Headscratchers / Harvest Moon

The Series In General

  • How come, in all of the Distaff Counterpart versions of HM there have been across the ages, there have only ever been two bachelors with facial hair? And both of them in the same game? While I realize that most of the games have a distinct Puni Plush aesthetic, why is everyone so perfectly shaven? There aren't even any hints of Perma-Stubble on any of the characters! While I admit that I do prefer the clean-shaven look myself, not everyone does (heck, my sister, who's a bigger fan of the series than I am, admits she's got a thing for mustaches), and it just seems so odd to me. While there have been other characters with facial hair in the games, they're usually not bachelors...
    • Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade fixed this. Calvin, who is marriageable in both, has Perma-Stubble.
    • Griffin's got the greatest Porn Stache in the land. Gustafa's got a Lincoln beard, And Carter seems to have sideburn-muttonchops in fact, Rock and Marlin are the only one of the default guys in DS Cute that could be considered "pretty"
    • And Steiner.

  • Why is it that your chickens, cows, and sheep all grow old and die, but your horse and dog never do?
    • They do in Tree of Tranquility. Well your horse does.
    • Tree (and Parade) also have the weird issue where you can befriend baby bears and a baby boar, but they stay little forever. That's confusing.

  • Why doesn't anyone ever give me any stupid family discounts for marrying their kids? C'mon, Popurri, I'm your sister-in-law—the least you could do is knock a couple of G off the price of animal medicine for me! And Doctor—c'mon, man! You barely charge anything for a checkup anyway. Couldn't you do it for free for your wife?
    • Could be so players feel free to marry based on whether or not they like the girl/guy in question rather than weighing what benefits each potential spouse might bring to the table. Otherwise the one with the most 'connections' would have an unfair advantage... at least, with 'serious' gamers.
    • Julia gives free baths and Alicia cheaper fortunes in RF2.
    • You evidently have your spouse completely cut off financially, given that marriage doesn't alter your income at all. It's understandable that family members may not feel that they owe you a discount.

  • How come your guy can eat raw eggs directly from the chicken, but can't drink the milk from the cows?
    • You can! Haven't you ever tried?

  • Why does Marvelous remake or enhance so many of their games? I can't think of one that hasn't been remade or enhanced, though it's debatable whether the GB/GBC games are enhancements of each other.
    • Given how similar each game is to its predecessor (especially the more recent DS ones), it's more like they keep making enhanced remakes than new games, so why make remakes of a remake? The series hasn't changed much from its first incarnation.

  • Why is it that so many characters comment that they've never seen the Harvest Goddess? It's not like the way to summon her is ever a secret or even hard to do.
    • Jamie in Magical Melody knows how to find the Harvest Goddess and is good friends with her. For that matter though, in A Wonderful Life, how come you appear to be the only one who can ever see that abominable snowman thing? It's not like it hides itself that well, and Darryl is actively trying to catch it!
      • Well, your son and I think Hugh both comment about the abominable snowman guy now and then. So I don't think it's so much they don't know, more like it's a Mundane Fantastic. And as for the Harvest Goddess, she's easy to summon by the player yet omnipresent and mysterious to the characters for the same reason phoenix downs can't resurrect Aeris in FF7.
    • In Parade, the Goddess tells you that she sent Finn looking for someone who could hear her, and she's glad you've finally arrived. So apparently it's a rare ability.

  • Why was there never any meat to sell aside from fish, I want to sell my chickens off so I can roast them with potatoes or maybe a nice steak.
    • Possibly because they want to keep the kid-friendly tone of the games. Having your animals die on you is pretty traumatizing, how much more slaughtering them Shepherd's Crossing style.
    • There's also a theory that the diet of a Harvest Moon universe human is based on Zen Buddhism. If you've played Japan in Age of Empires III, you'd understand. The Japanese in that game can't hunt or slaughter animals for food, but can rear animals at their homes for resources. Fish can still be caught for food though. So there's a possibility that the same "diet" is implemented in this series.

  • When you cook food, where do the cups and dishes that it appears on magically come from? And where do they go when you eat them? Does the character just leave them lying around on the ground? Or are they special edible dishware that are consumed with the food?
    • Paper plates that are stored in the shelves that come with your kitchen. Once you done eating you shove the plate down the front of your jumper and dispose of it overnight. Probably.

