A fun and unique exploration

Genshin Impact version 2.8's Summer Fantasia event brought us back to the beloved Golden Apple Archipelago and gave us a very unique way to know the characters of Fischl, Mona, Xinyan and Kazuha more... by exploring domains and solving puzzles.  (Photo: HoYoverse)

Genshin Impact version 2.8’s Summer Fantasia event brought us back to the beloved Golden Apple Archipelago and gave us a very unique way to know the characters of Fischl, Mona, Xinyan and Kazuha more… by exploring domains and solving puzzles. (Photo: HoYoverse)

Our return to the beautiful Golden Apple Archipelago was nothing short of extraordinarily wonderful.

With Genshin effect version 2.8’s Summertime Fantasia event, we’ve encountered new stories, new friends, and new questions while exploring the islands—each with a special connection to our motley crew of Fischl, Mona, Kaedehara Kazuha, and Xinyan.

Each story, told through its own mirages, was unique, heartwarming, and at times gut-wrenchingly relatable.

Who knew that exploring domains and solving (sometimes very difficult) puzzles would be such a great way to bring depth to characters we thought we already knew?

Here are my thoughts on each domain!

A dream about Bonsai

Kazuha’s story has finally been explored further in his own little island domain.

Set in Pudding Isle, we find his heirloom bonsai plot (the one we found during the Raiden Gokaden storyline involving the mysterious Fatui Harbinger Scaramouche in the Irodori Festival) placed neatly on a small islet, with his signature maple tree motif.

We learn his bittersweet past as we explore a mysterious domain after his childhood home accessed by touching the bonsai pot, and witness his struggles as the successor to his dying family name.

In the end, Kazuha’s family could not rise from the shame they had faced during Raiden Gokaden’s fall, and so Kazuha was left an orphan with only a few possessions to his name.

It was indeed a tragic time for Kazuha, but as he waited for us as we learned his story, he came to terms with the fact that the wandering life was indeed his true calling, and that the tragedy of his past was no obstacle to his freedom from his clan’s fall from grace.

In a way, we learn that our past should not be shackles to our growth as people. We are free to choose who we want to be.

But even though he lives a life without connections that tie him to a place, he still regrets and wants to be connected.

As we end his domain, he decides to give life to his beloved heirloom bonsai pot, and begins to create a stone bonsai, like his father before him.

Rock on

Xinyan’s domain, located on the singing islands of the Broken Isle, can be accessed via a drum, which is most appropriate as Xinyan values ​​her love of music and self-reliance the most.

Many gamers may have resonated with her story as we explore her struggle to be rejected by the people around her solely because of her rock musician aesthetic and the music she chooses to play.

It’s a sad reality that most people face when they choose the path of creativity in a world that values ​​”practicality” or “elegance” – most clearly when we meet Liyue citizens who either chastise her for her lack of ladylike qualities or her music is too loud .

But Xinyan imbued her “Rock Spirit” through all the obstacles she faced, blowing away the disdain she received from the people around her with her overflowing optimism and positivity.

In the end, we get a hopeful message about acceptance and individuality, and that nothing anyone can say should deter us from pursuing our passions and showing our unique styles.

“I am you…you are I…”

Fischl's domain gave me heavy Persona vibes, I half expected her to sing

Fischl’s domain gave me heavy Persona vibes, I half expected her to sing “I am you, you are I…” and summon Oz as her Persona. (Screenshot courtesy of HoYoverse)

Fischl’s story is bittersweet.

As we explored each domain, we found that Fischl seemed to become hesitant and withdrawn from us, certainly wanting to avoid exploring his own past through his domain. It was actually understandable why when we finally experienced it.

We end up on the Twinning Isle where we gain access to her domain through a book, which transports us into the majestic realm of the Immernachtreich, as well as what we deduce to be Fischl’s childhood home.

For people like me who maxed out the friendship level with Fischl, we find out her true identity as a lonely girl named Amy who found solace in the world of the novel series “Flowers for Princess Fischl” who eventually played the princess and took her identity as her own .

this “Chūnibyō” delusion would follow little Amy into her future career, giving us the adventurer Fischl we know today.

The Domain explores Amy’s struggle with herself and her fantasies, terrified of how the others would react to knowing her true self.

In the end, Amy literally faces herself (which is very reminiscent of how the protagonists of the Atlus game series Persona do when she accepts their shadows) and accepts her inner darkness of cowardice, fear and craving for acceptance, asserting herself as unique and beloved, making her truly worthy of taking on the name and title of Fischl, Prinzessin der Verurteilung.

Seize destiny

Mona’s mirage, located on Minacious Isle, allows us to explore her heart through a pool of clear water.

Inside is a breathtaking view of water and stars set in a mystical domain, befitting Mona’s quest for truth and clarity through astrology and divination.

Inside, we find out her struggles that come with her craft.

Mona faced ridicule and hatred for her matter-of-fact predictions, as she only tried to speak the truth without reservation.

And even though the great genius astrologer Mona Megistus we have now would brush them off as if they were nothing but dust on her shoulder, you can tell that deep down she still aches at being seen as “annoying”.

Another thing Mona has is her belief that in the face of a certain destiny there is a chance for “miracles”, which defy the principles of astrology.

This seems absurd to an astrologer like her who believes there can only be one destiny charted in the stars – but the “fantasy” of seizing her own destiny is Mona’s own miracle.

The puzzles in Mona's domain may have been difficult, but the stunning views were well worth the trouble.  (Screenshot courtesy of HoYoverse)

The puzzles in Mona’s domain may have been difficult, but the stunning views were well worth the trouble. (Screenshot courtesy of HoYoverse)

Puzzles galore and much more

The domain designs were beautiful, each inspired from aspects of each character’s past and personality.

The twists and turns, as well as the difference in each landscape as we entered, seemed to reflect the ups and downs each character had to go through before meeting us, and could be sad, mysterious, melancholic, and nostalgic.

But the mechanics of each domain rely heavily on unique puzzles we need our brains to solve, which at times seemed more frustrating than fun to do.

Of the four domains, the easiest puzzles to do were Xinyan’s, while you’ll end up losing your mind trying to solve Mona’s puzzles (and maybe get an intense migraine like I did too).

But maybe we can just chalk it up to Xinyan being a sociable person, while Mona is a known genius (laughs).

Compared to the previous summer escapade to the Golden Apple Archipelago with Klee, Jean, Barbara, Kaeya, Diluc and Razor, which was light-hearted and full of that summer holiday flavor, this return to the mysterious islands is tinged with a nostalgic bittersweetness.

We no longer lob harpoon balls at targets or bomb locations, but are confronted by the shadows of our beloved companions.

And while this return to the archipelago may seem bleaker than before, there’s still a touch of summer fun left on the islands with the interactions we have with our friends.

Genshin effect is currently in version 2.8, which will last until August 22nd.

Yan Ku is a full-time dog parent, part-time (gacha) gamer, and part-time writer.

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