Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil and Sorrow
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil is a game that was released in 2001 on the Playstation 2 and was developed by Namco and Klonoa Works. Interestingly enough, the game is known in Japanese as “Klonoa of the Wind: The Thing that the World Wants to Forget.” The game features the main protagonist, named Klonoa, who is an animal-like character with long ears. Klonoa is known as a Dream Traveler in Lunatea. The titles of the game, both in English and in Japanese both infer something about the game, as well as Klonoa’s role in the world as a Dream Traveler, but this is something that will be looked at in depth at a later point in this article.
For now, let us focus on the world of Lunatea and its Four Bells, as the High Priestess tells Klonoa, Lolo, and Popka about, saying,
“‘Your first task is to journey to the Four Kingdoms, in which the Harmony Bells are housed. And once you reach the Kingdoms, you must go and gather the power from their bells. It is the harmonius power of the bells that will make it possible for us to contain the evil.'”
From what the player can currently gather about Lunatea, it has four major emotions that are all balanced in harmony with one another. The bells represent the emotions of Tranquility, Joy, Discord and Indecision, as Lunatea’s prophet, Master Baguji, mentioned to Lolo and Popka once Klonoa arrived in Lunatea. The balance that the bells keep within Lunatea is about to be shattered by a Fifth Bell about which not much is known. Before we tackle the mysterious Fifth Bell and the main villains of the game, Sky Pirates known as Tat and Leorina, we must first examine what the other four emotions do to the world and its inhabitants.
While not much is known about the first Kingdom that houses the Bell of Tranquility, the areas of La-Lakoosha and Claire Moa Temple both have clues within their environments that allow the player to deduce what kind of Kingdom the Bell of Tranquility rests in. La-Lakoosha’s stage is filled with natural scenery, small Buddha-like statues, and the music playing within the stage is calming and soft. La-Lakoosha is also home to the High Priestess and the statue of the Mother Goddess Claire.
These details within La-Lakoosha allow the player to conclude that this Kingdom is devoted to Lunatea’s religion and, therefore, it makes sense to have the Bell of Tranquility housed there. Another example that seems to upset the balance of the mood of La-Lakoosha is when Popka explains the origin of the Mother Goddess Claire statue from the Sea of Tears, “That’s Claire the Ancient. An’ they say it was all that remained, after she was purged of all evil.” Lolo quickly stands after Popka says this and insists that they get going to see the High Priestess.
Likewise, in Claire Moa Temple, the Bell can be found towering over La-Lakoosha almost serenely. The design of the bell tower itself is reminiscent of Buddhist bell towers found in Thailand, as this fictional bell tower has white scale-like tiles running up the tower until it reaches the bell itself. The bell is covered with a pointed roof. The tranquility of Claire Moa Temple is connected with La-Lakoosha through the same music heard during the previous stage. The pathway to the Bell of Tranquility is a simple, circular platform, which suggests that this Kingdom is run by a cyclical thought process to life, which the player can see through the meeting of the High Priestess and her reaction to the events going on in Lunatea, as she appears to be at ease about the goings on in the world.
Once Klonoa stops Leorina from taking the Tranquility Bell’s Element, he, Lolo, and Popka are sent by Master Baguji to the Kingdom of Joilant, were the Bell of Joy is housed. Upon entering Joilant, both the player and Klonoa are struck with a sense of wonder at the Kingdom’s bright colors and festive atmosphere. The music surrounding the Kingdom is also lively and cheerful, further conveying the attitude of Joilant’s inhabitants. Everything in Joilant seems to be done in the name of having a good time. Even when Klonoa and the gang lose the Element of Tranquility to Tat, the matter is resolved through two games of tag, in which Klonoa is “it” and must chase after Tat.