  • How come you never get any income from your spouse? I can understand it if it's one of the marriage candidates that don't have paying jobs, but seriously. They didn't need to quit work just because the married you.
    • You do in Tree of Tranquility and Animal Parade, sort of. You can make them do chores for you which will earn you money.

  • Why is it you can only ever have one kid in the majority of HM games? Do they not like the implication that—gasp! Scandal!—you and your spouse might have a love-life? Of the two games where you can have multiple kids, one of them just makes vague references to the stork, and your wife seems to be mystified. (Uh.) To its credit, the other game, Animal Parade, allows you to actually choose if you want kids, and you and your spouse actually plan for them. And that's a plain E, so what's their deal?
    • Because having all of the events you had involving the child times 2 plus more would take FOREVER to finish playing.
      • Also the games are made in Japan. With a fertility rate of 1.21 on average, having one child probably seems perfectly normal to the Japanese.

  • Why is it that, in the entire series as a whole, there are never marriageable, special, mythical characters whom are male? Skye is the only vaguest example of a male character with special circumstances behind him, but again, he's not a mythical being like, say, the Harvest Goddess, the Witch Princess, Leila, the mute princess (whose name currently escapes me), or anyone like that. The only ones whom you ever see in the series whom are male and are of the same unique "race" or type like the aformentioned girls are the harvest sprites and some creatures. Why not a Harvest God or a dark prince that rivals him? Or even something else?
    • There's The Kappa in MFoMT?
    • And in Animal Parade, there's the Harvest King and the Wizard, who are (no offense to Kappa) much better looking, at least having the benefit of being humanoid.
    • In Sunshine Islands there's one magical bachelor, Shea (sort of like Tarzan), to balance out the one magical bachelorette, the Witch Princess. I think the lack of magical men was a distinct flaw in the earlier games which they're getting better about in the later games.

  • So how old are the main characters (and their courters) generally supposed to be, or assumed to be by the fandom? Early-mid-teens (that is, early in the mid-teen age group, not early to mid teens) in an area that has low ages of majority/consent/drinking age, late teens, early 20s? Are the love interests generally assumed to be within a year or so (couple of years if the answer to the earlier question is early 20s, such as the arbitrary assumption of 21 years mentioned above) except where otherwise mentioned?
    I figured late teens, since much later (late teens is actually pretty borderline) would mean that what references to age there are (such as the JBM about Calvin in Tree of Tranquility below, if the young man bit wasn't just Natsume painting themselves into a corner) should be at least slightly different. Much younger and it becomes absolutely ridiculous that (for example) a middle-aged woman is the second-youngest looking character in [More] Friends of Mineral Town even with the Puni Plush design, and that some characters who are ostensibly right around the main character's age are not only living on their own like the main character, but also at least one becomes a migrant worker and nobody seems to care.
    I'm not really factoring in drinking ages, ages of majority, and ages of consent here since those can vary a lot by location (though modern-era drinking ages are usually relatively high barring religious exception). (It's not something long since relegated to the "We Do Not Speak Of Such Things" file, is it?)
    • That's always bugged me, too. Trying to estimate age is just plain old brain-busting in Harvest Moon - like in To T and Animal Parade, you can get married, have children, and watch those children go from babies to school-age... and the other, pre-existing children in the neighbourhood become their peers and playmates, despite having been like ten or something when you first moved to town! Poor Gill keeps wearing his schoolboy-esque shorts even after he becomes a father, which would either imply that he is either disturbingly young, or else just kind of disturbing in general. I suppose the best case one can make is that the legal age for adulthood is pretty low in most Harvest Moons. Either that or everyone is a Highlander.
    • I always assumed them to be about 20-ish (I've only played AWL and FOMT and am going off of those two). The problem came up in FOMT with one of Mary's Heart Events, which it seems to imply that she's in her teens and that you're about the same age. It's also heavily implied (just short of outright stated) that Karen is an alcoholic. It may be safe to say that Mineral Town considers you an adult at 18 and allows you to drink and get married at that point (which fits with the customs of many countries, including the US for a timenote ).
    • In AWL you're in your early twenties, that's Word of God. So I presume the same is for the other protagonists.

