Hello and welcome to all you beautiful dragons, today we’re doing something a little different. This is a character analysis of your beloved protagonist: Neptune from the Hyperdimension Neptutnia series. We’re asking two questions, how does the console and company (SEGA) affect her character and which of her forms is closer to her true nature? So without further ado let’s get into it.
First and foremost it’s unclear how much the unreleased SEGA Neptune influenced Nep’s character. There’s debate on whether she personifies the SEGA Neptune or a fictitious console created by the game developers. For the purposes of this analysis we’ll consider it a mixture.
Originally the SEGA Neptune was planned to be an intermediate console between the SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis) and the SEGA Saturn. It would be a Mega Drive (Genesis) combined with a 32X but the project was cancelled in 1995, not wishing to dilute the market for the soon to be released Saturn. There isn’t much information on the scraped console so it’s hard to speculate any personality traits derived from it.
On the other hand, the fictional Neptune console the game developers designed, made in-game by Planeptune, specs and features can be found. Visually the console is nothing like anything available in reality, an indication of Planeptune’s technological advancement and focus. It’s shaped like a D Pad with each side being a CD Port. The primary colour is a solid black with neon purple highlights. It has many features that gamers can only dream of existing. An A.I. operating system, capable of automatically performing complex tasks with a simple auditory command. The A.I Model Neptune is designed to emulate a real human. It’s starting configuration is energetic and optimistic, making it difficult to control at times. More time spent communicating with the console the more it adapts to the owners preferences and less errors occur. Among the many other futuristic features are, a multiple split-core processors that emulate human DNA, the memory is beyond comprehension and has the capability to play 4D games, audio and movies; but the only other important feature for our purposes is the Play Controller. It’s able to output movies, music and can tickle you. How very Nep?
Now it’s difficult to determine what era of SEGA Idea Factory might have considered for inspiration. Let’s assume more modern SEGA, beyond the Dreamcast days. Looking at the games released in that time doesn’t hold much water. There are many different franchises made and released by SEGA including arcade games. Amongst all of them are many games that can reflect both sides of Nep’s personality so it’s best to try to narrow down the scope. It’s safe to say SEGA is most known for Sonic the Hedgehog and maybe those are the only games that need to be considered. Between 2001 and 2003 SEGA shifted to third-party software development. Deciding to stop producing their own consoles, SEGA started developing games for third-party software such as the PS2 and Gameboy Advance. Then between 2003 and 2015 SEGA merged with Sammy (a pachinko and pachiclot manufacturing company). Eventually Sammy completely took over SEGA after buying it’s remaining shares. From there SEGA experienced many changes but nothing that would have an impact on a character inspired by the company.
Above are the four different forms of Neptune. Her human form, Goddess form, Next form and older Neptune. It’s hard to connect her design to SEGA. The closest is the white and blue colouring in reference to the company’s logo. Except this blue is the wrong shade. Neptune has a light blue colour whereas the SEGA logo sports dark blue. Yes Neptune has a lot of D Pad imagery but D Pads are a staple for most controllers nowadays, including the ones with joysticks. So SEGA barely influences Nep’s character design.
It’s clear to see the bigger influence is the fictional Neptune console created by the game developers. Neptune’s goddess form and older Nep are the best examples with the black and darker purple colour scheme. Her goddess lost purple form resembles the console the most with the see through purple screen on her stomach. Older Neptune’s outfit is basically a pallet shift of regular Nep’s Parka dress with a few details and shapes changed.
Neptune’s personality has already been touched on in a previous post, be sure to read that for a more indepth take on Nep’s personality. To recap she is a happy-go-lucky girl with a strong sense of justice. She’s a bit ditzy but confident and optimistic. In her goddess form, she’s more mature and calm. She takes full advantage of her intelligence and observation skills. So what influence did SEGA have when creating Nep’s personality? As previously stated SEGA is bound to have released and/or developed games that fit both her forms personalities so we’re just going to focus on the company’s mascot: Sonic the Hedgehog. For those unfamiliar with the Sonic games it might be hard to see the similarities. Sonic is a free-spirited humanoid hedgehog with a strong sense of justice and adventure that’s gotta go fast. Couldn’t resist. Sonic can be reckless, charging into situations and fights without thinking. Generally Sonic is easygoing, cool, carefree, impatient and hates being bored. He has a lot of self confidence which results in an inflated ego, sass, quick-wit and cockiness. Quickly multiple parallels start to appear between Neptune’s and Sonic’s personalities. They’re both super confident, easy going and have a strong sense of justice. Looking at other characters in the Sonic series there isn’t an exact character that matches Purple Heart. There are similar traits here and there but nothing on the level of Neptune and Sonic. So it can be assumed that Idea Factory took inspiration from SEGA’s mascot character, Sonic, when personifying SEGA and the fictional console they made for it. Of course it’s also worth noting the fictional Neptune console. A console that’s A.I operating systems default configuration closely resembles Neptune’s personality, energetic and optimistic.
Finally, Neptune’s true nature needs to be determined, something which isn’t really that difficult. All that’s needed is older Neptune. Older Neptune is from the Ultra dimension and because CPUs are created in that dimension and not born Neptune never became a CPU. As Neptune has gotten older her personality has become a combination of her energetic self and Purple Heart. Leaning more towards the human form of Neptune that players are familiar with. Even though Neptune is believed to be a bit ditzy by other characters there are moments she uses that to her advantage. This information partnered with what can be surmised regarding the relationship between SEGA and the designing of Neptune, it can be assumed that Neptune’s human form is her true nature. Purple Heart is a mature, calm damper on her energetic nature when she needs it. Despite this, at times Neptune’s true nature will leak through when she is in her goddess form. For example, when she transforms into Purple Heart just so she can ride a rollercoaster.
In conclusion, it has been determined that SEGA’s influence on Neptune’s character largely stems from their mascot character Sonic the Hedgehog. And as for Neptune’s true nature it can be determined that it shines through in Neptune’s human form. The energetic, optimistic and friendly protagonist players love.
Thank you for taking the time to read about Neptune.This took a bit longer then I would’ve liked but what can you do. I’ll see you all in the next post.
Image Source: https://ideafintl.com/nep-v2/characters/
Cover image: Hyperdimension Neptunia sprite