Mollusc Era

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"With creatures of the surface driven to extinction by rising sea levels, the ancestors of Inklings were free to haul their 10-legged bodies up onto the abandoned land. This is how the Mollusc Era began."
Sunken Scroll 10, depicting Inkling evolution

The Mollusc Era is the current time period in the Splatoon series - M.E (Mollusc Era) is used as a year label[1], such as A.D (Anno Domini), and B.C (before Christ). It began roughly 2,000 years before the events of the games and 10,000 years after the earth flooded, causing the extinction of all land mammals (with the exception of Judd, Li'l Judd and Mr. Grizz) and many other land-dwelling animals. Judging from Inkling history, the Mollusc Era appears to have progressed in stages similar to that of humanity. Currently, the dominant species consist of Inklings, Octarians, jellyfish, sea anemones, and several types of crustaceans and fish, though some members of these species vary greatly in their intelligence and development.

History

A human holding Judd before rising ocean levels caused humanity to become extinct, depicted in Sunken Scroll 25

The twilight years of human history had been difficult ones, marked by no fewer than five world wars and countless lesser conflicts. During the last of these world wars, a nuclear warhead hit the South Pole. The resulting atomic fireball melted the Antarctic ice cap, causing sea levels that had already risen to dangerous levels from years of global warming and a series of volcanic eruptions to reach catastrophic levels. Despite the attempts of a handful of survivors to hide away from the ensuing flood in underground cities or enter cryogenic stasis in the hope that they could reclaim their world, mankind was all but extinct. However, one underground shelter called Alterna, built within a gigantic volcanic Crater, had managed to survive and rebuild their civilization to some extent. They discovered that the squids in the underground sea surrounding their home had body fluids that could be refined into a liquid crystal that reacted to the thoughts and feelings of sentient life, projecting images that reflected their desires. However, an attempt to leave their crater and recolonize the surface with the aid of a rocket ended in disaster when the rocket overloaded the crystals and caused a cave-in that wiped out the remaining humans.

The liquid crystals would disperse into the water, and as the marine life was exposed to them they were infused with humanity's desires and lingering emotions. As a result of this and the influence of other unknown pollutants released by the destruction of Alterna, their evolution was drastically accelerated and they developed a powerful urge to reach the Earth's surface. In time, they discovered the tunnels used by the humans to escape their doom and emerged from underground to reach the region now called the Splatlands.

About five thousand years after the destruction of Alterna, one squid with "peculiar characteristics" was born. Said to have been a prophet gifted with many revelations that led to the foundation of cephalopod civilization, this figure became the forerunner of the modern Inklings.

Judd judging one of the first recorded ink battles, depicted in Sunken Scroll 4.

At some point during this advancement, Judd was awoken from his cryogenic stasis chamber and quickly became well-known for his ability to judge ink battles, as well as being the only known intelligent creature that did not evolve from a sea-dwelling species. The first recorded Turf War occurred during a period in Inkling history with many similarities to Ancient Egypt, roughly 2,000 years before the events of Splatoon began. This event is also the first known instance of Judd being used to determine the outcome of an ink battle.

Another attempt by humanity to survive came in the form of the Ark Polaris, a spaceship carrying many land animals in cryogenic suspension. It had tasked with finding an inhabitable world but was damaged when it reached the edge of the solar system; by the time it had returned to Earth it could not land safely due to a lack of fuel. It would drift in orbit for 10,000 years before crashing, killing all of its crew and inhabitants save for the experimental subject "Bear No. 3". Indignant at the prospect of mammals no longer being the dominant life form, he would rediscover the liquid crystals of Alterna and devise a plan to usher forth a new era of mammalian dominance.

It is uncertain if any other human enclaves survived the flood or if any of them still have living inhabitants as of the modern day. That said, at least a few of the artificial intelligence units built to serve mankind outlasted their creators and continue to function.

The Great Turf War

A group of Inkling soldiers celebrating a victory over the Octarians, depicted in Sunken Scroll 14

As time progressed, the Octarians separated themselves from the other species of the Mollusc Era. They became dissatisfied with the amount of available dry land and waged war on the Inklings, the other dominant species at the time, to gain total control of the turf. The Octarians constructed a variety of large machines known as the Great Octoweapons and began attacking Inkling cities. However, due to one of the Octoweapons' plugs being pulled, the Inklings secured a victory in the war and forced the Octarians to retreat to underground lairs such as Octo Valley, which were constructed from the ruins of the subterranean cities built by the remnants of humanity.

