Analysis of LOVELESS and Genesis/Angeal

#1
Throughout CC, we live through Zack, sympathizing with his frustration and trauma, and confused by the motivations of our deserting teammates. Angeal and Genesis attempt to explain their actions and motivations in abstract ways - in Genesis' case, through quoting Loveless incessantly. During my real-time experience as a player, the villains' behavior was very frustrating and unrelatable to me and these feelings were unresolved by the end. I still feel like it was poorly executed, but I am trying to make an effort to understand what the writers were trying to convey because I don't want to hate Crisis Core. I don't want to believe that it's a pseudo-philosophical hot mess pretending to be something more profound. Perhaps the opacity of CC's characters and themes can also be partially attributed to translation or language barrier. After spending some time analyzing things, CC feels a little more cogent. But it's all still very nebulous and to get a consistent metaphorical structure is tough, especially when there could be triple meanings..

The content of Loveless that we are aware of embodies a theme of salvation (obviously through Jenova, at least as interpreted by Genesis). But this salvation is vague, as Angeal admits when he tells Zack that the "Gift of the Goddess" is a mystery even to him. The only thing that seems constant to their cult/belief system is a desire for destruction, essentially making it a death cult.

Below I expound on some thoughts and musings as I attempt to analyze Loveless from the perspective of Angeal and Genesis. Considering many of you guys have played these games many more times than I have (I played CC once, almost 7 years ago) and are much more intimately familiar with the pages and pages of Utimania materials, I'd like to know what you think.

Prologue
When the war of the beasts brings about the world's end
The goddess descends from the sky
Wings of light and dark spread afar
She guides us to bliss, her gift everlasting
Jenova's arrival, depicted as a savior.

Act I
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the Goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky
Ripples form on the water's surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.
I would consider Genesis and Angeal to be wandering souls. Their entire existence was designated to do nothing but serve Shinra's ends (as killing machines - of course they'd eventually bite the hand that fed), but only through the exploitation of the alien parasite that was permanently infused into their being. Their "lineage" "erased" and exploited, their lineage a monster. They felt betrayed by Shinra, which was their only reason for living (aside from their friendship), which created a psychological vacuum. I think "infinite in mystery" alludes to them seeking for a purpose and meaning that they will never find, because they no longer feel human and can't relate to other human beings. Perhaps the mysterious "Gift of the Goddess" they are searching for is just the meaning to their lives. Their only solace is in Jenova, whom they project onto the fabled Goddess, and her vague promise of salvation.

Act II
There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess
Hero of the dawn, Healer of worlds

Dreams of the morrow hath the shattered soul
Pride is lost
Wings stripped away, the end is nigh
I don't know how they can view Jenova in such a way as the first stanza of this act, but perhaps this is the mind control talking.
Wings stripped away is ironic imagery if we apply it to the loss of their pride and dreams, because the wings that they have are what stripped their pride and dreams as humans. They bare their wings as Jenova exerts her influence. Is SE going for dramatic irony here?

Act III
My friend, do you fly away now?
To a world that abhors you and I?
All that awaits you is a somber morrow
No matter where the winds may blow

My friend, your desire
Is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess

Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
Sounds like a pitch to convert their genetic, "monster" kin to "Jenova-ism."

Act IV
My friend, the fates are cruel
There are no dreams, no honor remains
The arrow has left the bow of the goddess

My soul, corrupted by vengeance
Hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey
In my own salvation
And your eternal slumber

Legend shall speak
Of sacrifice at world's end
The wind sails over the water's surface
Quietly, but surely
I really don't know what to say about this - as it relates to the rest of the Loveless content.

Act V
Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice
Referring to the Reunion. Very ironic how Jenova is depicted as the one that will "become the dew that quenches the land" when she has an even more voracious appetite for the planet's life than Shinra.

