Golden Sun is a series of turn-based role-playing games produced by Camelot Software Planning and distributed by Nintendo. The series consists of two games for the Gameboy Advance, which were released in 2001 and 2003 respectively, as well as a DS installment that was released in 2010. The two GBA games were two halves of the same game, broken up due to space limitations, while the DS installment takes place thirty years after the first two, starring the children of the original protagonists.
Despite the series' seven-year hiatus, it has maintained a very loyal fanbase. However, while most of the people who write fanfiction for the series are long-time fans, the Golden Sun community is notorious for its varied, explosive shipping community. Because of this, bad shipping fics, as well as random crackfic and character misinterpretation, are the more common forms of badfic to be found in Golden Sun.
While it is by no means one of Nintendo's most popular exclusive franchises, it was popular enough to have one of the main characters, Isaac, cameo as an assist trophy in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
All three games take place on the world of Weyard, a flat landmass with geography resembling that of Earth's continents. All matter on Weyard is composed of the four basic elements, Venus (rocks and plants), Jupiter (wind and electricity), Mercury (water and ice), and Mars (fire and heat), which in turn are controlled by the all-powerful force known as Alchemy. While the power of Alchemy was sealed away in ancient times due to the magnitude of power it held, people in various places are still able to manipulate the elements to a certain degree through a power known as Psynergy. These people are known as Adepts. While only Adepts can see and sense when another Adept is using Psynergy, most Adepts tend to refrain from using their abilities in front of outsiders.
While humans are the dominant race on Weyard, there are other races that exist in smaller numbers. A race of reptilian humanoids that wield powerful Mars Psynergy exist in the snowy northern reaches, unknown to most of Weyard. An isolated town of werewolves is discovered in The Lost Age, a few of which can use Jupiter Psynergy. A small town of Dwarves is briefly visited towards the end of Lost Age. Golden Sun: Dark Dawn introduces the Beastman race, which consists of people who grew animal features (or animals that grew human features), which are only seen after to the Golden Sun Event at the end of Lost Age.
Golden Sun Edit
The very first Golden Sun game was released in November of 2001 for the Gameboy Advance. It tells the story of a Venus Adept named Isaac who is tasked with preventing the ancient seal on Alchemy from being broken. Along with his friend Garet, a Jupiter Adept named Ivan, and a healer named Mia, he seeks to prevent a mysterious group from lighting the elemental lighthouses that will unleash Alchemy back into the world with potentially disastrous results.
In Badfic Edit
Within the game itself, Isaac is a silent protagonist, and while the characters have plenty of interaction, they are not very fleshed out in terms of character development, leading for many unrealistic, impractical, and at times even dumbfounding shipping fics based on the even the most insignificant interactions (see Shipping below). While someone might add a self-insert to mess with the characters or place a Mary Sue into a world where she can move giant boulders with the power of her thoughts in the occasional Golden Sun fic, it is not as common there as it may be elsewhere.
Golden Sun: The Lost Age Edit
Instead of focusing of Isaac's group from the previous game, The Lost Age focuses on a Venus Adept named Felix, a childhood friend of Isaac's who was thought to be dead, only to re-appear after the first game's prologue on the side of the villains. Since the two primary villains of the first game were defeated by Isaac and company, The Lost Age picks up with Felix, along with his sister Jenna, the mysterious Sheba, and the unpowered scholar Kraden, continuing on their quest to light the elemental lighthouses. While the latter three were all hostages taken by the villains in the first game, they soon discover the reasons behind their desire to return Alchemy to the world, and that the former villains might have had noble intentions that were understated by their questionable actions. Along with a mysterious sailor known as Piers, the group travels around the rest of Weyard to continue their quest, discovering in the process a looming threat that had gone previously unseen. This threat is enough to persuade Isaac and his companions from the first game to join them on their quest to return Alchemy to the world.
