As someone who sells artwork at anime conventions, one of the things I look forward to most is seeing everyone’s cosplay. Being able to dress up and put time and effort into bringing a beloved character to life can be a magical experience in the real world. What’s especially great is seeing people in the different costumes that a single character may wear over the course of a story.
Clothing can be a powerful narrative tool—sometimes certain clothes can give some character new and special abilities. Other times, the clothing can be a symbol of internal change, growth, and a renewed sense of confidence. This can be an especially important mechanic for video games, and my best experience with this was in Final Fantasy X-2.
Whether you love it or hate it, Final Fantasy X is a prequel to Final Fantasy VII. Thankfully, for everyone who dislikes this connection, the two games don’t actually impact each other in terms of plot or characterization. However, for the rest of us, it’s always fun speculating about all the different ways the two games are alike and figuring out the history of both their worlds. This connection is something the game creators have been adding to for some time, and considering that Auron shows up in the new FFVII remake trailer, I imagine that we’re going to have a few more hints and Easter eggs in our future. And yet, somehow, I found myself surprised when Kingdom Hearts turned Sephiroth into an Aeon.
It’s just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it’s the pelvic thrust
That really drives you insane
I’m sure these lyrics are familiar to most of you, dear readers. With the surprising prevalence of The Rocky Horror Picture Show despite its cult status, even if one hasn’t watched the film, many of its (for lack of a better term) memes have stuck in the cultural consciousness. As a younger me, while watching this I wondered what the heck a dance had to do with anything, and honestly as an adult I still don’t know for sure–although I fully know that in this film, things don’t really have to make sense. It just comes out of nowhere. But thinking a little bit harder, maybe it wasn’t as out of place as I originally thought. After all, Rocky Horror isn’t the only piece of media utilizing the magic of dancing in the way it’s typically used: to signify a transformation.
I recently just replayed both of X’s games and VII, because hey, they are my favorite Final Fantasy games. With the exception of direct sequels, most Final Fantasy games are completely independent from each other. That’s not always true—we have the Ivalice Alliance games such as XII and Tactics that both take place in the world of Ivalice, albeit a thousand years apart from each other. But unless we’re specifically told otherwise, it’s always been safe to assume that the Final Fantasy games have no impact on each other. At least, that was the case until X-2 happened. During an interview for Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania, Nojima confirmed that X and X-2 are prequels to VII. While the stories in the games are still more or less independent from each other, this connection allows for some interesting social and religious implications, specifically for the Al Bhed.
Well, that might be a little strong. I heartily dislike Dona. Having played through Final Fantasy X-2 before the original, I always thought she was a little off-putting. Not that I expect every character to get along with the protagonists, but there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. This feeling only continues to grow as I watch the events of Final Fantasy X unfold in more recent times.
Antagonistic characters are my bread and butter, but Dona never really felt like she had a solid reason for all of her bitterness and outright hatred toward Yuna. Sure, there’s the jealousy toward Yuna’s heritage and the bitterness that everything seemed to be handed to Yuna on a silver platter, but these are all inferred. The game more or less makes Dona the token bitch of the game only for the sake of conflict; a conflict that didn’t really need to exist, narratively speaking. Dona never really prods Yuna to do anything—the conflict is one-sided and directed toward Dona, and since we don’t get to see Dona’s character growth it’s all pretty much pointless.
I don’t typically go looking for fanfic of characters I dislike: I went out looking this week for a family fic about Rikku and Yuna, to be completely honest. But lo and behold, fate had me stumble upon owlmoose’s Rebuild. I’m pleased to say that this fic fills in a lot of holes that the games left. Continue reading →
Recently I’ve been watching my brother run through another round of Final Fantasy X. Personally, I’ve never been very into the series (except for X-2, but I think I’m in the minority there). However, seeing as it’s hailed as one of the masterpieces of the franchise, I’m more than willing to watch my brother go from temple to temple gaining summon spirits (or “aeons”, I guess) until the final summoning. It’s all very interesting and Tidus isn’t nearly as annoying as I imagined him being, but as he continues fighting through Sin spawn and other various baddies one thought has been ringing through my mind: being a white mage sucks. Not only in Spira—in many Final Fantasy games it seems as though if you’re a practitioner of the healing white magic you’re stuck healing and only healing—unless you’re also a summoner (which only aids this trope, but I’m getting ahead of myself).
Of course, this isn’t anything new; these limitations of the white mage far extend outside of the world of Final Fantasy into other JRPGs. A white mage, in addition to replacing combat expertise with that sweet healing magic, is almost always a woman. A “pure”-seeming woman (aka virginal). Ace spoke about one of the outliers (who just so happens to be in another Final Fantasy game) in a previous article, but the trend at large still stands. Yet, in more recent titles, it seems as though developers have taken it upon themselves to finally twist this trope for the better.
Now that Final Fantasy X has finally been remastered for the PS3, I decided to revisit the game. I did a series of in-depth reviews a while ago, and I still stand by most of what I said in them. As enjoyable as I find FFX, as much as I love it and recommend it, it is problematic in a lot of regards. And as I played through it again, it came to my attention that one of its problematic aspects is Tidus’s character design, namely his blond hair and blue eyes.