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Ratatosk

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Ratatosk
Emil Castagnier
Information
Game Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Age 10,000+
Height 5'6" / 169 cm
Weight 132 lbs / 60 kg
Race Summon Spirit
Weapon Sword
Japanese Voice Actor Hiro Shimono
English Voice Actor Johnny Yong Bosch[1]
Character Designer Daigo Okumura

Ratatosk (ラタトスク Ratatosuku?) is the Lord of Monsters and one of the protagonists of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. He is also the Summon Spirit of the Giant Kharlan Tree, which was destroyed prior to the events of Tales of Symphonia.

History

Distribution of Mana

Some ten-thousand years ago prior to Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the worlds of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla were still one. In the world's natural state, mana did not exist; it was not until the arrival of Derris-Kharlan that mana came into being. Observing that the overwhelming energy from the ethereal comet would no doubt negatively affect the world, Ratatosk called upon the eight Centurions: Lumen, Aqua, Solum, Tonitrus, Glacies, Ignis, Ventus and Tenebrae. Along with his own power, the nine were able to evenly distribute and balance the flow of mana throughout the world. Ratatosk subsequently created monsters in order to sustain that balance, which lasted several thousand years. Ratatosk made his home in the Ginnungagap, where he watched over the gateway between the world and Niflheim, the demonic realm.

Fateful Meeting

During their travels around the world, Mithos Yggdrasill and his companions met Ratatosk and forged a pact with him, obtaining the Derris Emblem in the process. Much like his fellow Summon Spirits, Ratatosk was betrayed when Mithos decided to sacrifice all mankind for the sake of saving his sister, and thus their bond was severed. However, unlike the other Spirits, Ratatosk actively showed his hatred for Mithos and his friends, placing a curse on anyone who dared to enter the Ginnungagap with the Derris Emblem. After these events, Ratatosk fell into a deep sleep.

Murder at Ginnungagap

Sometime after the Journey of World Regeneration, Sybak researchers Aster Laker and Richter Abend entered the Ginnungagap with the help of Centurion Aqua. It is here that the two met with Ratatosk to try to convince him to reform the mana of the recently unified world composed of Sylvarant and Tethe'alla. Ratatosk ordered his Centurions to do so but with an additional task: to eliminate all humans and half-elves in retaliation for the death of his Tree. Further argument leads to Ratatosk killing Aster and to Richter dealing a mortal blow to Ratatosk that reverts him to his core form. Tenebrae flees with Ratatosk's core to Palmacosta, where Ratatosk, having lost his memories, takes Aster's form and the Emil Castagnier identity. Ratatosk goes into remission in this time, and the new constructed personality Emil takes the forefront.

Being Human

Ratatosk is awakened once more when Tenebrae feeds Emil the power to fight, and he assumes the appearance of a red-eyed Emil during battle. He is a marked contrast from the timid Emil, being loud, abrasive, and confrontational; this personality is eventually dubbed Emil's "Ratatosk Mode". At the beginning, he seems more like Emil's violent side and shares Emil's feelings, such as the hatred for Lloyd Irving, the purported leader of the Palmacosta massacre. As more Centurions are hatched, however, Emil stops remembering his time in "Ratatosk Mode" while Ratatosk grows fully aware of events even when not in control of the body. When Ratatosk begins to regain his former self, he also begins to love Marta and care about others on his own accord. However, when he regains his memories fully, he only focuses on the betrayal he experienced at the hands of humans and half-elves. When Ratatosk goes too far and tries to attack his friends, Emil snaps and calls on the power of Verius, the Summon Spirit of Heart, and faces Ratatosk in his heart. Unable to come to a resolution, Emil seals away Ratatosk and gains full control of his body.

At the Ginnungagap after defeating Richter, Emil tries to get the party to slay him by pretending to be Ratatosk. In both the normal and true endings, Marta sees through this act because she loves both Emil and Ratatosk, and she urges him to reconcile with his other self. When Emil faces Ratatosk in their combined soul, Ratatosk finally realizes that "kindness is not a weakness" and merges fully with Emil after one final battle. Now subdued from his new understanding, he begins to rewrite the world's laws so that it is not dependent on mana to live any longer, though it would continue to be necessary for magic and Summon Spirits. In doing so, he will close the Ginnugagap to all outsiders. He asks Richter to burn the mana in his body to help seal the gate he broke, but he says he will release him in the future when he can use the world's mana instead. In the true ending, Richter convinces Ratatosk to let his Emil personality free for the rest of that form's natural life. Ratatosk accepts, and Emil reunites with Marta.

Powers and Abilities

Though it was not fully shown how powerful Ratatosk is, there have been many references of Ratatosk's power, mostly made by Tenebrae, who stated Ratatosk to be exceedingly powerful many times. His core is said to be strong enough to be able to power the Mana Cannon by the Vanguard, showing that Ratatosk has that much power even in his dormant state. Along with that, he was the Summon Spirit of the World Tree, showing that he was powerful enough to be its guardian. Another depiction of Ratatosk's power is how his very existence keeps demons from Niflheim from entering their world through the door in the Ginnungagap. Ratatosk has powers of creation as he created not only the eight Centurions, but also the world's monsters to be able to distribute and balance the world's mana. His control over mana is greater than any other spirits, as he was even able to rewrite the laws of the world to be able to survive without mana, and convert all mana of the world to door that protected the world from the demons of Niflheim.