  • Kate lacks Asian features despite her both parents basically being explicitly Asian. Why?
    • It's heavily implied she's adopted, and she makes a few comments wondering why she doesn't look like them...

  • What is with all the rough translations of Japanese food into English words? Some, I can understand (random Americans probably don't know what okonomiyaki ("savory pancake") is, for example), but seriously, "Buckwheat noodles"? And "rice cakes" bugs me even more because a) the food in question is NOTHING like a rice cake, and b) random dialogue from people like Manna (I don't normally eat rice cakes because they're "overeat") and Stu (I like how gooey they are!) PROVES this.

  • Running water: Yes. Television: Yes. Denim: Yes Phone: At least one game. Combine Harvester: No. Fridge: yes.
    • Combine Harvesters probably do exist but either the town the character lives in prefers rustic ways, or combine harvesters are just too expensive for most of the small farms in the game to afford.

DS/DS Cute

  • Why didn't Natsume change the names of the characters in DS/Cute? Too lazy?
    • Personally, I'm glad they didn't. It always makes me mad when translation companies feel like they need to change character names to make them seem more "American".
      • Actually, I prefer Skye's English name. "Steiner" kinda sounds like a hot dog company...
    • Maybe it was because the whole Generation Xerox thing in the Japanese versions was pretty pointless and confusing.
      • But the problem is that they kept the Generation Xerox in the American version, too. For example, talking to Gustafa while he's in his house causes this confusion:
    Gustafa: A man named Gustafa built this yurt. He lived his days wandering and singing songs.
    • No it wasn't. It made sense to me, much more sense then a bunch of people naming their children after their grandparents.
      • Why would they need to be different people to begin with? Their relationships are all exactly the same, their jobs exactly the same, their homes exactly the same, their appearances... You get the idea.
    • It makes the games more interesting and lets them somewhat expand the plot..In a confusing manner.

  • Why didn't they make Cody a special bachelor in DS Cute? He's single, he's probably younger than Carter and Griffin (two legit bachelors), and he even laments being a bachelor. The boys got four special gals, so why not a measly two? Did they not want to sprite "different" kids for him because he's Ambiguously Brown or something? (Well, unlike most of the men in the valley, he doesn't even consider the possibility that you're proposing to him if you show him the Blue Feather... Maybe...?)
    • For that matter, why didn't they make Daryll a bachelor and have Leia be the rival for him?
      • They probably didn't have Daryl and Leia as a rival couple because Leia is a special bachelorette in Harvest Moon DS (and also in the Japanese version of Cute), and special marriage candidates don't have rivals for their affections in the first place (most likely because special bachelor/ettes tend to have a ton of extra requirements to marry them, so including a rival would just add to the work). I don't know about Cody, though.

  • What's the deal with the whole Generation Xerox thing in the first place? It doesn't really make any difference whether the DS/Cute characters are the ancestors of the A/nother Wonderful Life characters, since the series loves to recycle characters anyway. It's pretty easy to play through the game without ever knowing they're supposed to be descendants of the original characters. Since all the DS/Cute characters look exactly the same as they did in A/nother Wonderful Life, changing the names and calling them descendants doesn't really make sense to me...

  • I don't have that many issues with the amount of special bachelors in DS Cute, since the Mineral Town boys are marriageable in Cute where the MT girls weren't in DS (...well, they were, but it ended the game), but they went through the trouble of making daughter graphics, so why didn't they edit the colors and patterns on the kid sprites for the bachelors? They already had designs for Rock's, Marlin's, and Gustafa's kids from Another Wonderful Life. It would make a lot more sense if Marlin's, Carter's, and Gustafa's kids actually looked like them...
    • IIRC, the Another Wonderful kids were just recycled from the boy version. It is weird, but in the case of Gustafa and Carter, you can chalk it up to recessive genes. Blonde and red are recessive colors, and they both have dominant black/brown hair, so if they have blonde/redhead genes buried in there, makes sense. Of course, if Claire (who'd have to have all blonde genes) marries Gustafa, it falls apart... and that has weird implications for Pony, whose recessive genes would be determined by who she marries. But if Pony marries either, or Claire just marries Carter, it still makes a kind of sense! Take it from someone whose self and whose sister had platinum hair as children, but two blackish brown-haired parents. (Now our hair's darkened to goldish brown so we look more like them.)
      • No, the Another Wonderful Life kids actually did get different designs than the kids from the boy version. Although this troper admits how they worked around Gustafa's Opaque Lenses was creepy (though fixed for the kid's character model, where he simply had purple irises instead of the concept art's big gaping purple circles of nothingness...).