In Badfic Edit
The badfic present for Golden Sun: The Lost Age is identical to the first one, partially due to being a direct continuation of its predecessor. However, with the rest of the world opened up, as well as many new characters being introduced and expanded upon, the shipping quotient grew in proportion.
It should be noted that many fans dislike the name Piers, due to him being a sailor and a Mercury Adept, and prefer to call him by his Japanese-version name, Picard. They even had a battle cry, chanting "POW POW PICARD" on forums while the game was still new. Therefore, the mention of a Captain Picard in-universe should not be an immediate cause for alarm for unprepared agents.
Golden Sun: Dark DawnEdit
Released in November, 2010, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn begins an entirely new chapter in the series. The game takes place thirty years after the end of Lost Age and the re-introduction of alchemy to Weyard. The story begins with the three characters Matthew, Tyrell, and Karis, who are the descendants of Isaac, Garet, and Ivan respectively. When a reckless action on Tyrell's part breaks Ivan's precious soarwing, the group leaves Isaac's mountaintop cottage and journeys into the newly reformed world. They are joined by Mia's son Rief, the young prince Amiti, the sea-fairing pirate Eoleo (who was seen with his father in Lost Age as a toddler), the mysterious beastwoman Sveta, and Himi. What starts as a simple hunt for materials, however, evolves into a journey to halt a dangerous conspiracy that could potentially put an end to all life on Weyard itself.
In Badfic Edit
First, it must be noted that due to Dark Dawn's seven-year development time, there were many fics that sought to create a sequel plot to Lost Age. It should go without saying that some are better than others.
From the very first moment that Dark Dawn was announced, people were already pairing up characters, theorizing parent couples, and shipping kids together (see Shipping below for details).
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is still a very new game, and fanfiction regarding it is coming out all the time. The game itself ends on a big honking cliffhanger that screams sequel-bait from the highest reaches of Goma Plateau, but even as early as one month after the game's release, fans had begun to write sequel ideas and spinoffs even when the game ended on an immediate threat with less-than-ideal connotations.
Aside from all of this, the nature of badfic derived from Dark Dawn is, for the most part, unchanged.
As has been stated before, the Golden Sun fan community contains a large number of ship-crazy fangirls. Almost any character with a face, name, and at least minor significance in the game at large, has a pairing name that is coined on a prominent fan forum and used universally throughout the community. These names usually relate to the two elements of the Adepts involved. For example, "Mudshipping" is the name for Isaac/Mia, and "Windshipping" is the name for Ivan/Sheba. Alternatively, the ship names are often coined from events in the games themselves, such as Lighthouseshipping for Felix/Sheba, named after Felix impulsively jumping off the Venus Lighthouse to rescue a falling Sheba. Some more unexpected ships were even coined based on events in the fanfics themselves, such as Cookieshipping, which pairs Piers and Sheba together based on the first fic written about the pairing, in which the two team up to deliver a tray of cookies to Kalay on time. Some of the more obscure pairings are only prevalent in crackfic but were apparently prevalent enough to earn their own ship name, such as Laundryshipping, which pairs Garet with Isaac's mom.In certain circles, these ships are not to be taken lightly. Certain fans will loudly proclaim their shipping preferences in their descriptions and notes, and some have even taken shots at opposing ships within the stories themselves. Most notable are the Valeshipping and Mudshipping communities, who each believe that Isaac should be paired with Jenna or Mia respectively. These two are among the most loudly proclaimed pairings to ever strike fanfiction descriptions.
Since Dark Dawn focuses on the children of the previous heroes, ship-sinking was inevitable. It was revealed that Matthew was indeed Jenna's son, making Valeshipping officially canon. It was also shown that many characters who had kids did not have them with an established character, making any pairings regarding them all but completely null. It was also confirmed that Alex and Mia, who were commonly paired up due to their interactions, were cousins, adding a whole new level to the pairing. Despite this, shipping fics regarding characters that are not canonically interested in one another still pop up now and then, especially regarding characters that did not have kids with another established character. Hey, it can happen.