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.
Well, like any RPG in the history of ever, you don’t have to look too hard to find sexism in the Final Fantasy series. And that unfortunately includes FFX. At this point, it’s really not very surprising to see women objectified in games and to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to talk about how sexist this game is, because when you compare it to other games, it’s really not that bad. On a whole, Final Fantasy tends to be fairly good about this sort of thing. Yeah, we got large-breasted ladies like Tifa from VII—the game that also brought us Yuffie, the girl who is incapable of zipping up her shorts.
But I don’t think I’ve ever seen the women in these games pose for the sake of posing. At least nothing immediate comes to mind until I start thinking about X. And even though X seems to have more objectification than other Final Fantasy games, it’s still nowhere near as bad as other games as a whole, and it doesn’t forget that the women need personality and motivations as well. I’d honestly much rather talk about sexism in the sequel X-2, just because there’s more fodder to work with. But that’s a review for another time.
So here we go! Sexism in Final Fantasy X!
Well, now that we’re nearing the end of this miniseries, there aren’t too many things left to cover. I just spent the past five posts analyzing the plot, Yuna as Jesus, the religion of Yevon as a whole, how the game deals with death, and how the summons work. This leads me into the characters as a whole.
Final Fantasy X was a significant development for the franchise, and it has gone down for many as the “last good Final Fantasy game.” Even if you haven’t read my earlier posts or my reviews for some of the other Final Fantasy games, you can probably guess that I don’t agree with that. But I can most assuredly see why people feel the way they do about this installment in the franchise. I may have my issues with it, but this game offered a lot at the time it came out. The graphics are beautiful, and when it was released, they shocked people because of how realistic they looked compared to the other games. Visually, Final Fantasy X is stunning, and even nowadays, the graphics aren’t bad. On top of that, musically, it’s pretty amazing as well. And the visuals and the audios do a decent job of complementing each other.
Just from something like that, this game is very appealing. And it’s very easy to tell that a lot of effort went into its production. I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Final Fantasy game, and this one delivers all that and more. In fact, Square Enix has plans to remaster it for a PS3 release, in order to redeliver the experience of playing such a high quality game. I may have just spent the past five posts more or less bitching and nitpicking everything, and I do have more complaints about how this story is told, but Final Fantasy X has a lot of redeeming qualities to it. And most, if not all, of the bad qualities concerning its gameplay and production will more than likely be fixed if it actually does get remastered.
So let’s talk about the characters.
Continuing on with this series, I am unfortunately not done talking about the religion in Final Fantasy X. I’ve already gone over what Yevon is, but I have not talked about what it entails. Or rather, I haven’t talked about its foundation in detail. And just as a warning, while my other posts have had spoilers in them, this one will have a lot more.
Anyway, if you want to continue reading, Yevon is centered on the aeons, which are essential in order for summoners to defeat Sin. Most simply, aeons are powerful creatures that summoners can summon and control at will, but it is more complicated than that. I’ve already gone over both the portrayal of religion and the dead, which are also essential to understanding what the aeons actually are. A dead person is comprised of pyreflies, which act as a soul, more or less. Sometimes dead people will become angry and turn into monsters, while other times, they’ll manifest as ghosts. And in keeping with the general theme of Final Fantasy X, aeons also come from the dead, though aeons themselves are not dead. More accurately, they’re the manifestation of dreams of the dead.
While some dead people become fiends and others become ghosts, a small few will become fayths. Fayths are people who died willingly and had their souls forever trapped inside stone statues. Every Yevon temple in Spira has at least one statue. When summoners travel to the different temples, they enter something called The Cloister of Trials. Once completing that task, a summoner may enter The Chamber of the Fayth, where he or she can pray to the fayth’s statue for a way to defeat Sin. If the fayth answers the summoner’s prayers, the fayth will then grant that summoner its aeon. Summoners must train by praying at temples and obtaining as many aeons as possible or they will never become strong enough to gain the power of the Final Aeon, which is the only aeon that can defeat Sin.
It is the aeons that are responsible for both destroying Sin and rebirthing it over and over again. Unfortunately, like every other good idea in this game, something has to ruin it. So besides Yevon using machina, what I’m about to talk about is the other incredibly large plot hole that could have very easily been fixed.
Final Fantasy X has so many religious themes going on. Of course, that’s not surprising when you establish a world heavily ingrained with religion and base that religion on three very popular faiths and ways of life: Buddhism, Shintoism, and Catholicism. Sometimes, FFX feels as though it’s all over the place, as if the writers couldn’t figure out which religion should dominate. But for the most part, and excusing any plot holes, Yevon seems like a solid faith that I could see existing given certain circumstances.
But like with all things religious, an afterlife must exist, so it’s only natural that Final Fantasy X makes mention of the dead. In fact, if there’s one aspect more dominating than religion in the game, it would be how the dead affect the living. And also like with everything else involving this game and my over-thinking things, yes, I found some more plot holes.
So just to be clear, I want to say that I have yet to play a Final Fantasy game that I don’t like, which may seem surprising, considering that I do nothing but complain all the time. Oftentimes, Final Fantasy X goes from something I genuinely think is good to a guilty pleasure, but other times, it’s completely infuriating. I’ve mentioned before when talking about XIII that I prefer games that start off weak and end strong, compared to games that start off strong and end poorly. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X falls into the latter category. The first part of this game is pretty okay. We’ve got a great setup with some unique characters, we can see what’s at stake, and on top of the entire apocalyptic catastrophe that’s going on we’ve got religious oppression.
There’s a lot happening in this game. Also, much like IX, it tackles some pretty deep subjects, like death and sacrifice. On top of the aforementioned religious oppression. Unfortunately, X just couldn’t keep up its momentum.