  • Does anyone besides me wonder about shopping over the telephone? Whenever you buy something from Karen's store, for instance, she says, "Thanks, I'll put it in your rucksack!" (or something similar, at least) and bam there it is... but you're... buying over the phone. How...?
    • Since Teleport Stones have been made easily available (they're a mere 1000 Sprite Coins each at the Sprite Game Center, and that's not a lot), they're probably using those. They send the stuff by stone.

Island of Happiness

  • Why are you so stunned that the Witch Princess and Harvest Goddess know your name, but don't bat an eye when the Harvest Sprites reveal the same knowledge?
    • Possibly because if you do something wrong they could kill you. What's the worst a Harvest Sprite could do? Get stuck in your shoe when you step on it?
      • Perhaps the Harvest Goddess and the Witch Princess are modifying your memory?
  • You can't make boiled eggs or steamed milk without being told how first? Really?
    • You lost a lot of brain cells while being battered around by the storm. Not to mention you don't have a T.V. or computer, so you might go a little loopy.
  • Why are you the one who has to pay for bridge and road repair? Does no one else in town use them?
    • They're all lazy jerks and know you're going to be the one to do it, so why bother when someone else will do all the work?
    • Maybe the roads and bridges are built because you finally paid your part, while everyone else paid their part some time ago.
      • Which creates more Fridge Logic. Why doesn't anyone bug me to pay my part so the bridge/road can finally be repaired?
  • People will leave the island if you ignore them, regardless of their relationship to other people? (Temporarily, in most cases, but still)
    • Because thy're really self-conscious and beg for your approval.
      • And because you're the one with all the money and crops and jewels so you're the only one worth knowing.
  • (No Fridge Logic here, just bile): Okay, weeds are a part of the Harvest Moon series since forever. But where the screaming blue hell do those sticks and rocks keep coming from?!
    • My guess is that, since you're so close to water, any huricane or heavy rain washes them on land.
  • Why did the original island population leave? Even when some of the old residents pop back up, they don't say.
    • This one does get answered by unlocking Annabelle: They were chased away by bad weather. Of course that begs the question of why they didn't come back when things stabilized.
    • Supposedly, Shea was one of the residents, or whatever.
      • They probably settled elsewhere and were happy enough. It's only normal that they wouldn't return.
  • In sunshine islands, there is not one married couple. Usually every game has at least one or two happy couples along side the single parets, but all of them are single in this game for some reason, maybe the islands attract single people?
    • Yep, like those cruise ships for desperate people in their 30's.

