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Character Development: Lisa (A.K.A: The Character Grows with You?)

JuJu

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Lisa, as she is now, was never meant to be; still, her story is quite a tale.

 

EXPOSITION PART: (skip if you don't care about my poor high school self)

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She came into being during my school years (not college, but actual school-school). At the time, she wasn't even Lisa. She was just a regular woman from the modern day who lived in a fantasy town. It was a parody of businessmen that leave their housewives on calls for weeks at a time, coming home on the weekend after working hard all week in other towns to help support their family. Only Lisa's husband wasn't the average businessman... he was a pirate captain. (Norio, of all the characters, has changed the least over the years.)

 

I wrote about Lisa, cataloging her stories with no order to them--they were just short stories about this world she lived in, the baker who was her best friend, the redheaded brother and sister who lived in the town and caused mischief, among other things. Her husband was barely wrote about, as he was always gone pillaging---er, making business trips.

 

I forgot about Lisa sometime in high school. I didn't remember her again until I was cleaning out a plastic bin of old folders. When I moved out of my parent's house, I had taken the folders with me without going through the contents, but there came a time when I needed the bin and so I decided to salvage what notebooks I could still use (that hadn't been drawn all over) and get rid of the rest. Then, coming across a certain book, I found Lisa again. She was right where I'd left her, still in that nameless town, and without a name herself. I decided then and there that I'd not only retell her story, but also make her a new one, this time in a game.

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ACTUAL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT PART: (this is probably what you came for)

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When thinking of a name for her, I had to think about the world she came from. Lisa is, for all intents and purposes, a modern human being. The world she lives in as a child is parallel to a second or third-world country today. It's a mashup of old and new. Lisa lives in a shack on the edge of society with her mother in the beginning. She has no heat or air, nor shows any sign that she knows about it, but she owns a telephone. Her mother makes a living sewing up fishing nets, but they have bills for hospitals and medicine. Lisa sees ships sailing out to sea with real sails, but talks of electric lights and boardwalks at night. She wears castoff clothes from sailors, but knows of people in country clubs with finery, and regular Joe's with jeans. Even her hair--I wanted her to have short blue hair, and so instead of just having the usual anime hairstyles going crazy with the color scheme, Lisa merely dyes it. Even on the island, Norio brings her hair dye from 'the mainland' in bulk so that she can continue to keep her hair her favorite shade of blue.

 

Lisa has two older sisters, both of which stay unnamed in her main story. This is because she has no good feelings towards the eldest, and the middle sister is merely unimportant to her. Her mother she calls "Mother", and so only she ended up needing a name. Thinking about her personality, I realized that I wanted a short, simple name to match her short, simple style. So, after throwing around ideas like "Alex", "Kat", and "Patty", I decided that "Lisa" was the one that I wanted.

 

The story goes that when their father disappeared, the family fell into poverty and, when she came of age, the eldest sister left to find her fortune. She never returned, and the middle sister, when she too came of age, left to find her own fortune. When Lisa came of age, there was no one left to take care of her mother except her, so she gave up any thought of ever finding her destiny and instead settled down to taking care of the housework and keeping her mother as healthy as possible. This gives, right off the bat, an idea of the type of person that Lisa is.

 

When the pirates invade her house, she argues with them over them taking all their (few) possessions in the world. She's short-tempered, a little sarcastic, very brave, and she has means behind her high-talk-- it's well known throughout the town that she can hold her own in a fight with the sailors. Then the captain comes in, full of charisma and charm and completely ignoring every insult she throws at him. He is about to make off with all their stuff when she points out that a music box (the only thing she ever had from her father before his untimely disappearance) is HERS, and he can't take it. It follows that (in the main story at least):

Fair? Life’s not fair!†he cackled. The other men chuckled along for a moment before lapsing back into silence. “You’re lucky that—†He paused, looking her over again. “You really say that music box is yours, do you?†She saw her mother give an almost involuntary jerk of the head, but didn’t dare look away.

“Of course it is! I didn’t steal it like some no-good, low-down son of a—†she faltered, biting her lip as she wondered how far was too far. She was about to grace him with a colorful lecture like she’d given the blonde in her bedroom, but her eyes were drawn to the blade half-hidden by his cloak. “Gun,†she finished, almost defiantly. He stepped even closer, a malevolent amusement shining in the black eyes.

“Do you know what happens to people that claim a pirate’s treasure?†He bent down, one of the longer curls brushing her forehead. She felt her knees knock once, twice, and then her heart began to thunder as she thought again of the blade. She shook her head hesitantly, feeling more like prey being hunted down rather than a strong, independent woman who beat down hardened sailors when the mood struck.

“Well, I’ll tell you,†he continued, eyes searching her face lazily. “If this box is yours…†he put a hand on top of hers, which still held the lid tight to the base, “but it’s also mine….†His breath smelled like old stew and raw eggs, making her wonder if they didn’t raid the refrigerator as well. Did he eat their stew, the stew that was supposed to last for at least another day?! “Then doesn’t that make it our music box?â€

 

 

And, before she knows it, she's entered into a pirate's marriage. And she isn't happy about it, but he offers her a trade: her, for all the gold in his ship. Her mother would never have to worry about money again. Unbeknownst to her, he even leaves a strapping young lad with her so that the old woman would never have to lift a finger.

 

At first, Lisa's body has to react to the magic of the island and by the time she's accustomed, he's already gone off again to plunder more booty, since he truly gave all he had to her mother. And during his absence, Lisa comes to see that maybe he's not such a dastardly man after all. Happy ending, right? No! Of course not! This is a normal person we're talking about. He comes back, and she STILL doesn't like him! She's not going to be super sappy just because she's seen that he isn't all killing and pillaging towns. There's a whole thing of them earing each other's trust, etc. etc. etc. that makes for a pretty good story, in my opinion.

 

But Lisa herself had to change somewhat for the game. She had to learn how to give more, take less. Her journey with Simone shows just how much her new experiences on Tochiko are making her learn and grow as a person. Her relationships with her husband, with her friends, even with her enemies also show this sort of marked change between the volatile girl that fought sailors and the pirate's housewife that lives by the sea. Hopefully, players will enjoy her and find something there to relate to and love.


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