Listen as the wind howls through the Evil Forest. In the three cutscenes in this post, the player sees the ominous nature of nature. Or at least that’s the way it’s portrayed in the Man/Nature binary we’re analyzing. Even in this first cutscene, the art style being much darker than the previous and the static background mixed with moving foreground and action animations ( the smoke) we’re left with a very uneasy feel. This is completely intentional of the makers and the music (or lack there of in the first scene) adds to this beautifully.
While this cutscene is short, only 14 seconds, it reaffirms the Nature/Man(Machine) binary but adds an interesting twist to it. We learn that nature is alive. The pulsing of the petals of the flower as well as of the red glow are all symbolic of a heart. And the cutscene is aptly named ‘The Plant Brain.’ Oh, and if nature isn’t quite alive enough for you yet, we get some creepy moving vines in this scene. But, nothing really proves sentience quite like the next cutscene, which is full of fun things to analyze. Take a look:
The first thing we need to take note of are a few plot details. Garnet was captured by the Evil Forest (quite literally held in a cage of vines on top of a monster see the image to the right). So we are, once again, seeing the ‘rescue the princess’ theme rearing its mario-esque head. Why it’s important to note of is because Vivi was also captured by the same type of plant monster. But, what’s this? Vivi is running alongside the other men while Garnet is 1. passed out and 2. being carried. How interesting.
And then comes the onslaught of the praying-mantis-rose creatures. They can be seen as the actualization of the popular metaphor of roses being beautiful but at the same time quite dangerous. And as if we needed more prodding into the Man/Nature binary, begin with the tentacle vines of doom. Of course, this onslaught is all with good reason; after all, Zidane, Vivi, and Steiner just destroyed the heart/brain of the forest. Talk about Metaphor.
There’s, of course, the character building happening with Zidane and his friend Blank, the one who gets petrified, (talk about significance of names) but more importantly, we see the petrification of the forest. So, after a few short hours, maybe a day, of human contact in nature, and the forest is completely destroyed. Talk about social commentary.
Well, did I miss anything? Let me know by leaving a comment and adding to the discourse!