Tat, who split herself into two entities, has Klonoa go through two trials. One trial involves venturing into a haunted house, where Lolo freaks out upon meeting a ghostly butler, and the other is a jungle-esque water slide, where Klonona voices his concerns about riding a board down the river when he can’t swim. Both of these events, though they are playful and fun have an element of fear running through them. Lolo hates ghosts, but must travel through a haunted house. Likewise, Klonoa can’t swim, but for the sake of Lunatea, must face his fears and ride the Jungle Slider to catch Tat. Though these fears are addressed, they are placed back under the illusion of happiness and joy. The joy in Joilant allows both Lolo and Klonoa to brush off the darkness they faced. These fears will resurface later in a different section, however, in a more dire situation.
Once Joilant’s fiasco is solved, Master Baguji sends Klonoa to the warring Kingdom of Volk, which is remarked by Lolo as “‘A place where the fighting never stops…ever. The people there live to fight.'” Upon entering Volk, Klonoa, Popka, and Lolo see Leorina and Tat making a copy of Klonoa’s ring. They overhear Leorina say, “‘Tat. Go check on the reactor…We need all the power. Overload them if you have to. A Volkan city or two is a small price to pay for a copy of the ring.’.” Though they have a chance to stop Leorina’s antics, Lolo decides that they should save Volk. This introduction to the Kingdom shows that conflict is a major part of this Kingdom. The child-like joy of Joliant and the peacefulness of La-Lakoosha has disappeared and has been replaced with the tension of the situation.
The colors of Volk are dark browns, harsh reds, and faded blue and beige. The music in Volk is heavy with horns and drum beats, which add to the tension of Klonoa’s current mission. Also, the town of Volk is going through an active civil war in the background of Klonoa’s movement. Fire and crumpled cars as well as pieces of buildings sometimes hinder Klonoa’s movement. The active destruction of the environment makes the tension of Volk’s war more pressing to the player. Once the reactors are dealt with, Klonoa remarks, “‘All they do is play in Joilant. While they only fight in Volk…’.” It seems that the tensions of this world has made it so that both Klonoa and Lolo realize that their mission is not a measly task.
Klonoa and his friends face the snows of Mira-Mira in order to unlock the fourth Bell Tower. We can tell that the Mira-Mirans hate outsiders, not just because Master Baguji tells the group, but also because they are secluded from the rest of the world. Klonoa had to activate an old ark that once traveled the world to even reach the mountains.
It is in these secluded mountains that seem winding and confusing that Lolo and Klonoa both encounter some more trials. A Mira-Miran tells Lolo, when she asks after the Fourth Bell, “‘A bell? Sorry, we never venture…outside. After all, we can bask in memories right here…Just as art is a reflection of the soul, these mirrors are reflections of our past. Why leave, if you can keep re-living the bygone days,’.” It is clear that the Mira-Mirans are fixed on the past more than anything else. Throughout this zany colored stage that has mirrors and twists and turns to the puzzles it presents, the player hears an occasional bit of laughter that plays into the story of the game later.
As Klonoa traverses through the maze of mirrors, Lolo becomes bothered by images of her past, until she finds herself reliving a moment she was taunted by other priestesses, who told her,
“‘There’s no way you can become a priestess, being as weak as you are. Give up. It’s for your own good. You don’t have what it takes. You’re nothing but a failure and an embarrassment to us all.’.”
It is in this moment that Lolo is forced to come face to face with her past and this causes her to question her right to save the world. She realizes that the power that gained her the rank of priestess was through Klonoa’s ring all along. She tells Klonoa that she just wanted to show the other priestesses that she could become a priestess and prove her worth to the world.
The Bell Tower that they seek is an Old Tree, who issues the group a trial in the form of a boss battle. Lolo, in light of her realization, shuts down out of a sense of fear, doubt, and inferiority–namely, she is caught in indecision–and leaves Klonoa to fight the Old Tree’s trial alone. Klonoa pushes himself to the point of exhaustion when the boss fight becomes overwhelming. He is forced to look to Lolo for help, who eventually concedes to aid him once more, thanks to Popka saying,
“‘Who cares ’bout qualifications, ya dummy! …he’s [Klonoa’s] a simple fool who doesn’t know any better. But he keeps on fightin’ ’cause all he knows is to keep on trying! And Lolo, you’re just as bad a fool. The LEAST you can do is keep trying!’.”