Perhaps this epic refers to the Lifestream and Holy, and the tragedy is Genesis falsely attributing it to Jenova, a sort of false prophet and satanic figure, who seems to exert her insidious psychological and spiritual influence (especially when they become weakened by doubt in the first place, much like how Geostigma is contracted) over everyone except Sephiroth, who is able to use her for his own ends. Sephiroth, to me, was the only deserter whose motivations and personality made some degree of sense to me up front.
 
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#2
Perhaps this epic refers to the Lifestream and Holy, and the tragedy is Genesis falsely attributing it to Jenova, a sort of false prophet and satanic figure, who seems to exert her insidious psychological and spiritual influence (especially when they become weakened by doubt in the first place, much like how Geostigma is contracted) over everyone except Sephiroth, who is able to use her for his own ends. Sephiroth, to me, was the only deserter whose motivations and personality made some degree of sense to me up front.
I think that you're right to emphasis that the epic could refer to the Lifestream. Genesis thinks that himself (guess at LOVELESS ).
Now if it is not related to Jenova as you're proposing. I think that it's still a very somber/tortured story.

I tried to read the entire compilation while keeping in mind that Lifestream and Jenova could be the same entity. It worked quite well, even better IMHO.

You should try it ;)
 
#3
Ryvius, I feel you're quite heroic to undertake this task. Crisis Core is such a confusing mish-mash of half-baked beliefs and ideas - maybe it reflects the inside of Zack's mind? :monster: I always assumed Loveless was a piece of cod-poetry dashed off by the writers once they'd decided they were going to give Genesis a personality by making him obsessed about a poem. What we see in the game cannot be the whole thing. It would be the shortest work of classic literature ever - especially given that it aspires to be some kind of epic poetry. I don't mean that the game-makers wrote more of it; I mean they always intended us to understand that it was just a fragment of the complete work. The symbolism is opaque. When I was playing the game I thought the goddess meant Jenova and expected that at some point poor Genesis would discover what a deluded sap he'd been, but then Minerva suddenly appeared and redeemed him and I have no idea who she is or how she fits into their mythology.

When the war of the beasts brings about the world's end
The goddess descends from the sky
Wings of light and dark spread afar
She guides us to bliss, her gift everlasting

What 'the war of the beasts' is, who knows? Is it their version of the Apocalypse? I rather assumed the 'goddess' here is Omega, which is an avatar of the planet's power. That is to say, to the extent that I struggled to make some sense of this poem in my mind, I assumed the fictional author was giving his/her own take on the apocalyptic vision of the planet being destroyed and all life being whisked off to a new planet.

Act I
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the Goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky
Ripples form on the water's surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.

Infinite in mystery is the meaning of this poem. "We seek it thus"? How exactly do we seek it? Has the wandering soul been liberated from its body? Why can't it rest? Are we all wandering souls?

Act II
There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess
Hero of the dawn, Healer of worlds

Dreams of the morrow hath the shattered soul
Pride is lost
Wings stripped away, the end is nigh

The first time I read this I thought it was the goddess who was the hero of the dawn and the healer of worlds.
The shattered soul can't fly because it has lost its wing; the end is night; and yet still this shattered soul dreams of the morrow? A futile dream, surely, since if the end is nigh there isn't going to be a tomorrow.

Act III
My friend, do you fly away now?
To a world that abhors you and I?
All that awaits you is a somber morrow
No matter where the winds may blow

My friend, your desire
Is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess

Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return

OK, now this one I understood. The 'world that abhors you and I' (though grammatically that should be 'you and me'), is Shinra and the world it made. Genesis is rebuking Angeal for not rejecting Shinra. As long as Angeal sticks with Shinra, his life will be crap no matter what changes take place. Genesis is telling Angeal that what he really wants is... the goddess, which here seems to symbolise life and hope. And he concludes by reminding Angeal that he'll be back, one way or another.


