Perhaps I should explain. Around the time I was in third or fourth grade (or so...) one of my stepbrothers picked up this demo disc for a few new PlayStation games. There were fun things on there--Xena is the only other that really comes to mind at the moment, but that's not what's important. On the same disc there was a preview of this interesting little RPG called Legend of Legaia...
We tried it out and fell in love right away. The graphics were good for the time period, so was the music, and the battle system (TAS) was new and innovative. It was a fun game. We decided we had to have the actual thing for ourselves, and not long after that we did actually go out and buy it--game and guide, from Toys R Us, actually. (The guide was lost some time ago, to my great displeasure. I love keeping strategy guides as mementoes of all the hard times and good ones I went through while playing a game.)
LoL was my first real RPG. I'd played all the old classics and loved the fun of the brightly-colored screens and spunky characters--Sonic, Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon etc. etc. I also had the pleasure of playing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, one of the best adventure games I've ever gotten my hands on. Still, these wonderful games (and they ARE wonderful, don't get me wrong) just couldn't match the pleasure of turning on a game system and meeting these vibrant, deep characters on the other side of the screen. Vahn, Noa, and Gala were not only household names but became the close friends of my little kid's heart. (Thinking back, it must've been fourth grade because I remember feeling a deep connection with Noa because we were the same age.) I was a lot more innocent then and hadn't really learned to look at both sides of the story, so there were elements to games and real life that I missed because I was too caught up with the "heroes" to consider what was going on with the "villains". LoL changed that.
At the beginning of the game, you're first introduced to the stunning cutscene graphics and some of the major antagonists via the destruction of the town wall that had protected Vahn's people. It had been destroyed by this immense, dragonlike creature we learned was called Juggernaut.
Juggernaut initially inspired little in me other than fear and hatred. Seru, or so we got taught at that point, were slaves to the maddening Mist, which made them rebel against their human masters, attacking and killing and committing God only knew what other monstrosities. But once while playing through the game's beginning, my stepbrother made an unusual comment especially for his generally cold and manipulative mindset: Turning to me during the first Juggernaut cutscene, he said to me, "If that's the Seru, then I feel sorry for it."
I wondered why he'd say such a thing, but then I started thinking. What if the Seru, Juggernaut in particular, WEREN'T things to be frightened of but rather the victims of a larger scheme? I started to feel some sympathy towards the big "monster" that had done the game's heroes so much hurt.
Finding out more about Juggernaut and his backgrounds, I came across his human partner, Cort. One of the qualities I value highest in anyone is loyalty, and in the end Juggernaut--or Reiko, as I eventually named him--proves so loyal to Cort, he sacrifices his own life in order to save his partner's. That impressed me. It drew my admiration. And I started to love this big, scary creature, finding the beauty in an appearance most found repellant.
Reiko's beauty still enthralls me. There's a pure heart beneath that fierce exterior, and a selfless soul. He'd do anything for Cort, which won me over; now that I know him better, there are lots more things to love. I cheer for him when I see him, and the darkly sweet music they have to accompany his appearance stirs something in my heart and makes me want to dance. The word "Juggernaut" means "an inexorable force or object that crushes whatever is in its path"; Reiko has exactly that kind of power, which awes me to this day. Wearing black, his theme color, makes me feel more alive, makes me feel like I can do anything. Reiko is at once like a brother to me and like my baby--I'm fairly sure that I'm the only one who saw this side of him, at least until I started writing a few fanfictions on his behalf. He's a huge part of my life, and my heart.
Black to me is not a "goth" thing. It's a Legaia thing, bringing up all my old childhood memories of the good times I had with that lifechanging game. Specifically, it's a Juggernaut thing. And in my life, being able to feel that kind of power is a blessing. A way to hold on to hope.
Reiko, thank you. Thank you for teaching me how to live life the way I want it.
-Feral Phoenix (Reiko's mommy :3)