The mana from the World Tree seems to also have an influence in his power, given his control over it and the references to the disasters Ratatosk could have prevented if awake. Mithos even openly betrayed him and sealed him into the Ginnungagap to prevent him from interfering in his plans to control the mana system between Tethe'alla and Sylvarant. While still weak from being awakened, he is able to use Ain Soph Aur to instantly kill Aster, and then even engage with Richter in a battle that scarred the latter. He seems to also possess the power to control the fabric of space and time, as noted by Regal when Ratatosk teleports Decus, though Tenebrae states that such powers are used with limits. In Onshuu no Richter, Ratatosk is capable of teleporting himself in battle, which allowed him to teleport himself behind Richter to strike, which would have resulted in his victory had Aqua not gotten in the way.

Both Emil and Marta comment that Lloyd's protection from Martel means that Martel is that powerful enough to be able to counter even Ratatosk's power. However, Lloyd responds saying that it might not be because Martel is as strong as Ratatosk, but that she is only able to cancel his powers out on the basis that they are both Tree Spirits. When Emil plans to be killed by the others to become a seal on the door to Niflheim, Tenebrae states that it would take someone of incredible power to be able to match Emil as Ratatosk now that most of his powers have returned, to which Emil replies that if Ratatosk took control again, then Marta, Lloyd, and their other friends would have to band together to face him. The greatest evidence of how powerful he could potentially be was when both Yuan and Lloyd were cautious not to allow Ratatosk learn their plans, dus to how Ratatosk controls a vast network of monsters, and had Ratatosk learned the name of the new World Tree, he could have taken it from Martel, gaining control over the mana, thus making it impossible for anyone to stop him. This implies that at full potential, no other being was capable of facing him.

Appearance and Personality

Ratatosk's Core Artwork

Artwork of Ratatosk's Core for Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

Ratatosk's original form is not depicted in the game, as the only scenes featuring him before he assumes Aster's form are shown from his own point of view. Ratatosk states at the end when he finally regains all his powers that the form he has now might as well be his true form. However, in Ratatosk no Kishi Onshuu no Richter, Ratatosk had seemed to have a humanoid form that was obscured from view, and carried a sword.

In Onshuu no Richter manga, his personality was slightly expanded on in the beginning by Aqua, who described him as someone that is very dependable and thinks of his comrades, indicating that he was once a kind being but the betrayal he suffered had caused him to develop a hatred and distrust towards humans and half elves. His care for his comrades is further displayed as when he had hesitated to send a fatal attack towards Richter due to Aqua stepping in the way, a hesitation that had allowed Richter to wound him.

Ratatosk has an abrasive and arrogant personality focused on only his goals. He is violent and reckless, sweeping aside anyone that he considers weak, including his alternate self, and responds with derision when forced to interact with those he believes to be beneath him. One of the scenes of his violent nature is when Magnar and his men attack Luin and Ratatosk brutally and sadistically begins to assault them even after defeating them in battle. He is only stopped when Marta's voice brings the Emil personality back to the fore.

Despite his reckless nature, Ratatosk does care for Marta and genuinely wants to protect her, getting upset and hurt at how she tends to prefer his weaker side over him. He is thankful when Marta defends this side of him, and he gradually begins to do little things for her. In contrast, Ratatosk's dislike for Emil seems to stem partially from jealousy over the direction of Marta's affections and partially from his disgust at his other self's spineless nature. When he finally remembers his true history as the Summon Spirit however, Ratatosk ceases to show any care for anything but his own goals and powers. When he even begins to attack his allies in pursuit of his goals, Emil decides he has gone too far and calls upon Verius to forcibly seal him away.

After watching the battles that Emil fights on his own alongside the others, Ratatosk begins mellow out a little. When he finally speaks with his other self, Ratatosk speaks calmer and gladly accepts Emil's challenge to fight. Regardless of the winner, Ratatosk acknowledges that perhaps kindness is not weakness and that he was wrong for what he had done and what he intended on doing. He lets go of all his hatred at last, allowing Richter's self-inflicted torment to end once their mutual goals are met. Ratatosk expresses remorse for killing Aster, and he even finds himself convinced by the others to separate from Emil and to allow the latter to live his life out as a human with Marta.

Fighting Style

Ratatosk Devil's Hellfire

Cut-in image for Devil's Hellfire in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World.

In the form of Emil Castagnier, Ratatosk is Darkness-elemental and gains strength when Darkness is the major element on the Elemental Grid. His fighting style is rough and unrefined; he swings wildly and recklessly though with natural agility. Unable to use magic, he instead supplements his strike artes with the ability to alter them into elemental variations capable of easily manipulating the Elemental Grid to form pacts with monsters. Ratatosk's skills also heavily focus on aerial combat and the ability to dominate there. Though his moveset is identical to Emil's, he has one unique arte: Ain Soph Aur, an ironically light-based extension to his Devil's Hellfire mystic arte. He uses it against Richter Abend as a Summon Spirit, which tips Richter off to his true identity when he uses it again in his human guise.

Trivia

References

  1. Animethon 19 - Johnny Yong Bosch Panel Part 1 by anime4ever337 YouTube (2012-08-14) Retrieved on 2014-07-20.
    [Note that this source does not explicitly state that this character was voiced by the corresponding actor. However, this character is linked to Emil Castagnier in terms of voice and characterization.]


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