Introduction/Intelligent Species of El-Hazard
while there are millions of various species of animals, only one seems to have what
we call sentience, something in which we measure intelligent life. Humans are the
masters of Earth and rest relatively easy that they won't have to be sharing it
with another intelligent species anytime soon.
El-Hazard is a different case altogether. It would seem that several intelligent species are forced to share or even fight each other for control of El-Hazard. This has led to a long history of various conflicts and strife. Let us now examine the players in this ongoing battle for supremacy.
El-Hazardian Humans seem to be the most prevalent race of El-Hazard and indeed it
seems that right now that they have the dominant position. The humans control and
mostly reside on the western side of the Holy River of God where they have set up
their various kingdoms and their political alliance.
Physically, El-Hazardian Humans look pretty much exactly like Earth Humans and telling the two apart may prove a great challenge. While on the outside they may look the same, there are probably subtle differences in the El-Hazardian Humans in terms of physical make-up, body chemistries, metabolisms, etc from Earth humans. In essence, an Earth Human may have a completely different reaction to something than an El-Hazardian human would have.
In terms of culture, the El-Hazardian humans in which are the focus of the El-Hazard story seem to have a civilization that bears a striking resemblance to the ancient civilizations of the Middle East region of Earth, especially in terms of architecture, clothing, skin color, etc. Of course, there are obvious exceptions to this generalization, but on the whole, the Alliance lands could easily be compared to something to come out of Shahrazad's A thousand and one Arabian Nights.
The reason the humans have the most control in El-Hazard right now is because of their political alliance. This is their greatest strength as they share a united goal to maintain control. However, this alliance is political in nature and is far from meaning that all the humans share the same goals or desires.
That is where the humans' greatest weakness lies. It is merely 'Human Nature' to want things one's own way. This can be devastating to a fragile political alliance. Indeed, if one leader disagrees with the general consensus, this can lead to distrust and a dissolving of the political alliance and thus would leave ALL the human tribes open to an attack from one of the other species. The humans only maintain their control of El-Hazard as long as they remain united in their resolve to maintain their alliance.
They are the second most prevalent species and, indeed, the most immediate threat
to the human alliance. The Bugrom are a race of giant insects whom reside on the
eastern side of the Holy River of God in a heavily forested area where their gigantic
hives are located.
Physically, the Bugrom are broken down in various subspecies, each suited for various task within the giant collective (Please see the descriptions of each of the Bugrom types in the Character profiles page.) The larger, stronger Bugrom are used for heavy manual labor while smaller, quicker Bugrom may be assigned tasks such as messengers or maintenance of the hives. However, when it comes to battle, it would seem that all Bugrom have a role and everyone fights.
Where exactly did the Bugrom come from? There are a couple theories as to origins and they revolve around the ancient El-Hazardian wars. Since it seems that those wars did not involve the Bugrom at all, it stands to reason that their race came into more prominence sometime after those wars. One theory could explain their presence on El-Hazard much like the Phantom Tribes'. The Bugrom are from another dimension and were taken from their home world when the Eye of God was used. Another theory is that the Bugrom are actually native to El-Hazard but were changed by the Eye of God's firing. Perhaps the use of dimensional energies had an affect of the Bugrom and thus forced them to evolve into the larger, more powerful bugs of today. One last theory to consider is that the Bugrom have always been on El-Hazard but chose to stay out of the Human conflicts. However, after the wars, the Bugrom may have seen the opportunity to take over due to the weakened condition of the Human nations and thus focused all their efforts from that point on to that goal, leading to the now long and ancient conflict. Whatever the reason for the Bugrom's existence, it cannot change the fact that they do exist and thus play a role on El-Hazard.
The Bugrom are vast in number and they share a collective-type civilization in which each individual Bugrom does its part for the hive's survival. There is no real political hierarchy in which there are democratic processes and checks and balances to power. Instead, the Bugrom all take orders from a Queen who decides what is best for the hive and what the Bugrom should do to achieve those goals.
Recently, the Bugrom have received another leader in the form of Katsuhiko Jinnai. While he does not outrank the queen in terms of power, he does issue orders freely and is obeyed likewise. This may come from the fact that the Bugrom see him as a messiah who will lead them to having dominance over the planet. Since he has earned the Queen's approval, they blindly follow him, no matter how poor or confusing his decisions may seem.
It is this hive-mind that is the Bugrom's greatest asset and also their greatest flaw. With their sheer numbers, they can easily over-power a foe by simply outlasting them. The sacrifices of thousands of Bugrom are of little consequence if it helps them accomplish their overall objective. Likewise, there are no personality conflicts between individual Bugrom since their only desire is to serve the Queen and Jinnai, which mean that there is little chance of their nation ever being divided.
However, it is that same single-mindedness that has led to their weakened status in recent times. Since they blindly follow the orders of Jinnai, one bad decision can very easily lead to their downfall. Bugrom are very slow to learn from their mistakes and believe if they need to change their tactics that they will be told to do so from above. This can be a problem if communication between the main hive and the Bugrom out in the world is severed. The Bugrom will continue on in their last orders, forever is necessary, even if it is proving to be unsuccessful.