Lolo comes to her senses and hopes Klonoa will forgive her. The Old Tree, after the battle is over, praises Klonoa’s and Lolo’s determination, telling them that feeling such effort is refreshing in comparison to the Mira-Miran’s indecision. The Old Tree allows the group to collect the final Element.
Leorina steals the Elements and allows the Fifth Bell to appear at the statue of Claire the Ancient, the Mother Goddess who was sealed away for being infected with evil, despite Klonoa’s attempts to stop her. She is also revealed to be a former priestess who desired power and became impatient with her progress. She swore she would get the power she needed to show everyone that she deserved more out of her training. When she unlocks the Fifth Bell, she tells Tat that she will show everyone in Lunatea the power she has gained. Until this moment, we have seen the power of the Fifth Bell refered to as “evil.” Lolo surmizes that if there is a Fifth Bell, then there should also be a Fifth Kingdom. Klonoa and the gang travel to this Fifth Kindgom, the Kingdom of Sorrow, to put an end to the growing darkness in Lunatea. Along the way to the Fifth Kingdom, however, they run into Leorina and must defeat the monster she has become through the overwhelming power she has contained in her ring.
Once Klonoa reaches the Fifth Kingdom, the player is greeted with a desolate, locked in twilight realm. The music is mournful, and only monsters inhabit the Kingdom. Klonoa once again hears the voice calling out for help and decides to get closer to it. Once the journey is over, Klonoa, Lolo and Popka are greeted by a gray clone-like Klonoa who addresses himself as the King of Sorrow. Klonoa and his friends also discover that the King played the role of Master Baguji. The King and Klonoa battle, with the King saying,
“‘When people encounter sorrow, they try to forget it, and pretend it never existed at all…If sorrow is so unwelcome here…Who cares if the world is destroyed…Let the world be consumed with sorrow. It was I who brought you, the Dream Traveler, this far…So that you can atone for the sins of this world, Klonoa!’.”
From this quote, the player can see that the King of Sorrow is bitter about the world forgetting him, and that bitterness has consumed him. At the same point, however, the King is also the character who has been calling out for help, so the King of Sorrow most likely wants to be saved from that bitterness.
Klonoa harnesses the power of the other four Elements, thanks to Leorina and her encouragement, “‘Klonoa! He’s a lump of pure sorrow! Show him the Elements from the other Kingdoms. Tranquility…Joy…Discord…and Indesicion! Make him remember, what the real world is about!’.” Once the battle is over, the King is turned into the Element of Sorrow with the promise the world will no longer forget his existence.
Upon the defeat of the King of Sorrow, Leorina begins rebuilding the Fifth Kingdom, and Lolo has given back her priestess rank and has vowed to achieve the rank on her own, stating,
“‘I need to work hard, too. This time, I’m going to make Priestess, on my own…I’m not giving up! I’m going to keep trying, even if I fail…I’ll be fine…because I’m going to do my best. And you taught me that it’s okay to cry, as long as I don’t give up.’.”
After Lolo gives her speech, Klonoa is forced to go back to his world, but he thanks Lolo for the adventure he’s had and the friendship they share.
As stated in the introduction, the Japanese title for Klonoa 2 translates to “Klonoa of the Wind 2: The Thing that the World Wants to Forget.” From this summarization of the game, we see that the inhabitants are human-like in their nature. They are peaceful, joyful and indecisive. They even get into fights. They live their lives behind the veil that they choose to hide behind, whether it is one of tranquility, joy, indecision or discord. The Lunateans have also labeled sorrow as “evil”, possibly because feeling sad doesn’t feel good, or possibly because the feeling of sorrow can easily consume the aforementioned emotions. Sorrow, as we’ve seen from the King’s words, easily lends itself to bitterness and depression, which could be another reason why the Lunateans chose to hide from the feeling.
Despite it’s bright colors and child-friendly characters, Klonoa’s adventure deals with a mature theme underneath. In essence, Klonoa’s journey through dreams reminds the player what it means to be human. Klonoa’s quest ends not in sleep, but in an awakening from the dream world of Lunatea. Lolo even has an interesting message for the player: Even when you fail, as long as you keep trying and doing your best, it is okay to feel sorrow.
