I was dreading the final, iron Ark in the frozen lake...
... so I ran around trying to get everything I could get, first. Or, at least, all the things I could think of getting, first. So that was really cool. There were some things I know that I missed completely, but I couldn't get anywhere with the thief in the Sen-an city or with some of the other things, but that turned out okay.
I actually did the Ultimate Blockhead by just DOING it. Sitting there and following the points until finally, I got all eight in my head, and I just did it. It's good that, sometimes, the random sequence turns into something that's actually a pattern. The hard thing is that it really wants the dots in ORDER as well as placed correctly.
That was hard. But I got the pot of gold dust I needed to up the power on the lightening glaive and the tundra ice rosary, so that was great. Plus racing the deer-girl through the forest took a LOT of tries, but it was cool 'cause then I could get all the cursed trees uncursed and really find all the short cuts through the area.
when I finally maxed out on the solar energy graph and felt pretty comfortable with my astral pouches and the ink (it helped a LOT to have the Emperor's Gold Ink Pot and twenty inkfinity stones), I finally went across the rainbow bridge.
Like with some of the other boss fights, Issun warned me that there was a threshold of commitment. Unlike the others, he told me that there was no way back, and more unlike it, he LEFT ME! AGGH! :-)
Issun's really become part of the game play for me, and I felt mildly naked without him. Especially since I had the thief's glove, where Issun would just steal things from the bad guys whenever I did a stray brush stroke that included him. I'd gotten a LOT of treasure that way, and I'd originally assumed that I'd had to have that to catch the thief!
Which I figured out, this morning, that I didn't... :-)
But the ark turned out to just be a boss fest. *sigh* Five of the ones I'd killed off before, now easier with the tools I had, and one HUGE ONE that had two stages, with a surprise character save for the first and Issun 'saves' me on the second stage. I decided this was probably the very end, so I used up nearly all of my large, medium, and small (20 of each) exorcism slips. That was cool. I think I did more damage with those than I might have with weapons, but I ended up hacking away at the end, too. The Sun is Good. :-)
I was mildly disappointed in the end. The Issun part of it was cool; but so much else of the game has the instant feedback of "GOOD happens when you fight evil" that I wanted to *see* the ark get better and see the world get better the way it did when the earlier saplings were restored. But no such luck, just a sail off into the sunset. I stayed for all the credits, eventhough they overloaded my poor little PS2 and the sound came out all chunky. And I stayed and got prizes at the end!
I was surprised to have it say that I never died for the whole game, when I knew that I had, but I guess an astral pouch 'saving me' counts as a save. I never did run out of astral pouches, that's true. So I never died! Yay! I also was mildly bemused to see that I'd collected more than 5 million yen during the play of the whole thing and that I got pink blossom trees for all the final stats! So I got prizes from Issun for the "next game" that sparkles and says "start at the beginning". Whee!
I'd been thinking about playing it again anyway, now I'll have a more interesting starting place than "just the beginning" again...
I finally got the walkthrough by subsane this morning. *giggles* Because I wanted to really be thorough for the replay and I NEVER got the ability to split open those amethyst looking rocks, even with the extra head-butt ability. I found out that I'd missed out on "Deluge" as a brush technique, and now I can find all the beads. *grin* I now know that I got all the possible bonuses at the end of the first game, so that's very, very cool.