Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The Kappa in Animal Parade
The Kappa, like the Harvest Goddess and the Witch Princess, is an important character in Harvest Moon. In 'Friends of Mineral Town' and 'More Friends of Mineral Town', you could throw offerings in the form of his favourite Cucumbers to the Kappa into the Lake on a daily basis until he finally rewarded you with a Blue Power Berry. In 'More Friends of Mineral Town', you actually could court and marry the Kappa and have a very human baby with him. Like the Harvest Goddess, the more beautiful and desirable Eligible counterpart in FoMT, he would not deign to share your bed or home. I myself found the prospect of marriage to the Kappa a little repugnant, despite his magical abilities. The fact that his head is shaped to create a bowl at the top, allowing him to carry the water he needs to survive on the top of his head, is not the only aspect of his appearance that is a little off=putting to a human woman such as myself. Traditionally, in Japanese lore, he was believed to be a sort of vampire, preying upon horses in particular, dragging them off to his watery lair.
In both FoMT and MFoMT, you actually could catch the Kappa with your Fishing Rod although, like the King Fish, you could not keep your catch... You automatically would toss him back into the lake. It is a random occurrence. The first time it happened to me, I was so terrified that he would detest me forever that I reloaded my game at once! I later realised that there were no lasting ill effects to catching the Kappa on the end of your hook...
Which brings me to Animal Parade, and the appearance of the Kappa on rainy days in Harmonica Town. Simon, when he gives you an Old Camera, urges you to take 'lots of pictures'. In fact, using your camera is the only way to change your point of view in terms of camera angle in Animal Parade. Incidentally, you can see him at night as well but only when it rains. On a sunny day, he will not appear.
There are many interesting details to be seen if you use your camera. For those who have attained all goals, finding little bizarre objects such as a Garden Gnome behind the tree in the northwest corner of your own farm is only one of the delights to enhance your life... A rubber duck can be found as well, but only when visibility is good on 'fine' days.
Note that these objects constitute a sort of ongoing 'Treasure Hunt' in themselves as they WILL move from location to location even in a single game. The Garden Gnome, situated beneath the large tree in the northwest corner of my Field appeared quite suddenly next to the Hot Spring on the night of a Typhoon. The next morning at 6.00 a.m., it had vanished and was neither beneath the large tree NOR beneath the small Tree at the Hot Spring.
Other players have seen the Rubber Duck floating... this item still remains lodged in the upper window of my Watermill.
You will see the Kappa if you use your camera while standing on the bridge at the entrance to Harmonica Town. You need to use the 'Zoom' feature to be able to see him properly. With your camera, you can capture a photograph of him for your Album.
Sadly, when I play Harvest Moon and Rune Factory nowadays, I often am so concerned to copy out all price lists and shipping values for items as well as logging all important Events that I sometimes lose sight of the sheer pleasure of living in the Harvest Moon or Rune Factory universe. The 'view through the lens' in Animal Parade, as well as Simon's recurring advice, should provide me with a gentle reminder that life is meant to be enjoyed. In Animal Parade, characters often tell you not to try to do everything at once, to 'go at your own pace' and to relax a little...
Little treats such as the view of the Kappa peering out of the water provide ample reason to spend a little time sightseeing between farm and ranch chores and the need to catch fish and mine for gems and ores.
I probably should add that, where the Kappa is concerned in Animal Parade, it appears to be impossible to befriend him. I took his traditional favourite Cucumbers to the bridge and tried in vain to throw them into the water as an offering. No matter where I stood, whether on the bridge or below it on the pier, the only options I obtained while holding a Cucumber were the usual ones of 'Eat' and 'Put Away'. Oh well, I hope that he will be aware of my attempts at least and not drag my Horse into the water, even if I will not be able to persuade him to help with the watering.
As mentioned earlier, in traditional Japanese lore, the Kappa has a particular fondness for Horses and tends to make off with them, dragging them into the murky depths of his watery home. The Japanese would write messages on Cucumbers, including the names of their children, then throw them into the water as propitiary offerings to the Kappa to look upon them with favour. When befriended, the Kappa often would aid farmers by watering their crops. No doubt he would use that little bowl of water situated so conveniently on the crown of his head...
N.B. I would like to thank Kickastina who alerted me to the presence of the Kappa on rainy days in Animal Parade... I needed a break from typing out lists of shop upgrades!