Dyed Hair Don’t Care or Quick Thoughts on Bravely Default

*sung to the tune of “Long Hair Don’t Care”*

I know I’m late to the party, but I just picked up Bravely Default. I’ve got about 12 hours in it so far, and here are some quick thoughts. I’m experimenting with the form of this post–treating it almost like an extended string of tweets rather than anything as cohesive as an essay/article. Plus the title will make sense soon.

  • I think the artwork is pretty dang cute.
  • I don’t mind that the towns aren’t very explorable. I mean in JRPGs the towns are mostly filled with NPCs and some semi-useless treasures, so I appreciate this attempt at streamlining the process.
  • On streamlining:
    • fast forwarding battles is a huge plus for me. It doesn’t eliminate the need for grinding, but it makes things go by quicker.
    • The “auto battle” feature is cool. Sometimes the AI is super dumb and doesn’t finish a fight in one turn when I know I can. Still, it makes grinding a less painful experience.
    • Being able to change the random battle frequency needs to be in EVERY JRPG FROM HERE ON OUT. Srsly. If you get lost or are backtracking looking for treasure, not having to worry or deal with random battles is such a freeing experience.
  • The job system is pretty good, especially since you can equip two ability sets at one time. So I can have a Spellsword (or whatever it’s called) with the Monk’s ability set too. Super awesome.
  • Ringabel is kind of annoying. His sexism/womanizing isn’t charming at all.
  • While the game has the women characters react poorly to Ringabel’s sexism, they don’t really say “Hey stop with your awful comments.” It’s all kinda treated as a joke. “Oh there he goes again!”
  • But that’s not it. I just got to Florem and I guess the city and its people are too focused on “external beauty” or something, but an NPC with “dyed hair” walked by and the two women in the main party remarked about how it wasn’t modest, too showy, and bad for this NPC to dare dye her hair a bright blue color. I saw this bit of dialogue, and I thought, “GG? Is that you in my JRPG?” (Yes I know Bravely Default came out well before that vile hate movement started) What is it with people criticizing women for dying their hair “unnatural” colors? It’s such a weird, trivial, pointless thing to get upset about. So as soon as that happened, I sang “Dyed hair don’t care.”
  • Update to the hair dye thing: of course it turns out that the hair dye is evil and forcing young women to go insane or something if they use it. This whole section is kinda weird and giving me an ick feeling. I mean I get what it’s trying to say with the whole don’t let outer beauty be the only thing you focus on buuuuttttttttt… yeah no.

In some ways Bravely Default is a modern JRPG what with all the streamlinin’ and fandangled fast forwardin’. But then in other ways, it’s clearly stuck in the past.

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