Act IV
My friend, the fates are cruel
There are no dreams, no honor remains
The arrow has left the bow of the goddess

My soul, corrupted by vengeance
Hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey
In my own salvation
And your eternal slumber

Legend shall speak
Of sacrifice at world's end
The wind sails over the water's surface
Quietly, but surely

Life sucks, there's no point to it, but there's no getting offa this train we're on. It was my desire for vengeance that ruined my life, but guess what: I'm saved! And you'll die I guess. The legends will turn your death into a sacrifice. That's just the way the wind blows; you can't stop it.

Act V
Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice

If only Genesis had been silent!!!! Again we have this promise that he'll be back one day to make the soil fertile. Some implication here that he's saving the world with his silent sacrifice. I don't get that at all.

Anyway, here's Vergil's version:

Arms, and that man I sing, who, forced by fate
And psychopathic Hojo’s spiteful hate
Sicken’d and feather’d, left Shinra’s employ,
And sought, by air, by earth, by fire, his joy.
Ten score his mess-mates borne beneath his wings
Wrought in his likeness he to battle brings.
Condemn’d to die, the world with him he’ll take
And the corrupting thirst for vengeance slake,
And dearest friends betray; who best him know,
Their own misguided trust he will them show.
O Muse! Reveal what fault in this man’s soul,
Twisted his fate to one so sad and cruel.
O Goddess! Pity him his stolen weal,
Forgive his sins, and thou his heart shalt heal.
 
#4
I think that you're right to emphasis that the epic could refer to the Lifestream. Genesis thinks that himself (guess at LOVELESS ).
I forgot about this. Thanks for sharing.

When the war of the beasts brings about the world's end
The goddess descends from the sky
Wings of light and dark spread afar
She guides us to bliss, her gift everlasting


What 'the war of the beasts' is, who knows? Is it their version of the Apocalypse? I rather assumed the 'goddess' here is Omega, which is an avatar of the planet's power. That is to say, to the extent that I struggled to make some sense of this poem in my mind, I assumed the fictional author was giving his/her own take on the apocalyptic vision of the planet being destroyed and all life being whisked off to a new planet.
Perhaps Omega or Minerva was the intended Goddess entity of the poem. But maybe Genesis subconsciously interprets this under the lull of his genetics as a prophecy wherein Jenova, whom he projects onto Minerva, will guide [destroy] the world to bliss with the everlasting gift of returning to the Lifestream, while thinking that he's fighting for Minerva. That in reality, Jenova, whom he probably believes is an Ancient like pretty much everyone else believes, is exerting her influence over him, compounded by his own desire for revenge that he tries to dress up as a noble cause (a good call back to the themes of the OG), to kill everyone so she can gobble up the Lifestream.

Act I
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the Goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky
Ripples form on the water's surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.
Infinite in mystery is the meaning of this poem.
:monster:

Act IV
My friend, the fates are cruel
There are no dreams, no honor remains
The arrow has left the bow of the goddess
My soul, corrupted by vengeance
Hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey
In my own salvation
And your eternal slumber


Legend shall speak
Of sacrifice at world's end
The wind sails over the water's surface
Quietly, but surely


Life sucks, there's no point to it, but there's no getting offa this train we're on. It was my desire for vengeance that ruined my life, but guess what: I'm saved! And you'll die I guess. The legends will turn your death into a sacrifice. That's just the way the wind blows; you can't stop it.
This has me thinking. Perhaps the best way for Zack to achieve his dream of being a hero is for him to die. The longer a hero stays alive, the less likely they will remain a hero in public consciousness. I guess that's kind of the point to CC. He wants to be a hero, but instead of becoming a hero to the world he becomes the hero (martyr) to the person (Cloud), who will become the ultimate hero. I wonder if Genesis, the twisted character he is, wants to do this "for his own good" so Zack can achieve his dream - to be the First Class SOLDIER who sacrificed his life to try to stop the traitors to Shinra. Then again, Genesis is not the type who likes to share the spotlight or really think of anyone other than himself, so perhaps Zack is the same as the rest of humanity he wants to kill so that they can all return to the Lifestream, the "gift of the Goddess," and he can be the hero for taking everyone there.

