Single Status Update
Elazul: The Misunderstood Jumi
Several decades ago, Square released an RPG called Legend of Mana. One of the prominent aspects of the game aside from the visuals and bravery, was the ensemble cast of NPC characters. Each of them was truly unique and memorable. But in a game full of idyllic, cookie-cutter characters that aimed to create a fairy tale atmosphere, I have to appreciate the one character with true complexity. Elazul.
As a teenager playing the game around the time of its North American release, I hated Elazul. I thought he was a bully, and a sincerely bad person who cared about no one but himself, and Pearl by proxy. Now, as a much older, wiser man, I see Laz for exactly what he is.
Before you can understand Elazul (and embrace his faults), you must first understand two things: The Jumi, and Pearl.
The Jumi were a special race of humanoid beings with magical gems, or 'cores' that grant them life. Think of the human heart, pumping lifeblood through the body. Centuries ago the city of Jumi was destroyed, leaving the few remaining Jumi to roam the world of Fa'Diel. The outside world took notice of the precious gem cores of the Jumi. They became a desired prize for collectors and jewelers. The only problem? Without a core, a Jumi will fade away and die. In the words of Elazul, the outside world treats them as 'walking jewelry' to be hunted, like elephants for their ivory.
The Jumi are an endangered species, who are hunted for their very life source. This is important, but the next thing you have to understand is Pearl, another Jumi.
Elazul is Pearl's Knight. It's his sworn duty to protect her, and he cares for her like a sister, or even a lover. Pearl grapples with certain challenges like anxiety, shyness and memory loss. At a glance, one could almost deduce that she is developmentally challenged; having the intellect of a small child. Throughout the game, the player finds themselves assisting Elazul in finding Pearl across various locations with no shortage of danger close behind. All of this plays directly into his character, and manifests through his rough, scaly exterior.
Elazul can summed up perfectly in several words. Compromise and sacrifice.
Elazul has been hardened by a world that only sees him as 'walking jewelry'. His only purpose is protect Pearl; Keep her safe from danger, which she always seems to be drawn toward. He compromises himself in order to make sure she is safe. He acts tough, talks tough, and will sacrifice his reputation and relationships with others in order to make sure Pearl is fre from pain, suffering, even death.
In order to really see the true Elazul, you have to bring him along when you do the Flame of Hope quest in Gato Grottos. This is the quest where Sandra the Jewel hunter kills a Jumi named Reubens. Only here do you really get to see a glimpse of what makes Elazul tick. He wants to find the remaining Jumi that are scattered across Fa'Diel, to rebuild and live together once again. His people have become the priority, however immoral that may be, you've got to have some empathy in order to forgive his shortcomings by recognizing the root causes. In a perfect world, Laz could be the white knight. Fa'Diel, however, is far from a fairy tale for the Jumi. Just ask Reubens.
I love Elazul because he feels like a real character. you've got to work around his difficulty in order to understand him. I appreciate characters that require that level of work and understanding. Elazul in of himself is sort of like a quest.
This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a site member. They had said every character was so special and charming (very true) except Laz, who is just a prick. It kinda made me sad because that is his character at face value: Just a prick. But to me he is a tragic figure, and a troubled man who deserves peace, happiness, and forgiveness. Everything he does is for Pearl, even he is a bit misguided and aggressive at times.
I was mostly joking you know. :3 Yeah, he isn't that bad once you get to know him. I mean, he's still a prick but it's understandable why. Though depending on how you interoperate the story, it could be argued that he is purposefully trying to make Pearl dependent on him so he can continue being her knight. Kind of an assholish thing to do if he is. But even so, ya gotta pity the guy at least a little. He does so much for Pearl as a knight... and then when Lady Blackpearl joins up and completely upstages him and makes him redundant. I mean Lady Blackpearl kinda does that to every other party member (she's definitely the 'Thunder God Cid' of the game), but with Elazul it's personal.
Though like I said, that's kinda up for interpretation. If I remember correctly I don't think they ever really sat down and explained some of the details about what's going on with those three.