After all, as humans, we all feel sad at times, but sometimes, we have been told that it’s not okay to cry or feel bad. However, society at times, especially in this age of information and technology seems to place values on the emotions of happiness, discord, indecision, and tranquility. Sorrow has little room in a growing child’s mind anymore, let alone an adult’s mind. Humans seem to try and hide sorrow and feelings of sadness because we want to let everyone deem us as normal and happy.
Klonoa, however, is a rare game that explores emotions in a positive light while encapsulating us in a child-like adventure. The game allows the player to remember why it is okay to be sad at times. Not only that, but Klonoa encourages players to value balance among emotions they may encounter as well as endeavoring to do their best despite the trials they may face in life. Klonoa and his friends encounter failure, but they also rise above their individual trials and overcome their obstacles while embracing the unknown, making them heroes that should be emulated and remembered.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
Aw man, this game is so awesome. The last time I played this was like 2001-ish and I was still in high school…
Such awesome memories! PS2 really had some amazing games.
Lovely analysis. I loved this game… in every stage I was playing I took at least 5 minutes admiring how amazing this game is… congratulations to Namco. This game is so wonderful.
Certain games from recent years, such as The Last of Us, have given players the ability to feel sorrow as well as contemplate other deep emotions.
Yes, I feel like this could be a coming trend in the gaming world, and this theme of the progression of emotions in games across various genres is something I will probably explore further one day.
Nintendo did well
It is quite sad to see that nobody is interested in these kind of games anymore, not that it was famous when it came out for that matter. It was my very first game on the PS2 and at first I didn’t even touch it I remember, but as soon as I did I was hooked. The music, the colors and the graphics are amazing in this game, especially considering how old it is.
But I guess that we’ll never ever see a sequel…
What I really don’t get is why Nintendo hasn’t picked it up, since it really fits their style. Maybe cause it originates from their competitor.
I love this game and i miss the old time
Klonoa looks like Pokota from Slayers. Just saying. He is one of my favourite childhood video game characters, thank you so much!
My childhood in one game
Kh and klonoa are stories are complicated for a kid oriented game.
Games like the Klonoa series are like…polished colored jewels when you hold them up to light. ^_^ It’s sad that games like these are so underrated while the ugly games get all the publicity. -_-
i wish the games of today were that good story wise, and voice acting was really superb for the bizzard langauge
Too bad the games sold poorly and namco just forgot about this series…
not enough advertisement and not enough exposure
it got high reviews and rated as one of the best platfomers for PS2 but it’s namco bandai’s lack of publish (most copies sold in japan)
This game is awesome, thanks for the article.
I absolutely love the Klonoa games!
The first game I ever played and I still love it to this day. I remember picking this game out every time I went to blockbuster.
One of the best soundtracks to a game, ever.
If namco ever made more klonoa games, I’d be happy, and if they had english dub as an option, I would see a good replacement voice or two for the main character, like Haley Joel Osment…
It was my first ps2 videogame. I’m feeling too nostalgic.
Loved this game, but unfortunately my CD got broken. I can play through halfway the game, but there’s a part where it will always freeze, and I can’t pass that. Such a shame. It was a very beautiful game.
never heard of this game before
it’s a damn shame this game isn’t on the PSN
By far my favourite childhood game
“Despite it’s bright colors and child-friendly characters, Klonoa’s adventure deals with a mature theme underneath. In essence, Klonoa’s journey through dreams reminds the player what it means to be human.”
I love this particular point of your article, because I find that the human condition is always at the core of both Klonoa 2 and Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. I grew up with both (although I never had the chance to finish the second game) and it’s amazing how much emotion is packed into these games that appear at first childish in style.
Even though we still get games that really tug at the heartstrings today, they’re a lot more rare now. Klonoa stands for me as a series that marks a specific time in video game history when certain developers really packed in a ton of feeling and immersive world-building into their games.