LUNAR: VHEEN HIKUUSEN MONOGATARI
The Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari Manga:
Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari (Vheen Airship Story or Tales of the Vheen Airship, "Vheen" being the Japanese version of "Vane") is a manga compilation of three stories about Ghaleon's past written and drawn by the very talented Akari Funato. I'd been trying to get this book for the longest time and highly recommend that you pick up a copy as well - Funato's art is beautiful.
Also, the tankoubon was reprinted to coincide with the release of Harmony of Silver Star, so you now have no excuse for not owning a physical copy. And, hey - it's even available on digitally on Amazon Japan.
There are three stories all together:
- Kioku Suru Fuukei (The Scenery I Recall)
A short, ten-page account of how Ghaleon first met Dyne/Dain. (Dain's a young kid - about 6-8 years old - and Ghaleon looks to be in his late teens-early twenties but is actually...well, considerably older than he looks, since he ages much more slowly than normal folk. He's about 100-110 here - if you follow the manga's chronology, he'd be 147 in TSS or 152 in SSS, depending on which continuity you'd like to use. The translation delivers the plot well enough, but the art and character expressions really give the story its nuance (and humor).
- Tamashii no Kokuhaku (Confession of the Soul)
Dain - now grown to his late teens-early twenties - and Ghaleon - aged little physically - run across an airship (still running) trapped in a box canyon which Ghaleon identifies as belonging to the city of Vheen. (He should know - he helped to build it, as described in Vheen Hikuusen story three.) The pair teleport to Vheen to notify the guildmistress, only to find her gone - with only her deputy, the young Remilia Ausa (Lemia Ausa in the English games) available to help - and she seems reluctant to say just exactly what is going on with the airship...
- Kokuhaku Suru Kioku (The Memories I Confess)
Ghaleon is seventeen, and his older brother, Zain, has just died. Zain's great ambition was to construct a magic-powered airship in which to soar the skies and follow the birds, but he perished before he could complete it. Ghaleon decides to complete the ship without understanding exactly why he feels compelled to do so - he didn't have a good relationship with his brother and felt that Zain forsook him in favor of his dreams of birds and flight. By far the most solemn of the three stories, and the one most reliant on Funato's powerful imagery to relate its tale. (Note: except for Ghaleon, all of "Kokuhaku Suru Kioku"'s characters are original; I've thus created a small character guide to introduce the cast and give the reader who doesn't have the Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari manga itself an idea of what they look like.)
And the production notes:
- Kei Shigema's Notes on Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari
Kei Shigema, the man behind Lunar and Official Commentator for Every Damn Lunar Book Out Thereｩ, gives his thoughts on Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari, which, to be frank, aren't very deep - he likes many of the ideas Akari Funato brought to the series (he calls the tankoubon's stories "extra chapters" to the Lunar games and seems to consider them canonical), but at the same time rants on and on about how hard the gal was to work with. (Personally, I'm with Funato on this one, as she seems to have a better story sense of what's best in the material she's given to work with - anyone who thinks that the most intriguing aspect of the Lunar series and all the relationships within is Xenobia's love for Ghaleon (as Shigema states in the Newtype SSS production book) deserves a conk on the head to get his values straight.)
- Akari Funato's (Formerly) Online Notes on "Tamashii no Kokuhaku" (and "Kioku Suru Fuukei")
Translation of Akari Funato's own notes on the first two Vheen Hikuusen stories from the Himawari Lamp website; unfortunately, the corresponding pages have long been taken down. The mangaka herself talks about (and shows) what was cut from "Tamashii"'s original run in Shounen Ace magazine, her ideas about the magic race, how the plots of both stories originated, and a neat extra note about the identity of one of "Fuukei"'s characters.
- Akari Funato's (Formerly) Online Notes on "Kokuhaku Suru Kioku"
The other half of Funato's notes. Interesting notes about pre-production and magazine-to-tankoubon changes and a neat "character relationship chart".
- Doujinshi Notes on Akari Funato's Production Sketches for "Tamashii no Kokuhaku"
Notes included with the "Tamashii no Kokuhaku" production sketches Funato released in the Tsuki no Kokuhaku doujinshi and her "LUNAR, Etc." .pdf. Includes storyboards for a couple deleted "Tamashii no Kokuhaku" scenes and a short bit on the transition from TSS to SSS.
- Doujinshi Notes on Akari Funato's Production Sketches for "Kokuhaku Suru Kioku"
Notes included with the "Kokuhaku Suru Kioku" production sketches Funato released in the Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari doujinshi (not the manga; this is a thin sketch doujin with a pale green cover) and her "LUNAR, Etc." .pdf. Also includes a tiny bit about her dougen for Mia's SSS introduction scene and her work on the illustrations for the EB novels.
- SSS Newtype 100% Artbook Interview with Akari Funato
Quite short and not very informative or interested in Funato's own ideas.
- Akari Funato 1997 Comments on Working on the Lunar Franchise, from Hoshi to Sabaku no Ouji-sama
A brief essay Funato wrote in late 1997, between "Tamashii no Kokuhaku" and "Kokuhaku Suru Kioku," that details Funato's job-related and artistic frustrations with working on Lunar and gives some insight into why she and the franchise parted ways.
- Vheen Hikuusen: Did You Notice?
Not a translation; just a compilation of the little details in the corners.
- The Unique Achievements of Vheen Hikuusen Monogatari
- Dain and Love vs. Duty in "Tamashii no Kokuhaku"
Bildungsroman of the ditz.
- "Kokuhaku Suru Kioku" as Inversion
...of the fairy-tale archetype, of Silver Star...
Oh, yeah, didja wanna know what the short cover blurb on the back of the manga says? Well: "Vheen, the Magic City. Once inhabited by another people known as 'the magic race'. The memories of Ghaleon of that magic race and the humans who rode aloft in the airship called the Great Inheritance have been scattered throughout time... A collection of engrossing, absorbing episodes for those who can't get enough of Ghaleon!" Indeed.