Despite its mixed gameplay reception, Tales of Luminaria is the most engaged I’ve ever been by any gacha and mobile game. Its character writing and divisions of episodes make for an appealing delivery of content. Due to how there are 21 protagonists, I’ve decided to provide overviews of each Character Episode, partially for my sake, to keep up on character relationships and revealed factoids. These pieces are also meant to adequately supplement the notes I take during each Episode.
Today, I’ll be going over Celia Arvier’s first Character Episode, The Selection Exam. Unfortunately, because this game is in portrait mode, screenshots would look more than a bit awkward, so they’ll be absent.
When starting, Celia reflects on her friendships with Hugo Simon and Leo Fourcade, her two childhood friends. All 3 of them have remained inextricably close over the years. Celia, however, finds herself seemingly inferior to them, thinking of her role as being supportive and not much more. Further, she’s been experiencing a gnawing sensation of distress where she feels as if Leo and Hugo have been gradually leaving her behind.
Chapter 1 – The Misfits
After the opening sequence, instructor Lisette Regnier of Aedis Knight Academy introduces herself as she initiates the Blaze selection exam. This test consists of 32 top cadets paired across 16 teams fighting each other in select arenas across various terrain. The last pair remaining will be the subsequent 2 entrants for Blaze, a class of the true adept.
As the exam begins and each cadet traverses the forest to find their assigned partner, Celia inwardly reveals that she’s the second-lowest ranked cadet, being number 31 of 32. Additionally, Hugo is ranked 1, while Leo is ranked 2. For the sake of team balance, Celia believes her teammate should be someone highly ranked, perhaps even Hugo or Leo. However, when Celia meets her teammate, Michelle Bouquet, her hopes are dashed.
As it turns out, Michelle is the 32nd ranked cadet, being the statistically worst possible outcome. Celia blatantly spells out her frustration with Michelle, though she quickly apologizes. The two then traverse the fields to find their first assigned matchup. Celia is still perturbed by this partner choice because of how unbalanced it is, though Michelle doesn’t react in quite the same way.
Michelle brings up how, at her grandfather’s clinic, peoples’ suffering isn’t equally or fairly distributed, making this current situation not worth stressing over in her book. Celia sees how mature Michelle is, and the two bond, quickly getting to a comfortable first-name basis. Eventually, the two get trapped in a barrier of some sort, leading to Michelle gradually destroying it.
Impressed by her skill, Celia inquires why she isn’t ranked more highly, to which Michelle reveals that her nerves got the best of her during her entrance exam, so the instructors weren’t aware of her actual aptitude. Of course, this leads to Celia’s inferiority strengthening, making her truly feel like the worst chosen cadet.
As they continue on their trek, Michelle states how she’s grown to highly respect and admire Celia for how she looks after Hugo and Leo. Taken aback by the overflow of compliments, Celia asks Michelle why she decided to join the military at all. Michelle says that it was simply to help people, and despite her position at her grandfather’s clinic, the reality of what is done in that setting turned her off from the prospect. She doesn’t go into strict detail, though.
As Celia laments over the faulty team balance for the umpteenth time, Michelle theorizes that a potential reason for these odd team-ups is to awaken the untapped potential residing within cadets. Celia undoubtedly yearns for that to occur, but the realist and cynical side of her wins out, still finding their odds of victory practically nonexistent, especially when taking into account that they’ll likely battle Hugo and Leo.
Finally, the duo reaches their first assigned matchup. Seeing that their opponents are sabotagers who tried to disrupt them earlier, Celia and Michelle take great pleasure in defeating them.
Chapter 2 – Overcoming Adversity
Celia and Michelle are pretty thrilled by their victory, though the former doubts their ability to prevail overall. In an effort to get to know her better, Michelle asks Celia why she uses a bow in battle, a rather unconventional weapon for someone in their position. Celia states that it’s an ideal weapon for her strong eyesight and that it’s also suitable for aiding Leo and Hugo afar due to them both being sword-users. A random yet humorous exchange occurs somewhere around here where princesses are brought up, and Michelle’s line of “The best princesses are always tomboys” when referring to Celia got a chuckle out of me.
