The Fire Emblem Fates clickbait train has probably left the station by now, but I wasn’t going to make a post about it until I had actually played a fair chunk of it (3/4 through Birthright, Conquest and Revelation remain untouched). Most of the gaming press has focused on controversial localization (to put it mildly), odd implications of marriage possibilities, or Camilla’s…tomes. Much character analysis has been dedicated to Corrin and his/her royal siblings/adopted siblings, but today, we’re going to focus on a minor character who isn’t of noble blood, a wielder of a legendary sword, or a dragon shapeshifter. She hails from humble, rural origins, starts with poor stats, and is only obtained in an optional side mission. Yep, it’s the Magikarp of Fates, the villager Mozu.
Warning: Minor spoilers for Fates follow. Nothing is spoiled from the main plot, but if you want to enjoy her story through Support Conversations instead, it’s best to stop reading now.
Mozu is first encountered in a small Hoshido village in Paralogue 1: Tragic Start, she’s actually available in both Birthright and Conquest. Before her eyes, a horde of Faceless (ghostly zombie creatures) ransack her village and murder everyone, including her own mother. Corrin and company arrive to search for survivors and find only a terrified and shivering Mozu. She assists in fighting the remaining Faceless and, with no life to return to, joins Corrin’s forces.
Some players overlook Mozu entirely because of her low stats when joining the army, reflecting the fact she is a humble villager and most certainly not a soldier. For those who take the time to level her up, she quickly goes from nobody to nightmare. Her stats grow faster than most characters, and the effort begins to pay off after just a few levels, also known as the Magikarp Power. She shares this trait with Donnel of Fire Emblem Awakening, another country bumpkin that goes from frail to fearsome.
So what lesson is there to learn from just another unit in Fates‘s already large cast? As stated before, she is different from every other unit in the game. Mozu had no combat training before the destruction of her village. When she joins the army, she is as green as they come. In the beginning, she struggles to keep up with the others and is regularly tormented by the memory of her village’s destruction. Despite these obstacles, she perseveres through and discovers her own ways to contribute.
Despite her insistence she is only good for hunting and farming, Mozu proves her worth by utilizing her existing skills to accomplish great things in a new way. In other words, she innovates new opportunities to apply what she already knows in a completely different situation from what she has known. Within the confines of Corrin’s otherworldly castle, Mozu takes responsibility for growing crops to feed the army. According to a conversation with prince Takumi, she single handedly cultivated a field that would feed the army for an entire month. She also provides meat with her rural-honed fishing and hunting skills, apparently able to fell bears and large boars despite her small size. Her cooking impresses everyone who partakes. From a logistical standpoint, she can be considered one of the most important members of Corrin’s army.
Our lovely villager teaches us one more valuable lesson: Managing one’s own grief by helping others. The wounds of her destroyed village are still fresh, and in Support Conversations with other characters, she is often caught crying over lost memories. To cope, she dives headfirst into helping others. Her interactions with the Nohr royal Leo shows her actively seeking out ways to help her fellow soldiers while a conversation with Subaki reveals she distributed a cure for a nasty cold to an entire village. She teaches Corrin to hunt, and tailors wolf-man Keaton‘s meals exactly to his liking.
Volunteering has been linked to better mood and health, and Mozu’s acts of charity to her compatriots and others constitute the fantasy RPG equivalent. Author Jenny Hander, in her book A Place of Peace, recounted her experiences of overcoming grief of a lost newborn by collecting stuffed animals to distribute to children in poverty and in the years since her daughter’s death, she has donated over 2,000 toys to children nationwide. As Mozu helps her those around her, we gradually see her begin to heal, and though she may never completely recover, benevolence helped her find peace along the way.
Don’t bench Mozu as you play through Fates. Stick with her through her admittedly weak early stats, and check out her Support Conversations along the way. She’s a character we can all learn from, and an entertaining and endearing one at that. She might regard herself as a simple farm girl, but her rural wisdom and charitable attitude transcends the world of Hoshido and Nohr. Oh, and if you were wondering, I married her to that fabulous fox Kaden.
TLDR: The brave bumpkin Mozu teaches us to utilize old skills in new situations and to overcome grief and hurt through helping others.