Act V
Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice
If only Genesis had been silent!!!! Again we have this promise that he'll be back one day to make the soil fertile. Some implication here that he's saving the world with his silent sacrifice. I don't get that at all.
Maybe he views himself as the dew that quenches the land and the sparer of the world because if he destroys Shinra, they can no longer extract from the Lifestream, which is the sacred gift.

Anyway, here's Vergil's version:

Arms, and that man I sing, who, forced by fate
And psychopathic Hojo’s spiteful hate
Sicken’d and feather’d, left Shinra’s employ,
And sought, by air, by earth, by fire, his joy.
Ten score his mess-mates borne beneath his wings
Wrought in his likeness he to battle brings.
Condemn’d to die, the world with him he’ll take
And the corrupting thirst for vengeance slake,
And dearest friends betray; who best him know,
Their own misguided trust he will them show.
O Muse! Reveal what fault in this man’s soul,
Twisted his fate to one so sad and cruel.
O Goddess! Pity him his stolen weal,
Forgive his sins, and thou his heart shalt heal.
This is great!
 
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#5
In universe, LOVELESS is a stage play about three friends and their love, that's probably two hours long, most likely what we have are the Greek chorus that begin each act (and the fifth is missing, so Genesis wrote it himself.)

When the war of the beasts brings about the world's end
The goddess descends from the sky
Wings of light and dark spread afar
She guides us to bliss, her gift everlasting
This sounds like Omega and Chaos to me, the end of the world framed positively, 'beasts' in plural, and so on. Omega does spread wings when it takes off in Dirge.

The rest of it mostly fits too,

Act I
Infinite in mystery is the gift of the Goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky
Ripples form on the water's surface
The wandering soul knows no rest.
The Lifestreams and the wandering souls in it get taken to the sky, literally. We don't know what comes next, but we'll take it over the dying world.

Act II

Act II
There is no hate, only joy
For you are beloved by the goddess
Hero of the dawn, Healer of worlds

Dreams of the morrow hath the shattered soul
Pride is lost
Wings stripped away, the end is nigh
Chaos is a destroyer of worlds, but it's a necessary duty, don't stress about it. Your will will be taken away by the Planet anyway.

Act III
My friend, do you fly away now?
To a world that abhors you and I?
All that awaits you is a somber morrow
No matter where the winds may blow

My friend, your desire
Is the bringer of life, the gift of the goddess

Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
You may value the world over Omega, but it's going to happen, no matter what. Get on board, even if you manage to fend us off temporarily, it's going to happen.


Act IV
My friend, the fates are cruel
There are no dreams, no honor remains
The arrow has left the bow of the goddess

My soul, corrupted by vengeance
Hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey
In my own salvation
And your eternal slumber

Legend shall speak
Of sacrifice at world's end
The wind sails over the water's surface
Quietly, but surely
Pretty much the same.

Act V
Even if the morrow is barren of promises
Nothing shall forestall my return
To become the dew that quenches the land
To spare the sands, the seas, the skies
I offer thee this silent sacrifice
(Giving in to inevitability)

Genesis, naturally, has a completely different interpretation. The ' three friends' part has obvious applications for him, but they seem to interpret the 'lover' part differently.

For Genesis, his gift is being healed of his terminal illness.
For Angeal, it's his death (because it's the only way to rid the world of the ability to make monsters out of his cells.)
For Sephiroth, it's JENOVA.

So, for each of them, the poem is about their quest to find the thing they want or is destined to find.

IIRC, there's something about how the three friends have one death, one wandering the land, one hero. Angeal dies, Sephiroth becomes the hero (for a while at least), and Genesis ends up seeking redemption.

The problem with this interpretation is that an actual Literal Goddess shows up at the end of CC, dunno what to make of that.
 
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