Slightly musing to herself, Celia remarks on how the 3 of them grew up together in the same village, though the setting is mentioned in the past tense, implying that it’s no longer around.
The two approach a forest to find their next bout and note how a recent storm has caused significant damage to the area, making traversal a heftier chore than usual. The standard paths are obstructed, leading to the 2 cadets battling through a side path full of monsters. Primarily thanks to Celia’s strategical prowess and confidence, they prevail against continual waves of monsters. As Michelle goes back to handing out her praise, Celia insists that her intuition with enemy positioning and tactical knowledge is just natural for her following her endless outings with Leo and Hugo. Being as kindhearted as ever, though, Michelle is even more impressed.
At a clearing, the two encounter upperclassman Maxime Hasselmans, another presider of this exam. He is noticeably irritated by how long they took to arrive. That frustration morphs into shock, though, when Celia and Michelle grow perplexed by his mention of a guide. It turns out that there was supposed to be someone guiding Celia and Michelle through the forest due to its current state. And, well, Maxime accidentally dismissed the guide after they brought the opposing team over.
Fueled by annoyance, the duo prevail in their next bout, earning them the opportunity to progress further.
Chapter 3 – What Awaits Within
Now in a cave, Celia’s self-perceived inadequacy amplifies drastically, causing Michelle to smartly realize that the main reason Celia is ranked so lowly is her mentality rather than any apparent lack of combative skill. Celia instantly resigns herself to being lower than Leo and Hugo by default and fails to acknowledge her strengths. This anxious state even causes Celia to feel as if Leo and Hugo won’t need her anymore.
Still, she does admit that while part of her would feel satisfied with Leo and Hugo passing the exam and becoming the next Blaze members, another part of her yearns to overcome this fault and move out from their vast shadows.
Michelle’s personality is focused on for a bit afterward. A pretty funny line of her talking about the cave beasts being close to their mothers causes Celia to remark how those comments make battling them difficult. These types of interactions are great as they’re simultaneously informative and entertaining for characterization and specific relationships. Next, Michelle grows worried for their next opponents, following a particularly vicious monster cry echoing throughout the caverns. Celia can’t help but be astonished by her kindness.
When the duo reaches the next bout location, they see that a monster has harmed the combatants. While an upperclassman is around to take care of it, Michelle takes the initiative, infecting Celia with enthusiasm as they take the place of the injured upperclassman and kill the monster themselves.
Due to this showing of bravery, the upperclassman allows for Celia and Michelle to progress, finally reaching the last match.
Chapter 4 – Celia’s Resolve
Back at Aedis Knight Academy, Celia and Michelle make their way to the training grounds. Maxime and another upperclassman, Lucien Dufaure, wish them luck in their battle.
As expected, Hugo and Leo are present alongside Lisette. Hugo has fangirls rooting for him too. Taken aback by Celia’s arrival, Leo and Hugo express their desire for her and Michelle to drop out due to their differences in fighting style. However, it’s easily perceptible that they simply don’t want to fight Celia and perhaps don’t even see her as a threat.
This causes Michelle to erupt in pure anger, and rightfully so. She finds their remarks to be insulting to them and every cadet member who has taken this exam. Celia finally snaps out of her inadequacy, declaring her desire to lead Hugo and Leo instead of being led like she always has.
Finally, the two teams battle, and Celia and Michelle emerge victoriously. While Leo and Hugo still end up being in Blaze due to the top brass finding their performance remarkable, they are merely provisionary members. On the other hand, Celia and Michelle are fully-fledged members of Blaze.
This first Episode is an undeniably strong start for Celia, directly highlighting her inner conflict and her sensical and endearing growth. Her friendship with Michelle felt genuine despite its suddenness and context, and I’m eager to see where this archer goes from here.
Celia’s second character Episode will be called Mercy and Resolve.
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