Stolen Zapfish

At one point in the events of Splatoon, the Great Zapfish and a large number of Zapfish were taken from Inkopolis into Octo Valley. Most residents of Inkopolis did not see the missing power sources as a major concern, even though Callie and Marie covered the event in Inkopolis News. However, Cap'n Cuttlefish and the New Squidbeak Splatoon, comprised of Agent 1, Agent 2, and Agent 3, traveled to Octo Valley and navigated the Octarians' network of underground lairs, eventually defeating DJ Octavio and reclaiming the stolen Zapfish. The Great Zapfish now rests on Inkopolis Tower.

Modern age

The modern age of the Mollusc Era is dominated by a large variety of species. However, Inklings and jellyfish seem to be the most widespread organisms, seen in nearly every region of Inkopolis, and appear to be incredibly advanced. In fact, Inklings have sent records of history into space in the form of a disk in an attempt to contact extraterrestrial life(Sunken Scroll 22) The Octarians have since settled in Octo Canyon; the defeat of DJ Octavio seemed to have no major effect on their civilization, and in fact, the battle between him and Agent 3 was believed to be part of an underground concert by the Octarians who witnessed it. He later tried to steal the Great Zapfish a second time but was defeated again, this time by Agent 4. Due to not being brainwashed by DJ Octavio anymore because they heard Calamari Inkantation, many Octolings have found ways to escape the Octarian Army and have ended up reaching Inkopolis sometime during the events of Splatoon 2. Many non-sentient animals, such as sparrows, crickets, and cicadas, are also present in the modern age and appear to thrive alongside their more intelligent counterparts.

The current state of society on Earth appears to mirror a typical human urban environment, with a variety of stores, living spaces, means of transportation, and entertainment venues. Inhabitants of Inkopolis have exhibited many functions similar to those of humans, such as driving cars, riding trains, playing at a park and campground, and possessing jobs at locations such as Walleye Warehouse. In fact, many aspects of society appear to have been inspired by remnants of humanity's existence, even though archaeologists describe humans as "primitive with little intelligence" based on the size of their skulls(Sunken Scroll 26). For example, many weapons were inspired by human artifacts, such as spray bottles, gasoline nozzles, and garden hoses, and the machine used to announce Splatfest themes appears nearly identical to a classic human fax machine. It appears that at least one research facility has been dedicated to studying the relics of the lost human civilization.

Three adult jellyfish donning the latest trends in fashion, depicted in Sunken Scroll 11.

Modern culture places great emphasis on the concept of being "fresh," which essentially means that clothing and skill are viewed in high regard. In fact, shopkeepers will not sell Inklings or Octolings gear or weapons until they've reached a certain level of "freshness," or skill. Music is also featured heavily in modern culture, with singing icons such as the Squid Sisters, Off the Hook, Hightide Era, and the Chirpy Chips' music being featured in nearly every part of Inkopolis.

Ink battles

A Splatfest occurring on Saltspray Rig

One of the most prominent features of the Mollusc Era is the presence of ink battles, a form of competitive sport, or, in the case of the Great Turf War, actual battle. There are many types of ink battles, but the most well-known form is the Turf War. Other modes, such as Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz are typically only played by more advanced Inklings and Octolings. Inklings and Octolings are the only species known to participate in ink battles.

Ink battles have influenced the culture of the Mollusc Era for over 2,000 years, bringing about mainstream weapon shops such as Ammo Knights, music, and events like Splatfest. Inklings and Octolings dress in specific styles to aid them during Ink Battles, and many begin participating in such battles at the age of 14.

Events

The Mollusc Era introduced new customs, traditions, and holidays. The most well-known event that occurs in Inkopolis is the Splatfest, which typically takes place every three to four weeks. During Splatfests, a theme is chosen live on Inkopolis News. Inklings and Octolings vote on their choice in the theme, such as cats versus dogs, and then battle in a mode similar to Turf War to earn the victory for their team. Inkopolis Plaza (or Inkopolis Square in Splatoon 2) and all of the stages around Inkopolis are decorated for the event, shrouded in darkness and illuminated with glowing lights.

One of the lesser-known holidays that is celebrated during the Mollusc Era is Squidmas, which likely occurs in December and is probably based on the human Christian holiday known as Christmas. It is unknown why Squidmas is celebrated, whether for religious or cultural reasons, but it is mentioned fairly often by Agent 1 and Agent 2 in Octo Valley. Squidmas somehow involves Father Squidmas, which is actually revealed to be Cap'n Cuttlefish.

Trivia

Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese 軟体暦
軟体世紀

Nantai Reki
Nantai Seiki
Mollusc Era, used for their years.
Mollusc Centuries, used for their period
France French (NOE) Règne des mollusques The molluscs' reign
Germany German Zeitalter der Weichtiere Era of the Mollusc
Italy Italian Era Mollusca Mollus Era
Spain Spanish (NOE) Era del Molusco Mollusc Era

References

  1. Splatune - Squid Squad Article, "軟体暦2014年" (translation: Year of 2014, Mollusc Era)