These traits are part of the reason why the Bugrom lately are not much of a threat. A few choice bad decisions by Jinnai have led to not only the destruction of their hive and their land, but also to the almost complete destruction of their race. Only a few dozen Bugrom at most are likely to still be alive. However, the most important Bugrom, the Queen, has survived and with her, the possibility of their race's revival is still viable. However, as long as Jinnai has the Queen's blessings, the Bugrom will follow him and that makes one wonder if their race will ever regain their previous glory, since it seems likely that Jinnai will never admit he made mistakes and thus he is destined to repeat them and the Bugrom are destined to repeat them as well.
While the focus of the Bugrom has mostly been on their fighting strategies and military power, it is not to say that they don't have a culture. We only have seen glimpses of it, however. We know that they have a form of music and tribal dancing, which makes wonder what other rituals they may have.
We also know that the Bugrom do have a form of religion and a mythos. Indeed, they believe that Jinnai is a messenger of God sent to lead them to victory over their foes. It is not, however, explained if the Bugrom believe in the same god as the El-Hazardians or how their religion differentiates. These concepts are left to the imaginations of everyone, though maybe one day a stalwart sociologist may undertake a study of the Bugrom to answer these questions.
The Phantom Tribe
A third race involved in the struggle for control over El-Hazard is more infamous
than well known. A race of blue-skinned people who can create illusions so real
that people could swear they could feel them. They are known as the Phantom Tribe.
The Phantom Tribe is a race that is surrounded by myth, legend and rumors. No one knows a lot about them other that they are known as ruthless and merciless assassins and have caused social strife wherever they go. They reside in the dark and dank underworld of El-Hazard, hidden from sunlight and constantly moving in the shadows. Few humans have ever seen it and fewer still have probably lived to tell the tale.
Physically, they look like humans, except that their skin in a pale blue color. However, a more experienced member of the Phantom Tribe can use their illusionary powers to look like anyone or anything so one may be next to you in a restaurant and you would never know it. Very little is known about their physiology because there has never been an autopsy performed on a member of the Phantom Tribe. For some inexplicable reason, as soon as they die, their bodies dissolve and turn to vapor.
The Phantom Tribe follows a leader by the name of Galus. He is a master illusionist and very much hands-on in his leadership style. He knows when to delegate tasks to his faithful servants and when to undertake something himself, such as manipulating the Alliance to fulfill his own goals. But what are those goals? It appears that Galus wishes to sabotage the Eye of God so all of El-Hazard is destroyed. That plan, however, is stopped by Makoto and Ifurita. During the final battle, Galus is badly injured. However, his final fate is unknown and no one knows if he survived or died and if he died, if someone claimed his leadership position. In recent times, nothing has been heard from the Phantom Tribe, but that may mean that they are simply biding their time and preparing for another attempt to fulfill their leader's ambitions.
But why does the Phantom Tribe wish to destroy El-Hazard? Why do they carry such hostility? This stems from their origins on El-Hazard. The entire race is not native to the planet, but rather come from another dimension. During the ancient El-Hazardian wars, the Phantom Tribe was torn from their home world by the Eye of God and was brought to El-Hazard. Their illusionary powers are most likely a result of crossing dimensions.
Because of their strange appearance and strange powers, the Phantom Tribe was immediately ostracized by the El-Hazardians. After all, if they had learned to hate each other for so long, do you think they would accept a race of blue skinned strangers with open arms? They were forced to live in the shadows, free from the hatred of the native peoples. As time passed, their anger and resentment at being forced to live like outcasts grew stronger until it became bred into them. A leader like Galus had probably grew up in the Tribe hearing how everyone hated him and his people.
And thus there has been a constant cycle of fear and hatred between the Phantom Tribe and the other races of El-Hazard, and a constant aura of secrecy surrounding the Tribe, which may mean that outsiders may never learn more about the Tribe other than rumors and myths.
While the Humans, the Bugrom, and the Phantom Tribe are the most prevalent species
on the planet, it does not mean that other species haven't displayed intelligence.
Indeed, we know of one other intelligent species of El-Hazard.
They are a race of squat beings, entirely covered in thick fur of a few bright shades of color, such as green, blue, or purple. While we never learn the name of their race, we do see a member of this race working as a servant at the Arliman Springs or at the Shrine of Water.
Unfortunately, not a lot of time is focused of this race so we never learn much about them. They do possess their own language and can understand human tongue but other than that we don't know much else. It is possible that these fur-covered creatures are not actually sentient, but rather a domesticated type of animal used for the purpose of servitude. Until more evidence comes to light, one cannot make a judgment one way or the other.
However, the whole existence of these creatures opens up the possibility of many more sentient races of El-Hazard that simply haven't been revealed yet. Who knows what one may find if they were explore outside the borders of the Alliance controlled lands?