I was going to wait until I could do more research on this, but I'm having trouble getting a hold of the books I'd like to, so I think I'll just post a little about this now! Today I'll be quoting Ghosts, Demons and Spirits in Japanese Lore
by Norman A. Rubin, which had some very interesting points about snakes in Japanese folklore. I'm only quoting the parts that are particularly relevant. There's not an entirely lot, but it's still something.
"In Japanese folklore there are tales told of people who turned into snakes after death because of their evil ways and their miserly habits....A female snake appears as an attractive woman who marries a human: if rejected by her lover, her jealously will cause disaster. Women are often associated with snakes because of tales told of them being fierce and possessive towards their lovers."
Hmmm...Luna was overtaken by Ophiuchus while
following Subaru and Misora as they were on their "date". I realize it was because of her parents, but it's still possible that it could have relevance, yes?
"Children born of the union of a snake with a human may either appear as a serpent or as a human with snake-like qualities. They appear in the dreams of their family and friends, asking them to pray for the release of their souls from their snake-like bodies. ...Some people are reborn in the guise of snakes after death when they wish to avenge wrongful deeds. The avenger’s ghost in Japanese lore is usually considered heroic. "
Ophiuchus!Luna never asks to be released from her snake-like body - but she doesn't she want to be released from something else? Like...oh, say, her status as a "doll"? She was also "reborn" as "Queen Ophiuchus" for this very reason and for vengeance. Luna, as Ophiuchus, seems to represent the snake as a whole - but based on this article, but also represents certain traits of a human-snake union. Both of which make sense, since Ophiuchus and Luna merging is
effectively a union between human and snake (snake charmer? well, whatever).
"Snakes were not always thought of as symbols of evil, but also of love with no bounds."
ROOOCKKMAAANNN-SAAAMMMMMAAA~...er, I mean, Luna obviously loves both Rockman and Subaru. I know they're the same person, but fandom does not seem to be able to digest this, so I thought I'd throw that out there. Anyhow! For that reason it's relevant.
If I find anything else, I'll be sure to post it here with my obnoxious babblings about it. Then eventually I'll make one big, nice theorized post about it. Hopefully. Also, in b4 "GAME CREATORS DON'T RESEARCH THESE THINGS"--since it's Japanese
folklore we're talking, it's more likely to be common knowledge to them. I won't say for sure it is, but I think it's likely enough - such stories are probably the equivalent of the folklore we
know - Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc, etc.
Can anyone think of any other examples where snakes were used to portray such traits in more modern day media (preferably Japanese, for obvious reasons)? I know it was made use of in Fatal Frame III: The Tormented, but I can't think of any others off hand.