Tree of Tranquility/Animal Parade

  • How old is Calvin supposed to be, anyway? His in-game bio in Parade explicitly refers to him as a young man, which would put him no higher than thirty and probably somewhere around 21-26. But if you court him as a girl player, he suddenly starts making references to an age difference between you! What's up with that? (My sort-of theory is that he's proven to be very shy around people he likes, and, being a traveler, he's not used to long relationships with people... So he's paranoid about anything that could drive him apart from someone he really cares about, even if it's a comparative molehill.)
    • It could just be a personality quirk of his. This troper's boyfriend is that way, despite there being hardly an age gap.
      • Probably this. 28 is still "young" by most standards, and if the protagonist is 18, that's a full decade between them. If she's 21 (legal US drinking age), that's still seven years. Some people get freaked out by an age difference of only five years, or even less in some cases. His face is also older-looking than most other bachelors, so perhaps he feels his age more because he actually looks it instead of being a fresh-faced Bishounen like most of the other young men in town.
  • What's Julius'... deal, exactly? You really can't deny that he's meant to be camp. I mean, he wears lipstick and eye shadow. But he's... still a bachelor? Is it like the male version of Bait-and-Switch Lesbians? Or is there some Japanese "campiness-loving" subculture I'm unaware of? (And I ain't talkin' 'bout Yaoi Guys. There are more than a few Seme/Uke types in the series already.) If he's just a straight man in touch with his inner fabulousness, or a bi guy who doesn't care how he's percieved, hey, more power to him... But from a character design standpoint, it confuses me.
  • So you start out the game and meet Dale, and he says he's worried about his son, who is in the Fugue Forest. So the time comes to go into the Fugue Forest, but first you need to get the key that has the only way into the forest from... Dale! Who states once again that he's worried about his son, who is in the forest. But the door's locked, with Dale as the only one who has the key. You locked your own son in the forest, you Blockhead!
    • Also Luke is in the forest until you find him but you can do that whenever you want. So he can be trapped for YEARS with no ill effects.
  • Just what exactly is the main character huffing down in those mines? I mean, "healing gas"? I can't be the only one who looks at that and thinks, "Pot."
  • Why can you only have three types of animals in your barn at once in Animal Parade? I wanted to have a Goat, but can not due to already having a Cow, Sheep, and Horse!
  • So. Chase and Collen. Both have that orange-pinkish strawberry-blonde hair. Both have purple eyes. Both are good at cooking. How the hell is Colleen NOT Chase's mother?! The fact that Colleen and Chase look so much alike, yet Collen is Maya's mother, makes me dislike the Maya/Chase pairing even more. I mean, the resemblance is so uncanny and disturbing that it brings to mind only two possible options. I'm overreacting, of course, but seriously...HOW??
    • I agree it's weird that Chase is marrying into the only other family on the island with his hair color, but it's not unprecedented. Simon and Barbara are the only family with green hair and they married each other. For that matter, isn't Mira Julius's aunt-in-law? Which would mean she married into the only other family with purple hair.

Grand Bazaar

  • What's the point of having rivals, if they won't get married?; honestly.
    • Magical Melody had the same thing; it's probably to not delete the rival system all together and make fans mad, plus it'd seem odd for everyone else to stay single. Not everyone gets married in real life, and not everyone gets married quickly, so it's realistic.
  • Regarding the Pumpkin Festival, how come the kids don't think chocolate is candy, but are willing to consider things that obviously aren't (pudding, cookies, etc.) candy? This is especially strange because chocolate was the go-to gift in Mineral Town...
    • Probably a cultural thing. In Japan, Halloween is more about the costumes than it is the candy ("Amature Night of Cosplay" is all the more true across the Pacific), and adding this holiday was clearly for the benefit of the Western audiences (though why they chose to call it the Pumpkin Festival in the first place makes little sense when it's not much to do with pumpkins; call it Children's Day or something, though I realize that's an actual, unrelated holiday in Japan). So, any sweet item could be seen as good enough through the lens of another culture. As to why chocolate no longer counts, the only reason I could possibly think of is that chocolate is connected to Valentine's Day, so maybe some Japanese Moral Guardians thought giving "romantic" chocolate to prepubescent children had Unfortunate Implications even they didn't like?

A Wonderful Life

  • How does Galen, the guy who looks about 70 from the start, OUTLIVE THE PLAYER? I was thinking he died between years 3 and four (after his wife Nina), and the Galen you talk to after that is a ghost, but...
    • The game takes place over the span of thirty years or so. It's sane to say he can live to be 90 - 100.
  • Am I the only one who thinks Marlin's crush on Celia in Another Wonderful Life is a little squicky? I mean, Vesta describes Celia as "like a daughter" to her in A Wonderful Life, and Marlin is Vesta's brother. I realize Celia doesn't have any biological relation to Vesta and Marlin, but the notion of the latter having a crush on Celia kind of rubs me the wrong way.
    • Vesta sees Celia as a daughter. But Marlin is young and closer to Celia's age. It's not like they adopted her, they just let her live with them while she works there.
  • How is it that Celia's heart events can be viewed out of order? In my first game file, I ended up seeing Celia's third heart event (the one where she has to go shopping) first, and this was when she only had one red heart in her diary (even though the marriage guide on GameFAQs says that Celia needs two or three red hearts for that heart event to be triggered). Is this some kind of harmless glitch or something (I've noticed that neither Muffy nor Nami seem to have this problem)?

The Tale of Two Towns

  • If you can make a wish to marry Alisa, why can't you make a wish to have any children with her as well?