Posts Tagged ‘Neko’

A Talking Cat!? (Genshin Impact)

November 8, 2021

Genshin Impact (which I’ve posted about previously) is a cross-platform, anime-inspired game that I play on mobile. It has a metric ton of characters that add to a rich tapestry of emotional storytelling. Stories are told through a series of quests where you often get to know several (NPCs) non-player characters through dialogue and action. Sometimes you are saving the world and sometimes you are helping somebody with their errands. Some of these quests are funny, some are exciting, some are sad, and most of them tend to mix a lot of emotions together. One such series of quests is called Neko Means Cat.

The quest line is actually completely optional as it is an offshoot of an actual story quest. In the world of Genshin Impact, your travels bring you to the islands collectively known as Inazuma. Inazuma is definitely heavily inspired by Japanese culture and folklore. Your goal in Inazuma is to deal with the thunder goddess Ei who is also Inazuma’s shogun (military/political ruler) and see if you can convince her to be a more benevolent ruler and also help you on your main quest line. This goddess (who is only the latest in a line of thunder deities) is worshipped at shrines that scatter the Inazuman islands. Your adventures lead you to Serai island.

Serai Island once suffered a calamity. It was here that the legendary thunderbird, a former thunder deity was slain by Ei after the thunderbird destroyed two of Inazuma’s islands including Serai. The fallout from their battle left Serai island with a perpetual raging magical lightning storm at its center. The player teams with two adventurers named Eiko and Taisuke to solve the riddle of how to get to the center of the island to resolve the magical threat. The two adventurers inform you that four warding stones must be activated to allow you to pass through safely to the center and far above Serai (where you eventually slay a memory of the thunderbird and vanquish the magical storm). They have no idea how the warding stones work but, acting on a hunch, you follow some mysterious footprints.

Following the footprints brings you to Asase Shrine, a small building built into once was the trunk of a mighty tree but is now a stump. When you approach the shrine you are saluted by a talking cat!? The cat introduces itself as Neko and the provisional head priestess of Asase Shrine. Neko knows how to operate the warding stones but asks for your help before she will teach you. The actual head priestess, Hibiki, is away, and in her absence, the shrine has become rundown. She has you repair the offering box so that when Hibiki returns, there will be many donations in the box. After you complete the task, she teaches you how to operate the warding stones. It is a cute little aside in an otherwise serious quest.

However, I stumbled upon the rest of it randomly by stopping by to see Neko again. It turns out that she has a whole list of things she wants done around the shrine to prepare for Hibiki’s return. Once you complete a task, a new one is not available until the next real-world day. So, each day you log in after the start, you get to have a new dialogue with the talking cat and do some simple fetch quests for her. She has you clean up piles of leaves, do more carpentry work, decorating, gathering Neko’s kittens, and feeding Neko and her kittens. One of the big quests she has for you is to find a stone worker to create a statue in Neko’s shape. You bring an artisan to her shrine and the startled artist agrees to make the statue. After the shrine is all fixed up, Neko will grow impatient waiting for Hibiki (remember it’s been at least a week since you started the quest line).

You travel to the largest shrine in Inazuma and speak to the priestess there. You inquire after Hibiki and the priestess tells you a story of a Hibiki who was famous over four hundred years ago. That Hibiki suffered a setback and set sail back toward Asase Shrine but obviously never made it back. Neko is confused and you are able to prevent the priestess from declaring that Hibiki is probably dead. Neko wishes to go back home to Asase Shrine and wait for Hibiki, muttering to herself that Hibiki sure likes to go where she pleases. It is left a mystery about what happened to Hibiki but it does not look good.

Neko is a really fun character. Neko basically acts with the personality that most of us project onto cats. She is somewhat imperious but ultimately kind and loyal. She orders you and the stone carver around but she is obviously not mean about it. She just expects you to do what she tells you. She marvels at the things that humans waste their time on and does not completely understand how the shrine or other human things operate. She seems quite contented with herself and lounges around the abandoned Asase Shrine with a host of other cats and kittens. Everybody who meets Neko (you, your fairy companion, the two adventurers, the stone carver, and the priestess) are astonished that she can talk. Talking cats are not normal, apparently. She is also apparently over four hundred years old. None of that seems to be weird to Neko and she chides people for wasting time wondering at such things.


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