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Headscratchers / Harvest Moon

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    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 Tree of Tranquility 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.

    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 gay 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.

    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?

Alternative Title(s): Harvest Moon Natsume, Story Of Seasons