the drink.

However, Mathiu wants nothing to do with any of this madness. Even after we follow him back up to his house he gives us the coldest damn shoulder I've ever seen.

○∆□☆ and the gang stand around outside discussing what they should do next when a bunch of Imperials barge in to wreck up the place. I have no idea why they keep representing Imperial soldiers with these green shirt guys, it's not like there aren't already generic soldier sprites in the game.

Observation the first: the Banaar Mines are another location that is mentioned but never visited, giving the impression that the Suikoden world is a lot larger than it really is. I get the sneaking suspicion that "Banaar" is later translated as "Banner" instead; Banner is a tiny river village in the far south of the Suikoden 2 world, which puts it off the map to the far north in Suikoden 1. The Banner Badlands are a huge expanse of forest between the Scarlet Moon Empire and the Jowston(e) City-State(s), something of a no-man's land, and there's nothing out there except a ninja village and some giant insects. It would be the perfect spot to put an intensely deadly mining operation.

Observation the second: Mathiu is a military tactician, and he is damn good. So good, in fact, that General Kasim Hazil would subject small children to deportation and hard labor just to get Mathiu on his side. All the more reason for us to get him first.

Of course ○∆□☆ wants to throw down, which causes Cleo to complain a little. What, time for another shower already?

I think this is my favorite choice in the game. I love how you have the option of "we're rebels! graaah!" and "we're the good guys!". The outcome is the same either way, but they both taste different. I like the second option; we never officially joined the Liberation in the first place, and even if we had it's not like it's still around at this point. Thus: we're just random good guys and we're going to kick your asses for threatening kids.

You could sneeze and kill these guys. There are hard(ish) bosses in this game, I promise... we'll see one in the next update.


With that dirty business behind us, Mathiu invites us inside and we can talk shop. I'm not sure if "military surgeon" is an acceptable term for "strategist" or if it's just Konami's translators falling asleep on the job. In any case, here's the rub: Mathiu was involved in the Kalekka incident some years ago, where he caused countless deaths in order to win a victory for the Emperor. He didn't want any more bloodshed on his hands so he retired here to teach school instead. Of course now the Empire needs his services again and is willing to do unspeakable things to get at him, so he decides to throw in with us instead. I used to think that this was a "lesser of two evils" choice on his part, but it does sound more like he firmly believes in Odessa's ideals and just didn't have the scrote to act on them until now. In any case, he declines the earring Odessa gave us for him, pointing out that the Liberation Army's leader should keep it instead.

Booya. Now we have a commander (○∆□☆), a strategist, and... uh... three soldiers. It's a start! Viva La Revolution!

006/108: Mathiu Silverberg
Mathiu is the Liberation Army's chief military tactician, and our first NPC recruit. He's Odessa's brother, and he shares the Silverberg family trait of being awesome at battle tactics. Of the five Suikoden games, three of your tacticians are Silverbergs and one was directly trained (and subsequentially exiled) by one. Each one has a subtly different style, which isn't something you really notice unless you've played all the games a few times. Mathiu is calculating and detached, sometimes ruthless.

Okay guys, drumroll please...

...there we go! Ladies and gentlemen, it is finally time to start playing Suikoden for real. Next up: getting a headquarters!

This is the last time I'll have to post the star list with such a tiny change to it; from now on we'll get at least a few new faces after each mission. We're starting to fill our blue section up at least!

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