Klonoa 2: Forgotten but Not Gone
With the newly released Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, it's time to revisit the memorable Klonoa 2
After previously covering the childhood trauma caused to me by Klonoa: Door to Phantomile, I figured there’s no reason to not write about its sequel, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. Out of the two games, I found myself playing the sequel first. Only later would I play the original game, ending up quite scared by its content.
With the Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, which updates both Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil to play on PC, Switch, and current-day consoles (PS4, PS5, Xbox One), releasing this past July 8th, I wanted to return to Klonoa 2. Not only did the game receive the same treatment as its prequel, but it also became one of my all-time favorite games. This game surpasses the original even without a shocking twist featured in the first game. The sequel features an interesting story that makes the game unforgettable.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil
For those unfamiliar, Klonoa is the main protagonist who explores different dream worlds. The first game had Klonoa and his companion, Huepow, saving the dream world, Phantomile, from becoming a nightmarish version of itself. The second game starts after the events of Door to Phantomile, with Klonoa being forced out of this world.
For anyone worried they may need to play the first game to understand the sequel, I would argue that is not needed. The sequel doesn’t quite connect the first game’s adventure with the new one being faced, making the game more of a standalone. The only aspect that carried over from the first game into Lunatea’s Veil is Klonoa’s title of Dream Traveler. It’s a title mentioned briefly by the main antagonist, Ghadious, in the original, but finds itself built and elaborated upon in the sequel. It’s in Lunatea’s Veil that we discover Klonoa’s role is to travel into different dream worlds and help the people of those worlds with their problems. With the game arguably standing on its own, this plays into the game’s strength.
In the sequel, Klonoa finds himself in the land of Lunatea, rescued from the ocean by Lolo, a priestess-in-training, and her best friend, Popka. The two inform Klonoa he may be the hero that this world desperately needs. Being good-natured and helpful, Klonoa teams up with them to save the world and unravel the mystery behind a voice that continues to call to him. Along the way, Klonoa will encounter interesting and unique characters. For example, there is the sky pirate, Leorina, and her sidekick, Tat, who will attempt to sabotage the trio for reasons that may not be completely malicious.
The story of Klonoa 2 is a lot grander and packed with more twists and turns than the original. Nothing reaches the shocking revelation of Door to Phantomile, but the story itself is more eventful and doesn’t wait until the halfway point in order to throw wrenches at players.
What really makes the sequel’s story stand out, when compared to the original, is its themes and the way it handles them. If you haven’t played the game and are interested in diving into Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series, now is the time to turn back!
The Themes Behind Klonoa 2
Don’t let the colorful and cutesy game featuring a floppy-eared, cat-like protagonist fool you. The series features serious themes that may surprise its audience members, especially with its colorfully-designed cast. The striking theme found in the game is depression and the avoidance of sorrow.
The dream world we fall into, Lunatea, is split into four kingdoms: Tranquility, Joy, Discord, and Indecision. Each kingdom contains a bell that holds its element. There is also a fifth bell that appears in the world, that, if rung, will connect the bell and its corresponding kingdom back into the Lunatea fold. Klonoa’s task is to ring the four bells and gain their elements, all while avoiding and preventing the fifth bell and its kingdom, known as Sorrow, from returning.
The Kingdom of Sorrow was once a part of Lunatea, but ended up disconnected from the other kingdoms. Sorrow became forgotten by people and was eventually seen as a threat with the fifth bell making an appearance.
Klonoa’s task might appear shallow at first: attempting to stop Sorrow from making its way back into a world that doesn’t care for it. However, once he and his friends arrive in the Kingdom of Sorrow, Klonoa discovers the voice which called him for help belonged to the King of Sorrow, not wanting to be forgotten by the world.
The King points out to the cast that instead of facing sorrow and grief, people would rather forget it. However, it comes at a price: an entire kingdom of people will end up forgotten because of this purposeful choice by the other kingdoms.
"When people encounter sorrow, they try to forget it, and pretend it never existed at all. So I used the ark to lift Lunatea's Veil." - King of Sorrow.
There are other characters featured in the game that show symptoms of depression. One of them is Lolo, the priestess-in-training. Lolo takes over for Huepow as the power source for Klonoa’s ring in this game. Through Klonoa’s achievements, she gains the priestess title. However, we find out through flashbacks her peers actually mocked Lolo for her many failures and that if it weren’t for Klonoa, she wouldn’t have gained the title at all.
In the game, it’s clear that Lolo has low self-esteem and often feels guilty for having to rely on Klonoa. In her eyes, she feels as if she’s using him in order to show those who doubted her what she’s capable of, despite not doing the heavy lifting. When Klonoa discovers her memories, she shuts down and refuses to even help Klonoa in a fight, believing her help will be worthless. It’s only after Popka gives her a pep talk that she recovers and keeps going.
What makes Lolo’s journey interesting is that at the end of the game, she gives up the priestess role, wanting to earn it for herself after Klonoa leaves. She shares that she now knows it’s okay to fail and to experience sorrow, as long as she doesn’t give up.
From the other side of the morality scale, we have Leorina, a once priestess-in-training who grew bitter at the world, believing she could do more than what her environment allowed her. Unlike Lolo, who wants to prove her worth, Leorina knows her worth too well and stops at nothing to achieve it. She wants to save the world out of pure ego, acting hostile to those in her way until sorrow overtakes her. Only after Klonoa saves her from her own sorrow does she realize her mistakes and helps Klonoa arrive at the Kingdom of Sorrow.
This brings us back to the King of Sorrow, forgotten by the world due to people repressing sorrow and treating sorrow as something that must be avoided at all costs. The game tasked Klonoa with defeating the king and preventing sorrow from coming back to the world. However, realizing the King of Sorrow isn’t a villain, but someone who wants himself and his people to continue to exist, Klonoa defies his original goal. He ends the game by freeing the King of Sorrow and reconnecting the kingdom back to Lunatea with Leorina heading the restructuring.
With these characters representing sorrow and its impact when purposely repressed, the theme of depression connects back to Klonoa himself.
Unlike the first game, Klonoa has no personal stakes in this game, as he’s fully aware of his role as Dream Traveler. He develops a strong bond with Lolo and Popka, but he suffers no tragic losses or devastating revelations as in the first game, which again, are not mentioned. After replaying the game through the remaster, however, something struck me.
The King of Sorrow represents Klonoa’s sorrow from the first game.
They’re both visually similar, with the King of Sorrow having a similar physique, wearing a large collar around his neck as Klonoa did in his first game, not to mention the long ears. His backstory revolves around the world of Lunatea banishing his kingdom from the rest of the world and refusing to accept him back. This is reminiscent of how Klonoa was pulled away from Phantomile due to him not actually being a part of it.
Klonoa’s goal in the game, which is to stop sorrow from returning to the world, could represent his denial of Huepow’s lies. By eventually helping the King of Sorrow, he ended up fully processing his sadness and accepting his role and duty as the Dream Traveller.
Before Klonoa leaves Lunatea, he shares with Lolo a memorable line, “I believe that if you remember the sadness of this moment…we’ll always be together.” It’s a unique line that felt reminiscent of what Huepow shared with him in the first game. Klonoa himself finally accepted sorrow, and for a while, he feared it, but his journey taught him that sadness is also a reminder of happier times that will never go away.
Tranquility, Joy, Discord, and Indecision cannot exist without Sorrow, and Sorrow, in turn, cannot exist without them.
Going back to these games years later is always a treat because I get to pick up on things that I never noticed before. With every new detail discovered, my appreciation for them grows ever greater. It is too bad that Klonoa never got to shine among the greats in terms of sales, but I’ll take it for the joy and wonderful times we got with him, regardless.
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